Clare Bowditch is a beloved Australian award-winning musician, actor, author, and speaker on topics of modern mental health, big-hearted business, and all things “being woman” and is part of the onboard filmed faculty for Homeward Bound. This week she spoke at the National Press Club of Australia on “Music, Meaning and Money”.
Watch her address here.
I watched this woman, who I love deeply, present at the National Press Club yesterday. I watched her closely. It was a very big moment for her. She was nervous, not quite in her flow as she started. It was clear she had prepared carefully and thoughtfully, as is her way, so I wondered what was so unsettling in this moment.
She was not singing, wooing the hearts with the threads of her beautiful voice. She can do this with her eyes closed. She was, instead, just speaking, to word mongers, old and young, powerful and emerging. Every head of every major media outlet was in the room, from the most intellectually conservative to the most disruptive, so was that it? Was it an intimidating audience?
I doubted it. She speaks in many quarters, to say nothing of being a practiced media voice.
As she progressed, however, her passion, conviction, deep love for music and her industry became overwhelmingly clear. This was what had unsettled her. She was not on show personally (though she shared her story in intimate detail through the speech, but only in as much as it allowed her to highlight the shared anguish of all musicians/entertainers/artists during Covid). Her focus, her compassion, and no small measure of power was directed at sending out a clarion call for her industry, Australia-wide.
She made us listen to the nuances of the message, to have a heart for the musicians, and, with care and love, wove into her storytelling the myriad of people affected by the loss of live performances everywhere. She brought everyone into the room, from roadie to lighting specialist, from sound experts to publicity managers, from venue owners to backup crews. Everyone had a place with Clare.
Clare was the voice, truly (and we should all have seen the subtle link when she said she had been singing The Voice in the Green Room while waiting to join the audience). JF would have been proud of her (probably listened in fact). I am sure that was the intention of the song, you are the voice, try and understand it, make a noise and make it clear.
I shifted my gaze to the audience and everyone that I observed was leaning forward, smiling, eyes filled with tears, nodding, moving with her. She held us in her story with the fierce arms of a mother protecting her family. Pay attention, be responsible, music is everywhere – from weddings to funerals, from showers to cars, to calm, inspire, connect, to bring our feelings out into the world, encased in songs that matter, privately and collectively.
Care for the talent that feeds into our AirPods, speakers, cars, waiting rooms, and yes, even lifts. Don’t steal the music, pay. Treat the industry as an industry. We subsidise so many corporates whose value is a fraction of the music industry. Let’s change this.
I think Clare is a great leader. In every way. Brave, insightful, compassionate, inclusive.
I would follow her anywhere.
Clare has shared her story as part of the Homeward Bound filmed faculty with four cohorts of Homeward Bound women, and we are proud to share just a small part of her leadership wisdom with you here.