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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST CLAIRE BIGLEY 

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

My cousins had a baby grand piano at their house and as a kid I found myself so drawn to it.   I would make my cousin, Jenny, teach me songs on it whenever I visited.   My fascination with the piano continued into school where I would stay after music class and try to play the piano.   The elementary music teacher told my mom about this and my parents bought me an old used piano (upright grand).  I started taking lessons and there was no turning back:-)

Introduce us you / all to the members and your musical history?

I’m Claire Bigley.   I’ve played the piano since I was 7 or 8.   Classically trained, I got my bachelor’s degree and master’s in piano performance (Miami University BFA/ The Cleveland Institute of Music MFA).   I worked as musical director in Chicago and also worked/co-owned a voice studio where I accompanied and my business partner, Gillian Kelly, taught voice.  I started doing some improv based playing when I was accompanying a theatre class.   The teacher, Janet Louer,  was using a lot of movement based work with the students and I started playing music while they were moving.   I realized I loved the interplay of energy that would happen.   The music was at times informing their movements and watching their movement definitely was informing my playing!  

I started learning more about sound as an energy modality around 2015.   I was taking a class in Holistic Healing with Kurt Hill (http://holistichealthpractice.net/mind/ ) where I learned about tuning forks as well as a plethora of other healing methods.   I found myself starting to experiment and play with simply sitting at the piano, invoking a particular emotion or state, and then allowing what I was experiencing to come through my hands and speak through the piano.   This lead to my first album, Labyrinth, and I’ve been recording music ever since.

What’s one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

This is new enough to me at this point in my career that I can honestly say I am not sick of any question.  Perhaps in ten years, I may have a different answer :-0

We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with america and the UK, good idea?

I think sharing music with as many people as possible is a good idea.   I believe music is a very strong way for natural healing, and in today’s world, I can’t imagine anything more vital.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?

Kind of…..I think many of the current cultures/religions that keep people tied up in knots and employ subtle and overt control/manipulation have reached a climax in the past couple of years.    Does that count as a conspiracy theory?

Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?

Nothing big.   I did stock up when I was able on toilet paper in case people started hoarding it again!

What useless party trick do you have? 

I am amazing at playing shuffleboard.  I only know this because my grandparents lived in a retirement community back in the day and when I would visit I’d play with other visiting grandkids.  I’d play once a year and beat everyone.



What was the most fun you have had on stage?

I had the opportunity to play the piano part with the LPO (Lousiana Philharmonic Orchestra) in a concert back in 2020 before the pandemic hit.   We played the soundtrack to one of the Harry Potter films while the film was played and it was amazing for me.   To be making music with amazing musicians like that and to be playing a John Williams score was just a high point for me!!

What was the worst experience on stage?

When I was in college as an undergraduate I accompanied a french horn player during a masterclass.   While I was playing, the piano started to roll away from me.  The look of horror on my face must have been hysterical!

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

I am really impatient.   Though I’ve learned to function in a world where patience has been force fed to me, it is not an authentic trait for me.   This always surprises those I am around as I’m told that has a very calm and unassuming way about me.

If you had to describe your band/music to an alien how would you describe it? 

Can I phone a friend?  I honestly have no idea.

What makes you stand out as a band/artist?

I think my work fits into multiple genres.   It isn’t your typical neo-classical, ambient, new age, or background piano formula.   It isn’t always strict tempo-wise, it can shift moods suddenly, and it is intended to engage the unconscious of the listener.   My hope is that with each listens, a different part or emotion will be engaged.

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?

I’m really tired of media and politicians who point fingers and blame the “other”.    When has that ever helped anyone?   It just keeps people stuck and losing energy around something that only disempowers.  It keeps humanity on a controlled hamster wheel.   How about we instead focus our energy on supporting the many out there thinking creatively to improve things?   Creators, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, and builders……the people who know how to dream and create. They will be our pioneers on this new frontier.    

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

An interesting question for me.   Because my stuff is improv based and literally is recorded as it comes out of me (I do tweek the mixing and such),  I don’t know that I’ll be reproducing songs when I play live.   

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?

My upcoming single, Embodiment, was recorded around the time Roe vs. Wade was overturned.  I was really feeling the grief, anger, and powerlessness of many.  The song that kept running in my head during this time was the hymn, ‘Shall we gather at the River’.   The call to gather in love and community despite any obstacles and setbacks.    I use that hymn in this track and I think it really grounds and adds a haunting layer to the piece. 

Talk me through the thought process of the single.

Singles are a spontaneous thing for me.   The music talks to me and lets me know when I need to record.   When it’s time for me to create, I don’t feel comfortable in my body until I make the time to record it.   My last album, Emergence, created itself.   I realized last year that some of the singles I released had really great pacing if I put them in a certain order.  I feel like Emergence was creating itself without me knowing for a while.   Once I realized this I knew immediately what was missing in the mix and set about giving myself some time to get into the state needed.    I wanted a track that musically chronicled the process of forming or ‘Becoming’.  I also needed the title track.   Emergence was recorded last and became the last track.   I’m really happy with how the album came out!   Quite the 28-minute long inner musical journey!

What was the recording process like?

I love the recording process.   At this point, I record myself and since I don’t have a soundproof studio, I record in my upstairs office.   I play on a keyboard and connect it directly to my laptop and use Garageband.     The recording bit usually doesn’t take me long as I don’t typically need to do multiple takes and record many different instruments.    I do take most of my time tweaking the sound of the recording by adjusting the balance, EQ, and various other things.   I find this part of the equation much more challenging as it’s easy to stop hearings things after awhile and it is also easy to stay in this phase too long……perfectionism can run rampant!!!!   There is always something that can be better 🙂   

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?

Coming to terms with mistakes.   There are parts of my earlier releases that I cringe when I listen.   Not because the playing itself is bad but the mix is bad, or the track volume is too low, or there is too much background noise….etc, etc.  I’ve learned that there comes a point where I need to simply release it and stop tweaking it!

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

On this track, no.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

I foresee some collaborations in my future so stay tuned!!!   Some cello to the piano mix is forthcoming :-0

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

I’d like to thank all who have reached out and shared their experiences while listening to my music.   My heart soars when I hear someone share that they felt  relaxed and soothed while listening.   I’ve also heard from listeners doing bodywork or altered states work that my music really helped support some deep work.  This is amazing for me!

Pre-Save Embodiment HERE