In celebration of International Women’s Day, Clare Bowditch has released the video to her new single Woman and penned a letter to her 15-year-old self for theMusic.com.au.
“Forgive me if this sounds ridiculous, but I still can’t watch the Woman film clip without crying," Bowditch said of the video.
"It’s gratitude, I think. Lucy Knox is a deeply gifted film-maker and her rendering of the story of the song is absolutely spot on. Here we are, all ages, nationalities, shapes and sizes, standing up, showing the world we are not here to play small. We are not here to please. This is just us. No apology needed.
"The courage and joy and ambition and defiance in the faces of these women fills my chest so big and so warm, and I think that’s where the tears come from.“
Bowditch will be taking the tune on the road this May, playing shows in Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Brisbane. Scroll down to theGuide for a look at all the dates and read the letter below.
Dear 15-year-old Clare,
Hello! This is me, your wiser self speaking.
Yes, as suspected, I do exist. I do! Always did! And yes, I do realise this is an obvious statement to make, given the exercise, but I want to state it right here up front - because I seem to recall that when you were 15, the loudest voice in your head was not me, your wiser self.
The loudest voice in your head at the time was, rather painfully, the voice that told you that in order to find your place in the world, in order to fit in, you were going to need to pretend, and keep pretending, to be someone you are not.
You thought that by minimising yourself, and not standing out from the crowd, your dreams of making your living as a singer would somehow… be more likely.
You have a brain that tells you constantly that the only thing that matters is survival, survival, survival. You must fit in with the tribe, you must fit in the rules, you must, for fuck’s sake, fit.
Just to be clear, yes, one of the things that I’m talking about here is your body, and it’s size, and how it feels “too big” all the time.
But I am also talking about your songs, and how they don’t sound like other people’s songs, and how you think that means there’s something wrong with you.
You have always known you were born to sing and tell stories, because that is what you have always done.
Yet you tell yourself constantly that you need, somehow, to be less complicated, with less feelings, and less pain, and cleaner edges.
Darling – that’s just not you.
The main thing standing in the way of you and your calling is your head, and the way it’s sponged up all those messages from all the examples that society gives you, the ones about how being different is somehow bad.
Listen – it is not your fault you feel this way. It is not an indication you did something wrong.
This here moment, the one that feels like shit – this shit feeling is an indication, you’re on to something.
You’ve sensed something that just isn’t right, that lots of people feel isn’t right, and you’re working up the courage to “call it”.
You will call it, too. No bones about it. Your songs – that’s where you’ll do it.
You feel them bubbling up inside you, so you sing them secretly in your bedroom when you think no one is home. But they are calling to be sung on a bigger stage.
Listen to that.
When you look around at all the women you admire, all the strangers who are famous and on TV and on billboards, and you don’t see yourself anywhere, or hear your kind of song on the radio, there is a part of you that thinks that you must have done something wrong.
But it’s just not true.
The real rub is, it’s about time you begin singing your songs, out loud, for all the world to hear.
It’s about time you start talking back to that voice which tells you that the best way to be yourself is to be small, and likeable.
Fuck that, little girl. Fuck. That.
Don’t waste another minute trying to fit in, or get thin, or be “enough”, just so the voice in your head – the survival voice – will go quiet.
The way to make it to go quiet is to keep stepping out into the world and working it out in public in the same way we all work it out in public.
Take care of yourself, and your gifts, and keep counting yourself in, and you will see: this quiet internal work you’re doing right now will one day be a thing in the world that other people get to sing and share with you.
You have stories to tell, examples to set, songs to sing, pleasure to feel.
Off you go then!
Sooki Lounge, Belgrave
Corner Hotel, Richmond
Lizottes Newcastle, Lambton
Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm