Soulful Canadian Singer
A soulful singer from Canada who resembles the legendary sounds of the 60s and 70s is getting ready for the release of her upcoming EP, Thrive. While music has always been part of her life, Claire Davis began performing with her high school band of her hometown, Victoria, British Columbia. Relocating to Toronto, her career in music truly began to form after pursuing a bachelor degree in music and joining the Nathaniel Dett Chorale choir she would eventually make her way into becoming lead singer for the YUKA band, who release to full-length albums, From the Ancients and Dreamscape. Continuing her journey, Claire has had the opportunity to perform as background vocalist for Martha Reeves (of Martha & the Vandellas), Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Jully Black, as well top Toronto breakout artists Charlotte Day Wilson, Jessie Reyez, and Daniel Caesar. Now, on July 16th, Claire Davis is entering a new chapter by stepping out as a solo artist with her debut album, Thrive.
Claire Davis’ Upcoming Album, Thrive
A soulful soundtrack of heartbreak and love, the five-track EP sees Davis step into her own as an artist and performer, featuring her signature powerhouse vocals accompanied by airtight grooves. The collection of analog recorded songs bring ‘60s and ‘70s soul influences like Aretha Franklin and Al Green into the present; following in the musical footsteps of retro revivalists like Amy Winehouse.
“I felt that recording to tape was an integral part of unifying the overall sound of the EP. I wanted to have the flavour of some of my favourite soul records while also being unique compositionally.” says Davis of her vision for the EP, “Using an analog process is all about capturing the vibe of a performance- doing a lot of edits and comps is pretty much impossible. This process also works well for me because I consider myself primarily a live singer and this is the closest to honouring a live performance as you get in the recording world.”
Thrive explores a spectrum of emotion; from the aching Otis Redding-esque ballad “Can’t Move On”, to the groovy and bouncy “Playground”, to the introspective title track “Thrive”; “Each song centers around the relationships we have with ourselves and others- the good, the bad, the confusing. Ultimately the song “Thrive” really resonated with me which is why I wanted to name the EP after it. I really believe that no matter who comes and goes in our lives we blossom the most when we love and take care of ourselves first- it’s the only thing we can truly control.”
Davis teamed up with producer and YUKA bandmate Scott McCannell to record Thrive at Safe Spaceship Studios in Toronto, sharing a back and forth collaboration in the songwriting process. The album includes a stacked lineup of Scott McCannell on bass and guitar, Heather Crawford and James Taylor on guitar, Chino DeVilla on drums, Ben MacDonald and La-Nai Gabriel on organ, Ben MacDonald on horns, Juan Carlos Medrano on percussion, and background vocals by Joanna Mohammed, Tegan Michelle, La-Nai Gabriel and Kyla Charter.
Claire Davis Interview
Kulture Vulturez: How did you get introduced to music?
Claire Davis: My dad was a musician and both of my parents played music pretty constantly in the house/car growing up. I played piano and alto saxophone a bit when I was a kid but started singing when I was 14 and kind of went all in. My high school in Victoria had a 12-piece Motown Band that I was all about. They were some very formative years for me, musically speaking.
Kulture Vulturez: Of all time, who are some of your favorite artists to listen to?
Claire Davis: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Lady Wray, Donny Hathaway, The Isley Brothers, The Meters, Betty Wright, James Brown… I could go on!
Kulture Vulturez: As far as R&B and soul music, what’s your favorite era of music? Why?
Claire Davis: I think it would be the 60s because there was just an insane amount of amazing artists coming out at that time. Between Stax, Motown, and Atlantic Records alone, I don’t think it can be beat, honestly.
Kulture Vulturez: Being from Canada, any Canadian artists that stand out to you or you take a liking to?
Claire Davis: There is so much phenomenal Canadian talent that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Daniel Caesar, Charlotte Day Wilson and Jessie Reyez who are all fantastic. Jeremie Albino also has a dope retro blues/roots/folk vibe that I really love, Aphrose is one of my favourite singer-songwriters right now, and Lydia Persaud is Queen of giving you the feels!
Kulture Vulturez: What are some of the things you like to sing about?
Claire Davis: I like to sing about love because it’s one of my biggest motivators, but also the intricacies of relationships (both romantic and platonic) really fascinate me. I also love to sing songs that make me feel empowered- it’s almost like saying positive affirmations out loud except they’re resonating more in your body because you’re singing them.
Kulture Vulturez: What inspires and motivates you to make music?
Claire Davis: Being on stage with an audience that is vibing with you is probably one of the most uplifting feelings in the world. My favourite thing is the energy exchange between musicians and the audience.
Kulture Vulturez: Are there any specific goals in music you would like to accomplish?
Claire Davis: I would love to make a full-length LP on vinyl and tour a bunch all over the world. Making music with people, in general, will always be an important part of my life whether I’m doing my own thing or backing up other artists I love- I’m here for it all!
Kulture Vulturez: What can listeners expect from your upcoming album Thrive?
Claire Davis: I felt that recording to tape for this EP was an integral part of unifying the overall sound. I wanted to have the flavour of some of my favourite soul records while also being unique compositionally. Using an analog process is all about capturing the vibe of a performance- doing a lot of edits and comps is pretty much impossible. This process also works well for me because I consider myself primarily a live singer and this is the closest to honouring a live performance as you get in the recording world.
Each song centers around the relationships we have with ourselves and others- the good, the bad, the confusing. Ultimately the song “Thrive” really resonated with me which is why I wanted to name the EP after it. I really believe that no matter who comes and goes in our lives we blossom the most when we love and take care of ourselves first- it’s the only thing we can truly control.