Even though Clare Maguire has been incredibly busy touring with Plan B and Hurts, she very kindly took the time out to speak to us about remixes, her debut album and Michael Jackson.
(I have been struggling to find a decent font colour to distinguish my questions from the answers so I apologise in advance if it hurts your eyes!)
You have literally just finished touring with Plan B, and prior to that you were touring with Hurts. They are both amazing acts, but from personal experience they seem to have totally different target demographics. Have you seen a change in the reception that you get from the crowds?
There has certainly been a difference in the reaction from each crowd, but they’ve both been an incredible experience for me both personally and professionally. The majority of them have never heard of me before so I have to put on a show they won’t forget. It’s been an amazing learning experience.
I was lucky enough to see you perform live when you came to Norwich with Plan B, and you were absolutely fantastic. On that occasion you were purely there to sing, but I have seen photos of you at Green Man Festival with a Fender P-Bass in hand.
Please tell me you play bass?!
I can play a variety of instruments to a basic standard which I will incorporate into my live show at some stage. To a basic standard I can play piano, guitar, bass, autoharp, and violin.
You have stated that your debut album will be completely written by yourself. Does that make you feel nervous about the kind of critical reception it may receive?
I could never be nervous about art. It is an expression of the heart. Criticism should be ignored, unless it’s well judged. I’m only interested in the people who find a connection to my music emotionally and believe in it.
Is it true that your song, The Last Dance, was inspired by the death of Michael Jackson?
I wrote it after his death, I thought it very distasteful when people chose to ridicule him even after his passing. My sadness and anger were the tools for the inspiration behind the song which is also about my own personal heartbreaks and losses in my life.
Light After Dark has been penned for release early next year, is it finished already or are you still adding stuff to it? I have heard a lot of artists get some great inspiration from the touring process.
I have finished Light after Dark and I am very proud of it, however, I always write and it is true that touring is an incredible way to gain inspiration for new material, I’ll never stop creating, I couldn’t.
I know you have been working with the incredibly talented Fraser T Smith on the new album, but there were some rumours floating around that you had also been working with one of my favourite producers Richard X. Is there any truth in that?
This album was written and produced by myself and Fraser exclusively. I have written with Richard X, he is an extremely talented producer/writer and a wonderful man. We have written some great songs together which I am sure people will get the hear at some stage.
If the album goes down well (which I’m sure it will), are you more likely to accept songs from other writers or will you continue to press on with your own material?
I am always willing to try other people’s songs if I feel I can connect to them. But I do think for my own albums that I will always write them myself.
There are a few major factors which I have seen as becoming increasingly vital to the growth in popularity of new artists, the first of which is the remix scene. Acts like La Roux and Ellie Goulding have majorly benefited thanks to remixes from the likes of Russ Chimes, Skream, Chiddy Bang and Jakwob.
Breakage’s remix of your new single Ain’t Nobody has gone down fantastically well with fans, did you feel it was important to also embrace that particular side of music too?
Absolutely, James came back with that remix and I was blown away. It is a beautiful thing to write something that someone else interprets in their own unique way and throws it into a new genre, it’s exciting.
What has been your favourite remix this year (not including your own work)?
I love everything Chase and Status have been doing, especially their work with Plan B.
The second factor which seems to set people’s tongues wagging at this time of the year is the impending release of the BBC’s Sound of 2011 list.
By no means does inclusion on the list instantly guarantee success in the industry, but there is now a large amount of alumni who have gone on to do great things. Has your possible inclusion on the longlist played on your mind at all?
Not so much the BBC Poll, but in general if you have people believing in the potential of your work at an early stage, it helps enormously on a number of levels both personally and to those around you.
I have spent 23 years building up to Light After Dark and it means the world to me, I hope people connect with it, but I understand it’s is a very competitive industry and I am up against a huge amount of talented artists to grab people’s attention.
Your debut single Ain’t Nobody went on sale a few weeks ago, have you had any thoughts about what song you will pick as your next single?
You’ll have to wait and see…
Clare’s single Ain’t Nobody was released on 18th October, and her album is scheduled for release in March. She is also doing her first headlining show tomorrow at XOYO in London, tickets are still available so head down there if you can!