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Mpowered. By Women for Women: Claire Tonna

Mpowered. By Women for Women: Claire Tonna

Meet Claire Tonna – An award-winning Maltese singer songwriter with an individualistic sound, iconic stage presence and a free spirit in everything that she does.

 

 

 

 

 

Claire Tonna has taken her talent all over the world. She was performed and collaborated with many household names, and she won the Best Songwriter at the Tour Music Festival in Rome in 2019, taking home a scholarship. Scroll down to listen to the full podcast. 

Claire describes herself as a breath between life and death. ‘I think that is the most honest thing that can describe me. Even though I have a lot of roles, parts of my identity shift and change. Even though I sing, there are many days which I can’t do that. So, I’m not just a singer, for sure’.

Claire has written songs and sang almost all of her life. ‘It was never a choice for me, and it was never something that makes me happy. If I don’t do it, I get sick and I feel like I am not fulfilling my potential. It’s like therapy for me - I have to do it. I get depressed if I don’t do it. It is not something that necessarily brings me joy. It’s an instinct – just like eating and sleeping. For me, I need to write to breathe. Sometimes, I write to give courage to other people. What you need to admit to yourself, is not always beautiful. Sometimes I needed to write on paper that I’m not feeling loved. You won’t feel happy writing and admitting this, but you will feel complete.’

Claire has a gift of not being shy to express what she feels. ‘Life has given me the confidence to talk about and sing about my insecurities. When people resonate with this, they are empowered. I do it because it’s who I am not because it’s needed.’

She speaks about needing to be an empty vessel to write and sing songs. ‘It is a liberating exercise to empty yourself from yourself. All your thoughts, traumas, past, and memories – they vanish. It’s like meditation. There’s nothing and you’re in a place of stillness. That is my process of how to write, perform and sing. I need to be empty of who I am. What comes out is more powerful than Claire Tonna.’

Claire feels that she grew up and started experiencing who she was when, at the age of 25, she left Malta and started backpacking. ‘It is one of the best things I ever did in my life. I chose what made me happy. What really made me happy was finding solutions to other people’s problems and making them happy. I gave away all my belongings, I bought a ticket to India, and I did not have one drop of fear – I knew it was the right thing to do. That was the first time I chose the will of my heart. My intuition knew I needed to arrive there. It wasn’t always easy, but it was much harder for me to try to fit in a way of life that didn’t resonate with me.’

Claire admits that this way of life might not necessarily be for everyone. ‘No individual is the same. For me, this was the cause of my joy, and I did it. I think everyone should choose what makes them happy. They just need to accept that there is a way. Many people are unhappy, and they are afraid to think that they could change things. There were times where I tried to conform, but I couldn’t do it. Not everything is for everyone but choosing what makes you alive, definitely is.’

So, what made Claire come back to Malta? ‘Malta is treating me well. I have reconciled a lot with Malta. I had a love-hate relationship with the island. After the first lockdown in 2020, I came back to Malta, and I was diagnosed with two broken discs in my spine. In a month and a half, I couldn’t walk or move. There was only an 85% chance that my voice will come back after a couple of years. It’s a miracle my voice came back. I believe that I was meant to be here. I went from travelling independently to not being able to have a shower on my own. Malta took care of me. I wrote the best songs ever in recovery too. I was writing what needed to come out not what I wanted to hear. It was like my soul was vomiting.’

Some of the best concerts Claire performed at were held at Spain’s prisons. ‘I always felt a belonging with the marginalised population. I ended up collaborating with the prisoners themselves. They are the freest people I have ever met. They have nothing and they appreciate everything. The less things you have, the more opportunity you have to heal and forgive yourself.’

Claire reveals that inspiration comes from everywhere. ‘Sometimes I could be walking, and things come in my head, and I start writing them down like a journal. I am also very consistent, and I dedicate time every day to sit and write. When I’m very empty, the stuff comes out on its own and it comes out ready. Other times, I just write and journal. I’m interested in having songs I can sing all my life. Nothing makes me feel alive like singing my own songs. The process of creativity is very spiritual like a sexual expression. It’s the most honest reflection of your deepest space.’

Claire also attended the first female song writing camp organised by The New Victorians. ‘It was a new experience for me because I’m a lone wolf. We had to write songs in groups, and I think I wrote great stuff. I wrote stuff that is better than the stuff that I write by myself.’

Claire has been hinting about a new album for 10 whole years! Will we be getting a taste of it this year?

‘I prefer to do something as it flows rather than with deadlines. The songs that will be released are the songs that I will sing all my life. It took time for me to make them in a way that I’m happy about them. The good news is that I’m working with a new producer – the material is different from what I’m used to before – more gospel and 90s rave. This new material is danceable too! Four singles are already recorded and we’re working on a video. We’re almost there and 2022 will be the year!’

Thank you, Claire for sharing your story. We’re super excited for the singles and the new album! Thank you for sharing with us that beautiful laugh and your wisdom! Listen to the full podcast below. 

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