|Claire de Belloy|
Young French actress/singer/songwriter Claire de Belloy launches her debut EP on October 9th. Sebastian Scotney interviewed her:
LondonJazz News: You are from France – What made you come to England
Claire de Belloy: I am from Southern France, Aix-en-Provence, and from Nantes. One reason for coming to England is that so much of the best music ever written – in my opinion – comes from the UK: Queen, Pink Floyd, Johanna Newsom, Elton John, David Bowie… And the list is long! How can one not be intrigued?
LJN: You’ve been on stage most of your life…
CdB: I started on stage in musical theatre when I was 11, touring in France and the on the East cost of the USA, with the Fredonia Company. After studying for three years in Paris at the Sorbonne where I did a double major in Theatre and Cinema, and also studying at the Conservatoire Debussy and at a musical theatre school called ECM de Paris, Another reason I came to the UK was because my dream was to get into the Guildford School of Acting. I was studying at GSA for 3 years until September 2014.
LJN: What have you been doing since your studies finished?
CdB: While living from one place to another, making a living in various ways, I have been writing and composing in music, musical theatre and in the commercial world. With Christian Lunn and Matt Sheppard, we have created a new theatre company called Theatre Seat 141. We co-wrote and composed the musical Here’s To Life which was performed at the National Portrait Gallery in June 2014. The show is also scheduled for a run at the Waterloo East Theatre in 2016.
I have also started a Youtube Channel: to tell a story called “How I became famous or absolutely nothing”. It is an imagined voice from 2030 telling the story of what is happing, and how I became what I became!
LJN: You’ve just done a musical for the National Gallery, what is the story of that?
CdB: Here’s To Life takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of human experience and the questions we face through the stages of life.
Christian Lunn and I co-authored it. We met at GSA and became good friends. We wrote a first version of the show as a song cycle at GSA and got to perform at the Cornbury Festival supported by Caffe Nero in 2014. It then became a musical for the National Portrait Gallery.
The inspiration at the heart of the show is a message that Christian’s father John Lunn left before he passed away in December 2013 “Take one step at a time, rather than crowding the mind with endless projections of the future which may never happen. Do not worry, do not worry” Here is a teaser.
LJN: You are also a song writer – when did you start writing your songs. What kind of themes/subjects/moods do you try to capture in your songs?
CdB: I have started writing the songs of the EP and many other songs this year 2015. Those songs, in English and French, come from the need of expressing a feeling, an impression, a reaction or asking questions to maybe find an answer. The moods of the songs depend very much on the subjects, trying to be honest with the words. There is a common theme which, pretty much, follows what Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow but learn as if you were to live forever”. The songs are also awlays about others, and the kind of interaction we create. My style has soul, folk, world and alternative influences.
LJN: Who are your song writing Gods in English and in French?
In French, I would say Aznavour, Brassens, Brel, Sardou… and in English, most definitely Carole King, Kate Bush, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Regina Spektor….and the list is long.
LJN: What was the inspiration for the song “See Me Clear” ?
CdB: The man I used to love told me that somehow he couldn’t really see who I was and am. My name being Claire, I just replied that he could See Me Clear… The song says it all.
LJN: And you’ve just made a recording?
CdB: I have just recorded an EP in August 2015 with my own writing and composing, starting to get into the music world. This EP is called See Me Clear, produced by Dan Bell. We gathered string quartet, grand piano, double bass, guitars, drums and harp and backing vocals.
See Me Clear will be launched at the Saint Pancras Old Church, with The Quill, on October 9th, at 7:30