Hello Everyone! It’s Monday so that means music! Today I am throwing the spotlight on the very talented Jazz Pop Artist Clara Bellino! PLUS I will also share encore performances of the past two IndieReview Behind The Scenes Internet Radio’s Event week segments!
A delightful singer-songwriter with a
memorable story to tell, Clara Bellino emerged from France to become an important contributor to the American music scene. Her latest CD, This Is Happiness – Hand In Hand, not only features her newest song “This Is Happiness” and a memorable duet with the legendary Bobby Sharp (best known for “Unchain My Heart”) but also two videos and a documentary.
Clara Bellino was born in Paris, France, spent two years in the United States starting when she was five, and grew up in a small village of the French Alps. “I always loved music and wrote lyrics early on. When I was seven, I entered a conservatory, singing in the choir, studying classical piano for ten years and classical guitar for five. I also took a couple of years of jazz piano. Music brought me to the United States. I wanted to perform my own music and in France I felt as if I was stuck. The choices were to become a pop variety artist who had to have a hit in order to get on television, or to play classical or jazz. I felt that there were a lot more options to grow in music in the U.S.”
Since 1992, Clara has worked in many films (including starring as a singer in the 1993 feature film, Steal America) and commercials, and she has had extensive voiceover work, but music has always been her main passion. She led a band called the Flying Monkeys for several years and, when the group was disbanding, she recorded her first solo CD, Flying Monkey. In 2005 Clara recorded “Come And Stay With Me” for a compilation album (Juxtamusician) put out by a label from Austin, Texas. The single was also included in her next CD, Embarcadero Love.
“When I first came to the States, I wanted to perform what I called ‘sophisticated funk.’ By the time I recorded Embarcadero Love, I had been playing with most of the same musicians for several years. They were the band of my dreams. It was an all-black band comprised of former members of Tower Of Power, Sly & The Family Stone and the Commodores. Embarcadero Love is an eclectic set of music that I call ‘soulful pop.’”
Clara Bellino’s new CD came about in a roundabout way. “I wrote ‘This Is Happiness’ when I was in a tiny village in France where my brother and his wife own a farm. I played it in different places including a church and at a show in Paris, and it evolved. I initially just wanted to record a CD single.” Clara started working with producers Greg Sankovich (who plays all of the keyboards on “This Is Happiness”) and Lincoln Adler (who takes a beautiful soprano solo on “Hand In Hand” and tenor on “This Is Happiness”). Bobby Sharp had given Clara “Hand In Hand” several years earlier. Sharp originally wrote “Hand In Hand” in 1947 and over 15 years later Nat King Cole expressed interest in it. However Cole passed away and the song went undiscovered and unrecorded, until now. “Bobby Sharp and I had the same landlord who originally introduced us. We got to be good friends, he’s 87, and I talk to him every day. He had so much fun recording the piano track and being in the studio that I wanted him to be on the project. It was a pleasure working with him and he always has wonderful stories to share.”
The project expanded and the finished CD is full of high points. The set opens and closes with the catchy and exuberant “This Is Happiness,” a tune about the joy found in simple pleasures. It will certainly have audiences singing along. “Hand In Hand,” which is about a different type of happiness, that of love, is also heard twice with one version being a vocal duet by Clara and Bobby Sharp. Heard as a transition between songs is Sharp’s pretty instrumental “Driftwood.” As a special bonus to this enhanced CD, also included are highly appealing videos of “This Is Happiness” and “Hand In Hand” plus an informal documentary about the great Bobby Sharp.
Clara has been playing shows, showcases and benefits in Northern California including at the Great American Music Hall, The Paradise and most recently Café Du Nord. She looks forward to having a West Coast tour upon the official release of This Is Happiness – Hand In Hand.
Clara Bellino is a talent well worth discovering.
ENCORE ENCORE ENCORE!
Please check out Thursday November 14th interview with IndieRock Band AfterMidnight! They chat with IndieReview Behind The Scenes about music, inspiration and much more!
and Listen to the Segment which launched last Friday’s IndieReview Behind The Scene Radio’s 100,000 Listeners Arts Festival!
The Hosts of IndieReview BTS chats about favorite happenings over the last year and a half, most embarrassing moments a big thank-you AND a surprise call-in from one of the Featured Guest!