This wasn’t Clara C’s first time performing in New York City, yet she stood on stage in her burgundy Doc Martens to a packed house. On her third tour, to coincide with the release of her third album, Clara C chose to create an intimate atmosphere for the audience by having the large hall decked out like she was performing in one of their living rooms. Her ability to do this can largely be ascribed to being an independent artist. She is a shining example of this growing cadre who choose to “steer their own ship”, as she eloquently puts it.
Sometime around 2010 or maybe 2009, Clara C had an epiphany at the hands of friends, and decided to “come out the closet” with her musical talent. Laughing out loudly while being interviewed, she rejoins the repartee. “Came out the musical closet… I’m hetero and married!” She’s since then gone on to release 3 albums, the latest being the acoustic album “Organika”. “It’s like organic!” she said when asked to describe it. “It’s fresh. You’re cutting the fat and getting right to the point. And…. it’s good for you!”
Clara C has a beautiful voice. It’s that simple. But as simplicity at times can be elusive; Clara C has a beautiful and melodious voice. But since the use of hyperbole is now trendy; Clara C has a beautiful and melodious voice that borders on angelic. A good introduction to her music is the first track on her new album, “Nayelli”. It’s a lullaby directed at her two-year-old sponsor-child with World Vision, who’ve paired up with Clara C for her tour. Another track on the new album is “Quesadilla”, an acoustic remix from her second album. In it, Clara C goes a little jazzy on us, and so successfully that she conjures up images of Alicia Keys. Rounding out the album is a deeply personal song, “Fish”. It’s best to listen to it to appreciate the depth of the raw emotion Clara C expresses. An emotion that overwhelmed her during her performance.
With iTunes and CD Baby offering digital music distribution, Kickstarter and Indiegogo providing funding for album releases to full-scale tours, and YouTube as the ultimate promotional tool, the role of the major record labels within the music industry has officially been usurped. These tools among others have remarkably improved the plight of the independent artist.
Many an artist, including established ones like Prince and rising ones like Ryan Leslie are increasingly choosing this path. A path, which can initially be fraught with hardship and uncertainty but can eventually hold great rewards for talented and persevering artists. Although a record deal with a major label does have the potential to create the next super diva and multi-platinum record selling artist, but for many signing on the dotted line can be a ticket to obscurity if not penury. Toni Braxton may agree with this sentiment.
The holy grail of the music industry is intellectual property. On distribution channels like iTunes, below the picture of an album cover is a little c or p in a circle, “©”. The name next to that little circle at times determines the fate of an artist. For Clara C, the name next to that little circle is “Clara Chung”. She owns her own music. By effectively owning the rights to their music, independent artists can elude “serving in paradise”, which synonymously describes the plight of some who sign with major labels. The liberating-but-not-so-pleasant alternative of “ruling in hell” can also be transcended, because artists now have the tools to create their own paradise. As Clara C puts it “… I’m ruling in paradise”.
Major record labels like all things human, are both good and bad. They have given the world many songs and artists that would otherwise remain in obscurity. They gave us Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Whitney Houston, who perfectly exemplify the best and the worst of signing with a major label. It’s hard to imagine a world without _____________. Fill in your favorite artist or song, which is quite likely a product of the major labels. They have produce music whose very existence have arguably made the world a better place, or at least made a regular 9-5 more tolerable. “It’s not to say I’m not open to labels, I’m just looking for the right thing…. I’m always in talks with labels” Clara C concluded in our interview. With three albums and three tours behind her, Clara C has placed herself in a place where independent artists want to be. A place where they “get the best of both worlds.”
Note that the opinions written here are that of GoodMoMusic and may not reflect that of Clara C.