From musician to popular actress on Australia’s own Offspring, Rolling Stone’s Woman of the Year, being quite the proficient journalist and even interviewing our (then) Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, gorgeous bombshell and mother of three, CLARE BOWDITCH has taken life by the balls and given it a big squeeze. A successful entrepreneur, political activist and hilarious social commentator, Bowditch is undoubtedly one of Australia’s modern day super humans, all she really needs now is a cape. Speaking with true passion, elegance and a tweak of quirky cheek, Bowditch chatted with PEARL DAVIES on musicpreneurs, The Winter She Chose Happiness, and her big heart in changing the creative universe.
Being a long standing ambassador for several prominent support organisations, Bowditch has learnt that being where the action is is where you learn the most, and where you can give the most too. She gives us her opinions on two Australian organisations, ARIA and APRA: “I’m an ambassador for both. I appreciate any organisation that gives a shit about artists, and helps them to diversify their income streams. [They are] HUGELY useful resources.”
Being a supporter of other artists, Bowditch talks on what’s out there (besides her) that can assist Australian musicpreneurs. “It depends on your state, so I’d suggest using the best free personal research assistant in the world, Google. Being with national orgs like ARIA, APRA, OZCO, Big Hearted Business, or state-orgs like Music Victoria and Arts Victoria. Even local councils often have great grants and info – look far and wide, and ask other musicians in your state. Oh yeah and check out NEIS too.”
Along with this, Bowditch was chosen to be Secretary of Music Victoria, an independent body established to support the Victorian contemporary music industry across all genres. “Loved it, was really honoured to be part of that Board,” said Bowditch. “Lord knows I’m a crap secretary, but I sure did learn a lot. There are so many great people donating their time, effort, expertise to artists – there is so much help and support out there, but you have to be highly active to make use of it.”
Being wife to fellow musician Marty, mother of three to Asha and twin boys Oscar and Elija, team Bowditch have been working on a new business venture. Something big and something close to her heart, Big Hearted Business. Big Hearted Business or BHB is about bringing the left and right brainers together. Teaching creative people about business, and business people about creativity, in ways that make sense. Bowditch expands on her love child project and tells of what she expected from its launch: “We start with the first half of this hope, which are artists. We educate them through live events and online resources (many of which are yet to launch). All of this takes staff and amazing reserves of time for the research and development. We wanted to begin building our community and finding the people who would benefit. We [also] needed enough money to get contractors on board to help with the site and events, and that’s exactly what we were able to do.”
As well as part funding this new project herself, Bowditch took to the stage with Pozible. Pozible, a crowd funding platform and community-building tool is made for creative projects and ideas. It was developed to help people raise funds, realise their aspirations and make great things possible, or ‘Pozible’. With a target of over $26,000, Bowditch and her team had a big job in calling on those who believed in her Big Hearted Business to believe in her, and give. “All we hoped to achieve by the Pozible launch was to get the funding to get it (BHB) all started,” explains Bowditch, and started it did. After only 6 days, 305 loyal supporters and a massive $43,176.00 of donated cash in the honey pot the Big Hearted Business project was a go for launch and all successfully funded, and then some. “It’s been absolutely fantastic,” states Bowditch. “We were ABSOLUTELY BLOWN AWAY by the response. It’s given us the chance of a lifetime, and we’ve run with it.”
For the past five years Bowditch takes on an annual ritual of her Winter Secrets Tour. A rare concept that sees her tour yearly with a talented collaborator. Last year we saw Lanie Lane on the road with Bowditch, and this year will see Melbourne’s own Spender. Together Bowditch and Co put on a national show that’s inclusive of their audience, as Bowditch explains: “Winter Secrets is a solo tour that’s really just about having a bloody good time, one that includes the entire audience, all of whom are talented and creative and collaborating with another artist who are also talented and amazing.” Both Bowditch and Lane co-wrote and performed ‘Now You’re Home’ which was released by Bowditch as a single and on a seven-track extended play, Are You Ready Yet?
Bowditch embraces her fellow musicians as well as her audience and gives them guidance and hope to keep aspiring to be better today than what you were yesterday. She continues: “It’s about celebrating my awesome audiences, creativity in general, and showcasing a member from each community via the Winter Secrets competition.” Bowditch has a competition each year that invites ordinary citizens to showcase their musical goodies in front of her audience. There are winners for each performing show and an overall winner receives $1,000.
As much of an avid supporter of artists as Bowditch is, she’s more than happy to raise her hand in support of a new performance space. Playing in Newcastle’s newest gig venue, The Small Ballroom, Bowditch speaks of the passion it takes to take on a new project, and in supporting one: “I have everything to do with choosing the venues I play in, and I am THRILLED to be playing in The Small Ballroom for the first time. Opening a venue is huge and great labour of love, and it can take years to establish. I’m really happy to be there and I hope it’s everything I think it will be!”
The Winter I Chose Happiness is the newest album from Bowditch, released late in 2012. After all her accomplishments over the years and all she has achieved, has this contributed to the music and title of this album? “Frankly, happiness felt like a dangerous topic: it sounds so woo-woo, and yet what is it? It’s about exploring the question of happiness from an artistic perspective, and it just happens to be one of the most personal things I’ve ever written. We never get there – we are all works in progress, always.”
Clare Bowditch performs at The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, on Friday August 2.