She remembers being really cold.
Clare Bowen, 4 years old, couldn’t move her legs. Her parents rushed her to the hospital in Sydney. It was the first time the little Australian girl had ever been in air conditioning.
In that chilly hospital, the girl overheard grim doctors say “end-stage nephroblastoma,” words she didn’t know. But Bowen understood when they told her parents she was dying.
The blonde-haired little girl calmly asked her mother: “Are there heaters in heaven?”
As a child, Bowen remembers that her dad was a flight attendant for first class on Qantas airline. Her mom owned a clothing shop and baked wedding cakes. And she took care of the little girl, who spent more time with animals than other children.
They had a pet white mouse named Albert, and a canary named Aloicious. A stray Russian blue cat, Butch, would wander by the house now and again, and when Mom put out a bowl of food for the cat, she sometimes put a bowl of milk down for her daughter, who would drink it right next to the stray.
The little girl ran to meet Butch every time the cat came by. But the day before her legs stopped working, Bowen, not feeling well, ignored her feline friend.
“I remember not caring he was there,” Bowen said softly.
The tumor was the size of a football, crushing virtually everything inside the little girl’s body.
Doctors said she had about two weeks to live, but there was this experimental treatment – one that might kill her outright.
“They asked my parents to sign a release. They had to sign a release to basically poison me,” Bowen said.
Doctors wanted to shrink the tumor to the size of a grapefruit before they went after it to remove it.
The surgery lasted 10 hours. Surgeons rolled the girl onto her left side, cut near her waistline around half her body, and pulled out the tumor – and one of her kidneys and part of her diaphragm and some of her guts that had been damaged by the tumor.
Bowen stayed in the hospital for a year, maybe longer, and staff and relatives tried to make it as comfortable and even as fun as possible. The little girl’s name was painted on her door.
Her mother snuck her canary and her mouse into her room, and a family friend brought a Labrador to the hospital gardens to play with the sick little girl. Nurses did arts and crafts with Bowen and the other children.
Sometimes, Bowen felt awful, and nurses and doctors would rush her into various treatments.
‘We were all bald’
The most jarring day came when a child died in the recovery room they shared.
“I woke up, alarm bells going off. We didn’t know each other’s names, and I didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl. We were all bald,” she said.
“I looked to my left and saw the little one’s mother holding the child, and the child had gone completely limp.
“This woman was just screaming like something had been torn out of her,” Bowen said, pausing. “It’s not normal, but it happened all the time.”
The worst day was when her best cancer buddy, Jackie, died the same week doctors started letting Bowen sleep at home.
Bowen, crushed, couldn’t shake the feeling – Why did her friend die and she lived?
“I had survivor’s guilt and I didn’t even know it,” Bowen said. “I never really cared what happened to me but I wanted to take care of others, even as a girl.”
Bowen, sleeping at the family home, still went to the hospital each day for treatment and monitoring.
Sometimes, the girl woke up vomiting, and couldn’t stop, so the family would rush her to the hospital.
Through all of it, extended family showed up regularly. Bowen smiled when she remembered having about 20 relatives in her room one day, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sitting on the floor with them eating chicken nuggets, talking and laughing.
Bowen had a tough time returning to school because other kids’ parents feared the sickly, gaunt girl, mistaking her as a victim of the AIDS epidemic sweeping the hospital at the time.
“Other mothers used to pull their children away from me,” she said. “They didn’t want their children traumatized by my impending death.”
A year or so later, Bowen enrolled in Catholic school with supportive, loving teachers and administrators. She slowly integrated back into being a little girl again.
But lingering health issues and survivor’s guilt left Bowen feeling off: “I didn’t have a good sense of self-esteem and I was constantly sick with side effects from chemo.”
Panic attacks racked her as a teenager, and she had them often enough that she started to be able to manage them.
“Even if I’m worried and horrible panic attack feelings kick in, I’m rational enough to say, ‘Keep going, breath in some energy.’”
With time and therapy, Bowen, now 32, has begun feeling a sense of self-worth.
“I learned to love myself,” she said.
Bowen was able to stand with her brother, Timothy, as he fought and beat cancer recently.
And Bowen – an actress who plays singer/songwriter Scarlett on CMT series “Nashville” – has begun to speak publicly about the disease and her battle with it.
She famously cut off her long hair in fall 2015 to show support for a little girl who said she couldn’t be a princess anymore because she didn’t have long hair.
“I wanted her, and others like her to know that’s not what makes a princess, or a warrior, or a superhero. It’s not what makes you beautiful either,” Bowen posted on Facebook.
“It’s your insides that count… even if you happen to be missing half of them.”
Bowen also served as a keynote speaker last year for a Country Cares seminar for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and she has visited children with cancer and other chronic illnesses in Nashville and elsewhere dozens of times.
Two months ago, she has released her first solo single, “Love Steps In,” a tribute to her brother’s cancer battle written by her fiancé, Brandon Robert Young, and songwriter Justin Halpin.
“This song accomplished more than I could ever imagined. It has been nice to make lots of people smile and feel things.”
Bowen hit the Opry stage Jan. 13 to sing the song, which led to thousands of people sharing cancer and chronic illness stories with each other since on social media.
That in turn has helped Bowen with her healing.
“All of my insecurities and all my feelings of shortcoming have been linked to not doing enough to make the world better,” she said.
“When you’re able to give people a vehicle to express something they’ve had locked up, that’s the greatest privilege as an artist.”
Mid-season finale for ‘Nashville’
CMT airs the mid-season finale of “Nashville” at 8 p.m. Thursday (March 9).
In the episode, titled “Fire and Rain,” there will be a big twist for Scarlett, played by actress Clare Bowen, network publicists say. No word on what that twist will be.
Also in the episode, CMT posted on its website, “Juliette helps Maddie navigate the wave of attention she receives after her performance at the CMT Music Awards. Zach demands the masters from Rayna and Deacon’s unfinished album.”
CMT plans to start airing new episodes again this summer, but no date has been set yet.
Reach Brad Schmitt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-259-8384 or on Twitter @bradschmitt.
Bowen recalls classic TV comedy that was appointment viewing for future actress and her grandmother.
In five seasons on the musical drama Nashville, Australian-born singer-actress Clare Bowen has forged friendships with a cast and crew that have become like a second family. Bowen – who recently debuted the video for “Love Steps In,” a powerful tribute to her brother Timothy’s cancer battle – celebrates family and friendship of another kind with a joyous acoustic rendition of “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the theme song of the long-running hit NBC comedy The Golden Girls.
To celebrate The Golden Girls’ streaming debut on Hulu, Bowen, dressed in gold (with makeup to match) and accompanied by her fiancé Brandon Robert Young on acoustic guitar, offers a sweet, lively version of the song, which was penned by the late Andrew Gold, who scored a Top 30 pop hit with it in 1978. Seven years later, as performed by jingle singer Cindy Fee, the theme song opened the series that would span 180 episodes, winning 11 Emmy awards in its run from 1985 to 1992. All four stars of the show, Bea Arthur, Estelle Getty, Rue McClanahan and Betty White, earned Emmys for their roles. Bowen’s special memories of the series – and the song – are associated with one family member in particular.
“My Grandma Shirley and I used to rug up on the couch and watch together after dinner, laughing ourselves silly,” Bowen tells Rolling Stone Country. “The Golden Girls is such a special concept. These amazing women are telling stories about the life no one gets warned about – the life that happens after spouses and children and jobs and ‘ladylike’ has gone out the window. All I have to do is think about that iconic opening song, and I’m back on the couch with my beautiful grandmother.”
All seven seasons of The Golden Girls are available on Hulu beginning today. New episodes of Nashville air Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET on CMT, and are available on Hulu the following day.
Michael Franti, Rooney, Clare Bowen, Josh Kelley and Andy Shauf are among the performers who will take the stage at the ASCAP Music Café during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. In its 19th year, the Music Café features singer/songwriters performing daily from Jan. 20-27 courtesy of the leading performing rights and music advocacy organization.
The Sundance ASCAP Music Café, located in the Rich Haines Gallery on Main Street in Park City, Utah, will be open to all festival credential holders (21+), with performances beginning at 2 p.m. daily. Also performing during the event will be Peter Bradley Adams, Wilder Adkins, The Album Leaf, Zac Clark, Lee DeWyze, Fantastic Negrito, Brent Falyaz, Jim and Sam, Niia, SadGirl, R.LUM.R, Jack Savoretti, Antonique Smith, Southern Avenue, Nakhane Touré, Ernst Reijseger and Marion Williams.
This year will also mark the return of the Bluebird Café Series on Jan. 25-26, which will include award-winning songwriters JT Harding (Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney), Rivers Rutherford (Chesney, Tim McGraw) and on-the-rise singer Brett Young.
”For 19 years, ASCAP and Sundance Institute have shared a unique,enduring vision dedicated to the discovery, development and support of great art and the artists who create it,” said ASCAP Assistant Vice President and Sundance ASCAP Music Café producer Loretta Muñoz in a statement. “The Sundance ASCAP Music Cafe honors that vision by highlighting some of our incredibly talented ASCAP members while celebrating music’s essential role in the art of filmmaking. The Music Café continues to be a highlight of our year. We welcome Sundance Film Festival filmmakers and festival-goers to stop by, experience and discover.”
Debuts Immediately Following The Two-Hour Premiere of “Nashville” on Thursday, January 5 at 11pm ET on CMT’s Facebook Page With Chris Carmack As First Guest
Nashville, January 4, 2017 – CMT today announced “NASHCHAT” the first-ever social interactive fan hangout and conversation companion to the hit series “Nashville,” across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat including a Facebook Live chat that will debut immediately following the two-hour premiere of “Nashville” with star Chris Carmack (Will Lexington) set as the first guest on January 5 at 11pm ET on CMT’s Facebook page. “Nashville” is produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment.
“Fans saved ‘Nashville.’ Now we’re inviting fans into our living room to celebrate the characters, stories and music they love,” said Brian Philips, President of CMT. “With ‘NASHCHAT’, we’ll create a home across all social media culminating with a Facebook Live interactive recap and fan chat immediately following new episodes.”
Hosted by “Nashville” superfan and radio personality, Amy Brown (@RadioAmy) each episode of “NASHCHAT,” coming live from a living room in Nashville, features cast and crew interviews, original music, “Nashville” insiders and of course the fans recapping each new episode just after the show ends.
Between episodes, CMT will continue the conversation across all social media. CMT Instagram and Instagram Live will host “NASHCHAT” behind the scenes, CMT Snapchat will feature “Nashville” cast content, fan community content, games and contests. CMT Twitter will drive the daily conversation with the fans including unveiling new memes and clips, as well as quizzes, photos, recaps and episodic promos.
“Nashville” is set against the backdrop of the city’s music scene and follows Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes. Both women face personal and professional challenges as they navigate their paths as artists and individuals. Surrounding them and often complicating their lives are their family, friends and, in some cases, lovers, as well as the up-and-coming performers and songwriters trying to get ahead in the business. Music City can mean so many things to different people. In “Nashville,” musicians and songwriters are at the heart of the storm driven by their own ambitions. Some are fueled by their creativity and passion for fame. Others struggle to cope with the pressures of success and are doing everything in their power to stay on top.
“Nashville” stars Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes, Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes, Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor, Chris Carmack as Will Lexington, Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne, Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley, Sam Palladio as Gunnar Scott, Maisy Stella as Daphne Conrad and Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad. In addition, the upcoming season will feature Joseph David-Jones as Clay, Rhiannon Giddens as Hallie Jordan, Jen Richards as Allyson Del Lago, and Cameron Scoggins as Zach Welles in recurring roles.
Produced by Lionsgate, ABC Studios and Opry Entertainment, production is currently underway in Nashville. The series is executive produced by Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick (the creators of “Thirtysomething”), Steve Buchanan and Callie Khouri.
The series airs in 225 territories worldwide. Since its debut, the show has inspired 10 soundtracks, including a Christmas album, which have collectively sold more than one million album units and over 5 million single-track downloads to date. It has also been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.
Clare Bowen (Scarlett O’Connor on Nashville) talks about why she cut her hair, and the enormous, positive response it received. Watch the first episode of Nashville when Scarlett O’Connor revealed her new look this Saturday, October 22nd beginning at 9|8c only on AXS TV!
Please check back as the site will be under construction revising all its content and adding much more to the gallery in the coming months.
It’s the news #Nashies have been waiting for!
The fifth season of Nashville will kick off with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Nashville is set against the backdrop of the city’s music scene and follows Rayna Jaymes and Juliette Barnes. Both women face personal and professional challenges as they navigate their paths as artists and individuals. Surrounding them and often complicating their lives are their family, friends and, in some cases, lovers, as well as the up-and-coming performers and songwriters trying to get ahead in the business. Music City can mean so many things to different people.
In Nashville, musicians and songwriters are at the heart of the storm driven by their own ambitions. Some are fueled by their creativity and passion for fame. Others struggle to cope with the pressures of success and are doing everything in their power to stay on top.
Christmas may be coming early for Nashville fans.
Series creator Callie Khouri allegedly announced at tonight’s Grant Ole Opry concert, which counted Nashville star Charles Esten among its headliners, that the ex-ABC drama would launch its fifth season on CMT and Hulu this December.
“Great news #Nashville fans! Creater @CallieKhouri announced on the @opry w/ @CharlesEsten 2nite that #Nashville will b back in DECEMBER! 🎉🙌”
“.@CharlesEsten just brought some news about #NashvilleCMT… It will return to @CMT and @hulu this December!”
When reached for comment, a CMT spokesperson, however, maintained to TVLine that a Season 5 premiere date had not been set.
CMT announced in early June that it had officially ordered a 22-episode fifth season of the Connie Britton-Hayden Panettiere musical soap in the wake of the show’s surprising cancellation at ABC. As part of the deal, Hulu will stream each episode the day after it airs on the cable network.
With the exception of Will Chase and Aubrey Peeples, who played Luke and Layla, respectively, the entire cast — including Britton and Panettiere — will be back for Season 5. Thirtysomething‘s Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, meanwhile, have replaced Dee Johnson as showrunner.
It has been quite a tumultuous past few months for the cast and crew of ABC’s “Nashville,” the show that was shockingly canceled by its network back in May, only to be picked up by CMT in June. Not everyone is on board for the move, however, as Will Chase, who plays Rayna Jaymes’ love interest Luke Wheeler, and Aubrey Peeples (who plays Layla Grant), were both let go before the show moved to CMT.
Back in May, Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about how they pushed for the cliffhanger ending of Season 4, saying that the ending that ultimately hit the airwaves was the one they were rooting for in the beginning, despite filming a happier ending. He added that they would not have pushed for such a cliffhanger ending if they had known that there was no chance at all for “Nashville” season 5 to hit the airwaves.
“In our estimation, to go with a quickly assembled too-easy wrap-up is more of a disservice to the fans who have invested four years in this great cast and these great stories. And there’s more stories to tell,” Beggs promised. Whatever stories that may be, it seems that production, which is now headed by new showrunners Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, is keeping tight-lipped about what is to unfold in “Nashville” season 5.
What’s for sure, however, is that CMT has ordered 22 episodes for “Nashville” season 5, which will see the return of series regulars Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten, Sam Palladio, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Lennon Stella, Maisy Stella, and Chris Carmack.
Meanwhile, the cast of “Nashville” season 5 recently made an appearance in the live-streaming web series, “Skyville Live.” In fact, the cast reminded audiences of the strength of their bond through a glorious performance of The Beatles’ classic, “With a Little Help from My Friends,” a seemingly appropriate song following the tumultuous events of the past months. Head over to Rolling Stone to watch the performance.
“Nashville” season 5 is set to make its debut on CMT this fall.