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Clare Sands, musician, music teacher and music therapist

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 4:47pm

Name and position: Clare Sands, musician, music teacher and music therapist

Age: 25

Lives: Cork city

Family: I have great, encouraging parents, and two younger sisters

Pets: A newly acquired cat

Favourite thing about Cork: Cork Coffee Roasters is up there. I also love the diversity in Cork, both musically and culturally. Location is also key - I can be surfing in 45 minutes from leaving the city, or cycling in the country in ten.

Least favourite thing about Cork: Washington Street on a weekend night. The inebriated people remind me of stunned rabbits in my car’s headlights.

One thing you’d change about Cork: Better cycle lines for sure, and harsh fines on cars parking in them. If I had the power to change the weather, I would too!

When you were small, what did you want to be as a grown-up?

A detective mainly; a vet crossed my mind too. Might do the detective thing one day... Law was my second choice in college. Deep down, I knew music would win though. We musicians are cursed in a way - I feel like the career finds us, not the other way around.

Tell us about your career progression to your role today:

I studied classical violin from a very young age, as well as learning Irish traditional music from the age of four from my dad Seamus, who’s a fantastic fiddler. My mother’s side are fantastic pianists and singers, so following this sort of genetic line my career was unavoidable!

Whilst completing my violin grades, I got interested in the guitar. Ironically, my dad didn’t want me to learn because he thought it would distract me from my violin. I suppose it did, but it also aided my musical journey hugely, and is an integral part of my being now. It’s funny to look back on - my mother practically snuck me out of the house to the guitar lessons!

I started writing songs at 14, and I haven’t looked back since. I completed a BA honours degree in music and Italian in UCC and have been travelling the world on and off since, immersing myself in different music and cultures, thus my eclectic fusion sound, as the ‘critics’ call it.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of what you do?

Playing and performing, to people that are there to see you. This means they are generally quiet! I also love my band, and spending time with them. I have a fine band of fantastic musicians, and we alway have a lot of fun on the road. Too much fun sometimes. But they look out for me, and I am blessed to play with them and call them best friends.

What motivates you?

Everything. Sometimes I am too motivated… If that’s a thing?

I’ve been like this since I can remember. Some of it has to do with boredom, and a mind that never stops going. A lot would also be down to my parents being very high achievers. The other part is probably some existential angst. For me, this is it…. one life, no dress rehearsal. Might as well enjoy the ride.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

To calm down a bit, and be comfortable with doing nothing.

If you weren’t in the job you have, what would you be doing?

I would think a detective, or maybe Catwoman.

What is your greatest life or career achievement to-date?

Mmm… how to not sound like an egotistical maniac… I have three world medals for Ireland in martial arts. No one ever believes me, but I am actually a black belt.

Who has had the biggest influence on you in your life?

There has been a few, aside from my parents. One or two ex-lovers, who introduced me to all sorts of musical and artistic worlds. Best not give those names, eh? I’m working with a fantastic virtuoso guitarist at the moment called Jimmy Smyth, who produced and collaborated with me on my newest single ‘Dance x3!’ Jimmy has worked with all sorts of people including Van Morrison and Mary Coughlan. I’m learning a lot of cool music from him at the moment, and a few life lessons too!

What is the life dream now?

I’m far too much of a cynic for dreams! But mainly to learn, live, and love. It may sound totally cheesy, but what else do you want really, deep down? Everything else is just superficial.

How do you switch off?

Martial arts (Brazillian jiu-jitsu), working out, and surfing. When you’re doing martial arts, and in some sort of choke hold, everything else leaves your mind, because you are in a life or death situation!!

What is your favourite Cork memory?

Going down Patrick’s Hill on a plastic lid in the midst of the snow, and surfing down Oliver Plunkett Street in the midst of the floods.

What is your favourite place in Cork?

Out west is simply beautiful. I’m a big fan of Levis’ in Ballydehob (hello Joe and Caroline!). You’ll find me in a wee Cork pub too, buried in their crosswords at the bar, but I can’t tell you that name either, as I never like to be found there...ha!

Do you have a favourite quote or motto?

‘He who has a why to live, can bear almost any how’ - Friedrich Nietzsche.

When are you at your happiest?

When out in the ocean, sitting on my surfboard.

Any regrets?

No. You learn from everything.

What is your hidden talent?

I am hugely into fitness and martial arts… is it a talent to be able to floor a grown man? Maybe. I train most mornings in SBG Cork City, where I’ve been training since I was eight.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

All the above...

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I would love to see people at my Cork show on November 22 in the Spailpin Fanach. Big eight-piece band. What to expect? A very energetic, eclectic, funky, fun fusion gig! Think Amy Winehouse’s band meets Bonnie Raitt, who then meets The Gloaming. I’ll be fronting the band on electric guitar and electric violin, singing in all sorts of languages, and playing all sorts of music. Do come along, if you are so inclined.

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