15.05.2019

Clare Bowditch is bold and defiant as she broaches her sixth solo album

By David James Young

Many winters have passed since The Winter I Chose Happiness, the last studio album from beloved singer-songwriter Clare Bowditch. About seven, in fact.

A lot has changed since then, too. She’s become a successful entrepreneur, entered a career on radio and even scored a starring role on Channel Ten’s beloved Offspring. Remember when Bowditch was heavily pregnant at the 2006 ARIAs and jokingly told The Veronicas she was “brewing up a couple of boyfriends for them”? Those twins just started high school. Life comes at you fast – and yet, Bowditch never once thought she’d get out of music entirely.

“Absolutely not,” says Bowditch. “In the past seven years, I’ve probably written a couple hundred songs, if I’m being completely realistic. Marty [Brown, Bowditch’s husband] and I have recorded dozens of those, and a lot of those will end up on the album that’s coming next year. Hand on my heart, I can swear to you I’ve begun almost every year by saying ‘This is the album year.’”

Bowditch’s as-yet-untitled album will be her sixth as a solo artist. As the finishing touches come together, Bowditch is considering the album’s through line and its conceptuality. The 43-year-old has always written from a thematic standpoint, be that the societal struggles in 2010’s Modern Day Addiction or the radical positivity that weaved its way through The Winter I Chose Happiness. “I write albums,” she says succinctly.

“I know it’s old-fashioned, and people say that no one listens to albums anymore, but they’re what I write. They’re songs that feel like a family when they’re together. They’re stories from the in-between. Often, you’ll get albums that are written from the perspective of either the beginning or the end of the love affair. I feel like I work in the middle of it all, and that’s definitely where this album stems from. The middle is messy, and often that’s where you get the best stories.”

Our first taste of LP #6 is ‘Woman’, which Bowditch launched a matter of weeks ago. Based on a slinking groove, a descending harmony line and production that borders on trip-hop, it’s certainly a far-cry from the more crystalline pleasantries of Winter.

When queried on why the song was chosen as the lead-off track for Bowditch’s comeback trail, she’s as charmingly blunt as ever: “Quite frankly, it was about fucking time,” she says with a laugh.

“I wrote it about four or five years ago, and it’s been sitting there all this time. I was out with some girlfriends, having a chat on everything that was weighing on our hearts. Just by being with them and sharing our stories together, I was able to hear them putting themselves the same way I did and counting themselves out the same way I’d done – in love, in work, anywhere. When I got home that night, the song just tumbled out of me.”

Even though the song’s origins go back to 2014, Bowditch perceives it as being just as relevant in 2019. As they say: The more things change, the more they stay the same. “This song is a mantra for courage,” says Bowditch. “Right now, with the conversation happening in the world, we really can’t do with enough of those.”

Bowditch is launching ‘Woman’ with a run of return shows through the end of the month, which will mark her first headlining tour in quite some time. Rather than a standard re-introduction, the woman of the hour is hoping that she will be able to provide a unique experience.

“Our audiences are the feature of our show,” she says. “They’re singing with us, we’re getting them on stage with us, we’re asking them their own hopes and dreams. There’s so much family in our audiences – they’re truly one of the most extraordinary bunches you’ll ever meet.”

Clare Bowditch’s new track ‘Woman’ is out now. She launches the track at The Corner on Saturday May 25. Head to the venue website for tickets.