SUNDAY CLASSIC GTC: CLARA STRAUCH – Persephone, plus five influential albums
by Walter Price
Zeus and Demeter’s grief ridden struggles with their daughter’s abduction by Hades has been credited with how the four seasons were created. And like the changes in weather, Clara Strauch’s new album examines the realities of adversities, sacrifice transitioning into acceptance and hopefulness.
The second album “Jupiter” will be released on October 16, 2020, with a final single on September 18th.
Three singles are already out: listen
Beautifully absorbing lyrics and stunning musicianship, Persephone, is a mature album full of introspection. While there is a heaviness to this album, that weight is counterbalanced with a good amount of whimsey, perseverance, and thoughtful compassion. Lovely evennesses that will be familiar to fans of Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, and The Swell Season.
Strauch was kind enough to share with the GTC the five albums that had great influence on her life. You can hear Persephone below.
Gregory Alan Isakov – The Weatherman
My bicultural life between the USA and Sweden is, of course, a huge privilege, but it can also be lonely, especially as a freelancing artist. I’ve spent a major part of the past five years on the road, traveling through many countries in addition to my two homes. I’m blessed to now have friends and family all around the world, but the backside is that every single day I miss someone far away. There’s perpetually another home somewhere, elsewhere, do I belong? In times of confusion, I always go back to The Weatherman. I’ve probably listened to it more than any other album ever. Gregory’s voice soothes me; the abstract lyrics tell stories of travels, loss, and longing; and his gentle melancholic melodies and cushiony strings are like a big hug, time after time. I’m so grateful for this music, and I think my own music-playing fills a similar function: to be held in loving presence. I recently found out that Gregory is also a bicultural traveler, so maybe that’s why I was so drawn to his songs in the first place.
Anais Mitchell – Hadestown
I saw the staged version of this folk opera at New York Theatre Workshop in 2016, and it’s probably the best thing I have ever heard/seen on stage. After the performance, I went home and discovered the 2010 album. Genius. A live cast recording came out in 2017, which is just as incredible as the original album. Anais’ folk music and poetic lyrics move me to the core. She can make me laugh and cry in the same song. Since I’m both a singer-songwriter and actor/theatre artist, I’m interested in the intersection between the two art forms, and I was particularly inspired by Hadestown’s innovative way of storytelling through music. And needless to say, her use of Greek mythology obviously influenced my album title Persephone.
Nirvana – Nevermind
Nirvana was my gateway into songwriting. 12-year-old me was upset and angry after my parents’ divorce, and I dyed my long hair black and blue and wore studded belts and lots of dark makeup. My family moved, and a newfound friend introduced me to Nirvana. It changed my world. I started writing songs, playing guitar, and dancing out my rage in my room while blasting this album over and over.
I had honestly forgotten about the watery cover photo, but maybe it subconsciously inspired my own new album cover…?
Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
What can I say… I discovered Regina’s music in my early teens, at the time when I had just started writing songs. It’s hard to pick one album, but since Soviet Kitsch includes ”Us” and ”Somedays”…oh wow. It almost feels like Regina is an older sister or a very close friend because I’ve listened to her so much. I love her clear, free, vulnerable voice; her playful, innovative, storytelling songwriting; and her mad piano skills. Maybe we share some sort of Jewish humor kinship, I dunno, but she inspired me to begin writing songs on the piano and to not be afraid of my quirks or of stepping out of the box.
Robyn – Body Talk
My first CD as a kid was Robyn Is Here in 1995, and I listened to Robyn all throughout my childhood and teens. But it wasn’t until she released Body Talk in 2010 that I truly realized what a queen she is. That album went on repeat for years. AH! I think every song is stellar. And even though my own music is in a completely different genre, Robyn’s fearlessness, honesty, heart, and unstoppable drive has been a huge inspiration. She helped me dance through life more and GO FOR IT.
[original pub date: 1. June 2018]
Persephone (2018) + Bada i April (single, 2020)
Mastered – Fredrik Jansson
Music / Lyrics – Clara Strauch
Lead Vocals, Piano, Guitar – Clara Strauch
Percussion / Trumpet / Bass / Keyboards / Violin – Zubin Hensler
Photography – Olof Grind
Piano, Violin – Mark Ettinger
Producer / Recorded / Mixed – Zubin Hensler
Violin – Elena Moon Park
Graphics – Clara Strauch
Bada i April
Music & lyrics by Clara Strauch
Produced, recorded, and mixed by Zubin Hensler at Lethe Lounge, New York City
Mastered by Gustav Lindelöw at INGRID Studios, Stockholm
Vocals, piano, guitar – Clara Strauch
Violin, viola – Hanna Ekström
Cello – Anna Dager
Drums – Jason Burger
Upright bass – Mark Ettinger
String arrangements – Zubin Hensler
Photography – Olof Grind at Västmanlands Teater, Västerås
Costume – Gunilla Edlund
“Clara Strauch is a Swedish/American singer-songwriter and actor with roots in both New York City and on the Swedish island of Gotland. She is creatively fueled by the contrasts of her cultural smörgåsbord background, as well as by feminism, mysticism, myths, and her own journey of healing from trauma.” – bio