Col’s Chat – Locals through my Lens Monique Clare

Col’s Chat –

Locals through my Lens

Monique Clare


During my insightful and delightful chat with Monique Clare, there was an enormous sense of emotional connection between the musician and her audience.

“I’m constantly searching for more compelling reasons to keep up this strange dance that is working in the music industry. I’ve had incredible opportunities and moments of success, but I’m also often on the verge of quitting because of the challenges behind the scenes. Recently though, I’ve been so fuelled by a mutually cathartic style of storytelling and sharing where my audiences have proved to be so open-hearted and receptive the more, I open up to them. That’s been sustaining me lately.”

Bardon local, Monique is a classically trained cellist, singer, songwriter and educator. She has travelled the world, and accompanied artists as diverse as Eminem and Kate Miller-Heidke.

As a child, classical music was the air that her family breathed.  Despite an early dalliance with the piano, it was the cello – jumping from the airwaves of ABC Classic – that grabbed the young Monique.

“Classical music dominated my childhood and musical training, but once I was in high school, I started listening to more diverse genres: Radiohead, Angus and Julia Stone, Björk etc. I was classically trained and loved art-pop, but the bridge between those styles turned out to be traditional folk. It was an absolute relief to discover a style of music that was non-competitive and to be immersed in that scene.”

Folk allowed Monique to travel to America. On her return, she could not be harnessed by the playing of traditional songs. “I had so much emotional experience that I felt the only way to express that was to write and play my own songs.”

Monique’s positive attitude led her to teach at the Afghanistan International School of Music in Kabul, in 2016. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to not always think through something before you do it, because otherwise you can get bogged down by fear. I was so lucky to get to go before the Taliban took over”.

Monique’s debut album, Sight, is a complex, yet hauntingly beautiful body of work. “I wanted each track of the album to be like stepping into a different room. The album’s journey; starts with a reflection of joy, then highlights the low point of people’s experiences, before returning to the world’s beauty again”.

We return to the subject of creative sustainability. “It’s about balance. I’m getting there by teaching again, playing for other artists, whilst still planning my own tours and shows. I never want to give the impression that I’m ungrateful for this life, but I do think it’s important for folks to see the reality of this job since it’s often seen as a cruisey, dream lifestyle. The reality is I spend most of my time on a laptop sending emails! I’d love more people to know just how hard musicians work, and to see that truly valued in Australian culture.”

Pop along to to learn more of Monique’s inspiring journey, and listen to the stunning Sight.

Author and Photographer: Colin Bushell / Colin Bushell Photography