The 23-year-old Australian actress and singer makes her debut on the new ABC series about country music.
Big hair, sequined dresses, and scandals are all hallmarks of country music, so it’s about time that a television show captured all of the drama. Nashville, a new ABC series, portrays a fictional account of the entertainment scene in the famed music capital. The series stars Friday Night Lights’ Connie Britton as a legendary country singer who’s being pushed to tour with a sassy up-and-coming pop singer (played by Hayden Panettiere). Clare Bowen is part of the larger ensemble cast, playing an author who stumbles into songwriting. You may not recognize the tunes that Clare’s character pens on the show, and that’s because musicians like Elvis Costello wrote original songs exclusively for Nashville. We spoke to Clare about her audition process and thoughts on recording an album of her own.
What’s your character on Nashville, Scarlett O’Connor, like?
“Scarlett exists in a world of T. S. Eliot and Mark Twain—she loves literature. She’s got books all over her house. Scarlett is a poet at heart, and ends up becoming a songwriter completely by accident. She’s very shy, and she actually moved to Nashville to be with her boyfriend, who’s an aspiring singer-songwriter. He’s very talented, so all of her energy has gone towards bettering his career, and her own life has taken a backseat. She doesn’t accept praise well, and she’s at the beginning of a pretty crazy journey.”
Can you describe your audition process?
“It was the fourth casting of the day, and the second week of pilot season. I had come over from Australia and sold half of my wardrobe to get to L.A., I came in two hours late to the audition, and they still let me try out, which was so lovely. As I sang, more and more people came into the room, and they asked me to come back the next morning. It was a 30-hour process! When they called me and said I had the job, my whole life changed. It’s a huge break for me.”
How did you adapt to living in an unfamiliar city?
“I got here at two in the morning, so it was pitch-black. At the hotel, there was a beautiful note on my bed from the production team that said, ‘this is the music Scarlett listens to’ with an iPod next to it. Everyone is so supportive of each other here. It’s weird when you get thrown into an adventure like this; you have to roll with it and stay grounded at the same time.”
“Country music fans are the best fans, and the locals are really happy. A lot of them have seen the pilot and have said that we’re representing them well. A place like this could be made into a caricature, but we’re not doing that.”
Are you similar to your character?
“She loves animals, wears boots with dresses, and is a little bit odd. She sometimes she feels like she’s out of her depths, but she’s definitely an adventurer at heart.”
Do you write songs, too?
“I have a few things going on, but I don’t know that I’m a songwriter yet. I’m not quite sure.”
What songs are you playing on repeat right now?
“I really like the classics—I love Dolly Parton. I also really like Ben Folds and Mumford & Sons. I’ve been listening to a lot of live music lately, which is probably one of the best things about being here in Nashville.”
“Before I came to the South, I didn’t really know too much about country music. I initially was attracted to folk. I really like bluegrass, and country is derived from folk music. Since being here, I’ve learned so much. There’s so much music history in Nashville.”
Any plans to release an album of your own?
“I would never say no to an adventure. Why not?”
Source/Credit: Teen Vogue