Artist Spotlight – Clara Berry

“Sparkling and dark, intriguing and entrancing, Clara Berry’s music is so fresh it crashes over the sea wall and reaches the other side of the street.” ~ Portland Magazine

Zack Daggy: When did you first start singing?

Clara Berry: I’ve been annoying my family with constant singing I think since I escaped the womb, but to be safe I’ll say since I started taking music lessons at age 8.

ZD: Where do you find inspiration?

CB: I find inspiration in a lot of places, but mostly it comes when I just start experimenting at the piano and seeing what happens.  I’m an obsessive person so I can sit at the piano for a very long time trying to figure out where a melody or chord progression should go.  It’s my constant Rubik’s Cube.

ZD: Whom do people say that you sound like?

CB: People often compare me to Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor.  We three share obvious traits (we’re all vocalists with pianos at our fingertips), but I think my approach to “the song” as an art form is perhaps also similar in it’s experimental nature (though not, I would argue, the same).

ZD: What was your very first live gig like?

CB: My very first live gig was in a church with a couple other bands for an audience comprised largely of fellow high schoolers.   At the time I was not considering music as a career and really just thought it would be cool to share what I was doing with people.  The extremely positive response of the audience however convinced me otherwise.

ZD: Are you superstitious or do you have any good luck charms?

CB: Well, I wouldn’t want to jinx myself answering yes or no.

ZD: What has been the best moment thus far in your music career?

CB: The best moment, and I may just being saying this as it’s still giving me a high, was winning 500$ from Microsoft for being in the top 7 downloads of its Playlist 7 promotion.  It came at such a great time because I’ve been working on this EP with several friends from UMass Lowell, and though the recordings have been coming out extremely well I wasn’t sure how we were going to come up with all the money to produce the discs.  It seems like more than a coincidence–which I suppose answers the previous question.

ZD: What has been the most embarrassing moment thus far in your music career?

CB: The most embarrassing moment was definitely the one time I completely blanked on a song halfway through in front of a larger audience and couldn’t recover.  As a performer you are destined to feel the somewhat terrifying sensation of having forgotten everything you have ever learned about music prior to performance, but having that sensation fully realized publicly is many times over more terrifying.

ZD: What is a typical day for Clara Berry like?

CB: A typical day for Clara Berry involves several music courses sprinkled with music business and financial courses topped with a few hours in the practice room (I’m a Music Business major).  There is of course lots of tea incorporated into that regimen.

ZD: If you could record with anyone, who would it be?

CB: Definitely Tom Waits.  I am fascinated by the gritty side of life, and his music, especially his album Rain Dogs, has been very influential in my own music in that regard.  Also I think our vocals would make an interesting mix.

ZD: Which line from one of your songs best describes you?

CB: That’s a tough question. I think “You are young and just as knowing as he will ever be,”  from my song Suzanne’s Lament is fitting as it is about a man who finds his lover to be eternally mysterious and wise when in reality she is much more on his level than he realizes.  I think I relate personally to this line, as many people who meet me after hearing my music tend to regard me as some dark, mysterious, ever-melancholy beast, when in fact I am quite silly.

Catch Clara Berry On…

  • Mothpod 170 (Available January 18th, 2010 at

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