CLARE Bowen was backstage at the Sydney Theatre Company when her life changed. It was 2010, and things were already going swimmingly enough for the Australian actor and singer.
Fresh from the requisite “five minutes” on Home And Away, she had won the lead role in a production of Spring Awakening. Then-STC artistic director Cate Blanchett sought Bowen out — she wanted to pass on some advice.
“Cate said to me, ‘Have you ever thought of moving to LA?’” Bowen, 33, tells Stellar.
“That thought was terrifying. She said, ‘I think you’d do really well there.’ She kicked me into gear to be brave enough to make the jump. I sold everything I owned to buy a plane ticket. Everything happened from there.”
“Everything” was the whirlwind that Bowen’s life became after she scored a plum role on TV’s country music drama Nashville in 2012. A few years into that gig, she attended a G’Day USA tourism showcase in Los Angeles, where she no longer lived. (She had relocated to the titular US city to film the show.) Blanchett was there, too.
“She remembered that conversation,” Bowen says, who calls the actor “a beautiful person who offered up this gem of advice … which I’m now relaying while sitting on the back verandah at my home in Nashville, Tennessee”.
There was another famous Aussie from Bowen’s past at that same function: Tina Arena. “My dad is a flight attendant for Qantas,” Bowen says. “He got Tina to sign a menu for me a long time ago, and I treasured that thing so much it almost fell apart.”
Emboldened by her chat with Blanchett, Bowen decided to say hello to her childhood hero: “I was shaking in my boots, but I told her I learnt to sing by singing her songs.”
Arena now admits that she didn’t know who her eager fan was. “I’d never watched Nashville,” she tells Stellar. “But she was beautiful and so engaging, I started watching. I got sucked in.” She remains a fan. “I’m up-to-date now!”
Arena was so taken with Bowen that when it came time to put together the guest list for her new compilation Greatest Hits & Interpretations, she asked Bowen to cover her song ‘Still Running’. “There is such an incredible vulnerability and rawness and an angelic beauty there,” Arena says, “an innocence that you just don’t see very often. It resonates in her voice and in her storytelling — she just grabs you and pulls you in from the very first breath. She’s equally as breathtaking on camera as an actress. She’s stunning.”
Recording the song left Bowen equally overwhelmed. “It’s hard to describe when one of your heroes decides they want to contact you, let alone give you one of their songs to sing,” she says. “I almost passed out.”
Bowen’s tendency to pour emotion into her songs is perhaps at a personal peak in ‘Love Steps In’, her first solo single which she released this year. The track is about her brother Timothy James Bowen, a 27-year-old Sydney musician, and the health battle he began waging in 2015. That year, he was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma; at the time, doctors gave him just two weeks to live.
When Bowen swung through Australia on a brief tour last year, he joined her onstage, playing the guitar. “He was on chemo at the time,” Bowen says. “The poor thing was such a trouper.”
The singer knew exactly what her brother was going through. When she was just four years old, Bowen was herself diagnosed with cancer of the kidneys, and given the same two-week prognosis. She would ultimately spend the next three years in and out of Sydney hospitals.
‘Love Steps In’ is a family affair in more ways than one, since it was co-written by Bowen’s fiancé Brandon Robert Young (along with their friend Justin Halpin), who knew his beloved was struggling to put her brother’s experience into words.
“I knew I had to sing it,” Bowen tells Stellar. “It was so special. We sang it all over the world — from Glasgow to Alabama — and brought it to Australia, where it took on a life of its own. I love that the song is not just for my family anymore. It’s for everybody.”
Timothy’s cancer went into remission in March 2016. “He’s beaten the odds,” Bowen says. “He got through chemo with flying colours and knows exactly how lucky he is.”
That song has now taken on a new meaning. “Now,” she says, “I get to sing it smiling. It was pretty rough last time with what my brother was dealing with. It’s [now] a joy that I have to share.”
Australians sometimes scoff at the idea of music as “healing”, but Bowen is a believer. She says it’s “the reason I’m still here. I was given two weeks to live. My parents pushed and pushed and pushed for things to happen that usually didn’t throughout my treatment. Getting people to talk about difficult things is a big part of my show. Singing that song is like being able to put your arms around everyone in the world at the same time”. A refusal to give up seems to be a recurring theme in Bowen’s life.
When US network ABC cancelled Nashville last year after ratings dropped, the show’s fans — known as “Nashies” — exercised people power. A petition secured close to 200,000 signatures and a bidding war erupted between networks keen to give the show a second chance. It ultimately moved to a new channel, and was recently renewed for a sixth season.
“The Nashies went crazy,” Bowen says. “They did more than I expected. When you hug someone who comes to the Nashville concerts” — the show’s principals regularly head out on tour together — “you’re hugging someone who brought the show back.”
Bowen returns to Australia for another solo tour next month; it will give her a reprieve from filming duties on Nashville and allow her to plan her wedding to Young later this year. As with most of what’s transpired in her life, she sounds excited — if surprised — to be in this place.
“I never wanted to get married before I met Brandon,” Bowen admits. “It was not one of my life goals, but he ruined everything in that department. I get to choose a song to dance with my dad to, design my dress with my mum, all that stuff I never thought about until I met him. I can’t wait.”
Summer Tour To Feature Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Charles Esten, and Jonathan Jackson
Get ready for a fun summer, Nashies!
The cast of Nashville has just announced their fourth US tour. A special presale begins Wednesday, May 3 at 10 a.m and ends Thurdsay, May 4 at 10 p.m. (times local to the venue).
Use this special CMT presale code in honor of the June 1 mid-season premiere: CMTjune1
Here are the tour dates:
7/23 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
7/25 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
7/26 – Atlanta, GA – Chastain Park Amphitheatre (on sale in June)
7/28 – Grand Prairie, TX – Verizon Theatre
7/29 – Robinsonville, MS – Horseshoe Tunica
7/30 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at The Heights
8/1 – Vienna VA – Wolf Trap for the Performing Arts (on sale now)
8/2 – Raleigh, NC – The Red Hat Amphitheater
8/4 – Richmond, VA – Innsbrook After Hours
8/5 – Brooklyn, NY – Coney Island Amphitheater
8/6 – Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata Spa & Resort Event Center
The tour is set to feature cast members Clare Bowen, Chris Carmack, Charles Esten, and Jonathan Jackson, and is produced by Opry Entertainment. Tour stops will feature songs from the series as well as the artists’ original material.
All shows go on sale Friday, May 5, except for Vienna, VA which is on sale now and Atlanta, GA which will go on sale in early June. A limited number of VIP Packages including cast meet & greets will be available for all shows.
When the fate of the television show Nashville was being decided, Clare Bowen had other events on her mind, like playing a sold out tour in her home country of Australia.
“We didn’t know what the Australian market was like over there we said so let’s just put out like three shows and we’ll see what happens,” Bowen shares with Sounds Like Nashville. “They sold out very quickly which was a bit of a shock. So we put some more shows on.”
The initial reason for the trip isn’t as good news as a sold out tour, though. Bowen took the trip in the first place to visit her brother, Timothy, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
“My brother was diagnosed with cancer around Christmas time. So the initial reason for going back was to give him as much of my bone marrow as I could,” she continues. And not too long after, Timothy was getting better. So much better, he even jumped on stage with his sister. “Timothy was actually well enough to open for us and he did so great.”
While on her sold out trek, the 32-year-old singer/actress took a trip down memory lane. She stopped at an old bar where she served drinks, waiting for her big break. But this time around, she was on the other side of that bar top.
“I actually got to play in one of the places where I used to work behind the bar,” the singer and actress admits. “I have the deepest and utmost respect for everybody in hospitality and service jobs. While I was playing, I was like ‘I cleaned up wet feathers right there after the Bacardi festival. It was really wonderful.”
Bowen is currently in the studio working on her upcoming debut album. During a stream of the online-series Skyville Live, she shared one of the songs that will be featured on the project, titled “I’m Still Here.” The humbling track was written about her ill brother and is an anthem of hope for those who need it most.
New Material From Esten and Bowen on the Way
Wednesday’s (July 13) Skyville Live salute to Music City featured dynamic performances by Chris Carmack, Mark Collie, Lennon & Maisy, J.D. Souther and Pam Tillis plus new music announcements from Clare Bowen and Charles Esten.
Backed by an all-star band that included Canadian bluesman Colin Linden, each act onstage entertained with two songs and shared special music memories that will forever tie them to Music City, U.S.A.
Esten and Collie kicked off the night with their duet “Spin the Wheel.” Then Esten delivered the live performance premiere of his new single “Through the Blue,” a song he wrote with Kendell Marvel and Tim James as a reminder that life’s dark times never hang around long. Starting Friday (July 15) with “Through the Blue,” Esten revealed he will release a new single every Friday via iTunes in a new initiative called #EverySingleFriday. The new songs are from a catalog of material he’s written since joining Nashville four seasons ago.
Next, Bowen revealed she’s been splitting time between the road and the studio and has a full length album in the works. Going barefoot and dressed like an angel in a white tea length dress, she performed her love song “I’m Still Here,” which was inspired by her fiancé Brandon Young. Bowen co-wrote the song with John Paul White, who co-wrote one of Nashville’s earlier hits “If I Didn’t Know Better.”
Souther dedicated his portion of the show to Linda Ronstadt with “Faithless Love” and the late Glenn Frey with the Eagles classic “Heartache Tonight.” Ronstadt originally recorded “Faithless Love” for her 1974 album Heart Like a Wheel (Glen Campbell also recorded a version for his 1984 album Letter to Home).
Souther’s story behind writing “Heartache Tonight,” made those watching at home wish they were at the show. At the time Souther and Frey started the classic rock anthem, they were walking around Souther’s pool while on a break from writing another song. Souther had the melody and Frey started clapping. Then Don Henley joined in and then Frey got Bob Seger on the phone to finish the song. And, voilà, a co-write between four rock legends was born.
Looking a little taller and even more beautiful, Lennon & Maisy entertained with a two-song set that included their airy Charli XCX cover, “Boom Clap” and their version of “Lean On” by Major Lazer and DJ Snake featuring MØ.
Then Carmack took the stage with the lead single from his Pieces of You EP, “Being Alone,” and proceeded to blow the roof off the place with a naughty blues number called “Sweet Little Angel.”
Tillis introduced the band and sang a powerful version of “Maybe It Was Memphis.”
Collie rocked the stage with Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and shared details on an upcoming documentary about his time bringing live music to inmates as an essential part of their rehabilitation. Before leaving the stage, Collie shared a powerful message in light of the recent tragedies in Dallas and Orlando, Florida.
“Love your neighbor,” he told the crowd. “Hug your brothers and sisters. And thank a cop for keeping you safe.”
An inspirational performance of “On the Day I Die” closed his portion of the show. Then Souther returned to the stage to sing “I’ll Be Here at Closing Time,” a song he wrote about an attractive waitress with an alluring walk he noticed once while writing music at a restaurant.
The night wrapped with the entire lineup singing the Joe Cocker version of “With a Little Help from My Friends.”
Two stars of the recently renewed ABC show “Nashville” will make a stop at the American Music Theatre in October.
Charles Esten, known for his role as Deacon Claybourne, and Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett O’Connor, will perform at American Music Theatre 8 p.m. Oct. 15.
Tickets go on sale to the public 10 a.m. July 9. The members-only presale is July 5. All tickets are $59.
Clare was on a morning show in Sydney Australia today called The Morning Show. I’ve added a video and screencaps from her interview and live performance. Enjoy!
• 2016: 05/27 The Morning Show Interview – Sydney, Australia
This was a great interview and the song was just lovely. Check it out!
The stars of ABC’s “Nashville” were in Detroit on Sunday, May 1 for “Nashville in Concert” at The Fox Theatre. Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett O’Connor, talked with Stephen Clark about how she is both the actor and the singer, and how Scarlett is apart of her.
Due to overwhelming demand, the star of hit US television series NASHVILLE and Australian native, Clare Bowen has added second and final Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane dates to her debut East Coast tour this May.
Clare’s expanded tour will see her take in Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on Tuesday 24th May, along with All Ages shows at Sydney’s Metro Theatre on Saturday 28th May and Brisbane’s The Triffid on Tuesday 31st May.
All previously announced dates have now sold out. Tickets to Clare’s additional shows will go on sale at 12 noon AEST on Friday 22nd April.
Limited VIP Meet & Greet Packages will be available to purchase starting Friday 22nd April, exclusively at www.ClareBowenOfficial.com. All VIP Packages, which include a Q&A with Clare, an intimate acoustic performance, Meet & Greet with photo, and a signed item, can be purchased in addition to show tickets.
Clare Bowen has shot to stardom since her early roles in local programs Home and Away, All Saints, and The Cut, securing her breakout role in 2012 as enchanting singer-songwriter Scarlett O’Connor on the cult US television series NASHVILLE, which is now into its fourth season and screens on Foxtel’s SoHo in Australia.
On her forthcoming Australian tour, Clare will showcase a collection of original songs and NASHVILLE series covers, showing off her stunning vocals and supported by a full band. She is currently working with A-list producers on her debut solo album, due out later this year.
NASHVILLE airs Thursdays at 9:15pm, Express from the US, on Foxtel’s SoHo.
TICKETS ON SALE FRIDAY 22ND APRIL, 12 NOON LOCAL TIME
Brought to you by Foxtel’s SoHo, Rob Potts Entertainment Edge & Chugg Entertainment
Tuesday 24th May – Corner Hotel (18+) – NEW SHOW
cornerhotel.com or 1300 724 867
Wednesday 25th May – Corner Hotel (18+) – SOLD OUT
cornerhotel.com or 1300 724 867
Thursday 26th May – Oxford Art Factory (18+) – SOLD OUT
moshtix.com.au or 1300 438 849
Friday 27th May – Anita’s Theatre (All Ages) – SOLD OUT
ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100
Saturday 28th May – Metro Theatre (All Ages) – NEW SHOW
ticketek.com.au or 132 849
Monday 30th May – The Triffid (18+) – SOLD OUT
thetriffid.com.au or 1300 762 545
Tuesday 31st May – The Triffid (All Ages) – NEW SHOW
thetriffid.com.au or 1300 762 545
For more information go to:
Part of the reason that ABC’s primetime drama Nashville has become such a cult favorite is the music. Every episode features at least a couple of performances, weaved into the storyline as the characters write songs, play shows, and generally surround themselves with music. Since its inception in 2012 Nashville has been partnering with Big Machine Label Group to periodically release a soundtrack album for every half season, meaning six have already been released, plus a Christmas effort in 2014. Because the show features original material from the talented songwriters of Nashville, plus a few select covers, and the actors are the ones singing them with no dubs, the soundtrack albums are valuable merchandise that bring the show to life.
So that’s why it’s exciting that yesterday, Nov 3, they announced that “The Music of Nashville: Season 4, Volume 1” will hit stores on Dec 4 at all digital retailers and Target. Featuring 17 new songs from the first half of the new season, the likes of Connie Britton, Charles Esten, Aubrey Peeples, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Hayden Panettiere, Will Chase, Jonathan Jackson, Chris Carmack, Lennon & Maisy Stella, Chaley Rose and new recruits Riley Smith and Mark Collie are represented. What’s more, Steven Tyler makes a guest appearance on the duet with Hayden Panettiere, Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” The show is known for having a big cast, but all are extremely talented, and that’s part of what makes it great.
Most of them would also call themselves musicians. Chris Carmack is gearing up to release his debut EP “Pieces of You” the same month, while Jonathan Jackson’s band Enation released their album “Radio Cinematic” in 2014, and Clare Bowen, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio and Lennon & Maisy Stella are regulars on the Grand Ole Opry and took part in both Nashville tours. Tomorrow, the men of Nashville will perform at a very special CMA Songwriters Series in Music City as part of CMA Week.
While the show is not airing this week due to tonight’s CMA Awards, it will return next Wednesday, Nov 11 at 10/9c on ABC.
The Music of Nashville: Original Soundtrack, Season 4, Volume 1 Track Listing:
1. “Like New,” Charles Esten
2. “Beyond the Sun,” Lennon Stella
3. “Holding on to What I Can’t Hold,” Mark Collie
4. “Too Far From You,” Aubrey Peeples
5. “Far to Fall,” Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio
6. “Crazy,” Steven Tyler, Hayden Panettiere
7. “Spinning Revolver,” Will Chase
8. “Sleep Tonight (A Lullaby),” Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson
9. “In the Name of Your Love,” Riley Smith
10. “Run With Me,” Chris Carmack
11. “Speak to Me,” Clare Bowen
12. “I Want To (Do Everything for You),” Connie Britton, Riley Smith
13. “History of My Heart,” Jonathan Jackson
14. “What If It’s You,” Hayden Panettiere
15. “Count on Me,” Sam Palladio
16. “Rockin’ & Rollin’,” Lennon & Maisy Stella
17. “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” Chaley Rose