Clare Means- Busking in the Sun

0 Comments 01 April 2016

clare means

Spotlight on LA indie folk artist Clare Means.

By Chris Camargo


Outside the Besant Lodge in Hollywood people are bumming smokes and petting some guy’s pet possum as the audience files out after the show and I hear Clare Means saying, “that’s im-possum-ble.” …this is Hollywood at night (For the record the possum’s name is Sterling and doesn’t like flash photogs). This comedic charm is evident in a lot of her music and most condensed in her album of children songs. But as unusual as a pet possum might be for you, something rarer is the sight of a working, self-taught musician without a day job and no a record contract.
This is Clare Means. You can find her mostly in Santa Monica, either on the 3rd street Promenade or along the Santa Monica Pier playing her effervescent songs and selling her three albums. But don’t mistake that she’s only that cheerful personality. She’s a hardcore musician who hustles so hard that she will chase down someone who tries to take money from her tip jar. She began playing the 3rd Promenade eight years ago and a year later quit her waitressing job and started to play full-time. She still, after seven years, sees busking in Santa Monica as this fun thing she gets paid for. Although, lugging her equipment and finding a spot to play can make it feel like work, she says, “once I get playing, it’s just fun.”


clare means
If you’re unable to get to the Westside you can find her Periscoping her performances, which regularly go over two hours. She does this by playing almost exclusively her own music and doesn’t pad her set list with covers. Aside from cash she earns, Clare’s hard work has resulted in her being nominated for Best Singer on Periscope and received more followers on Periscope than she has on Facebook in less than half a year. “It’s the coolest way to directly reach new fans.” Clare said, and the evidence is in the followers. Her success shouldn’t be too shocking. She plays in a style that borders the line between comedy and sincere singer song writer and the result is something so good and unique where all too much stuff sounds alike.
It is perhaps her greatest talent to be able to make the sad moments in life not just bearable but handsome. Take “Pins and Needles” a crowd favorite where you can’t help but laugh at a good number of lyrics but the chorus tells of so many relationships where despite knowing that you are only making each other worse you stay together just because it’s familiar.


“Pins and Needles” (Live in Santa Monica)


Or from her first album White Bamboo, the song “Everyone’s Room but Mine” where Clare goes straight blues/folk and tells the story of an orphan who (based on a real friend of Clare’s) passes through the foster care system. Then there is “Guitars and Chocolates,” my personal favorite, which is soothingly beautiful song about someone who is no longer there.
Clare is in the process of working on a new album that she hopes to have out by the end of the year. She will also be traveling to Seattle in April to play with fellow Periscoper Xolie Morra for a benefit concert for autism and at least one other show all while setting up other tour dates. It should be noted again that this all the result of Clare’s tireless hustle. There is no label, no management agency. It’s just the result of a hardworking – and very talented – LA musician.


“Voodoo Doll” Official Music Video)

Featured photo by Justin Higuchi.

Learn more about Clare Means on her website.

Follow Clare Means on Soundcloud.

Follow Clare Means on Twitter and Instagram.

“Like” Clare Means on Facebook.


clare means

Purchase albums by Clare Means on iTunes.

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- who has written 6 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Chris Camargo is a writer living in Los Angeles. He was once a graduate student at CSULA studying Political Theory until leaving with one class unfinished and the comprehensive exam left wanting – the inevitable result of reading too much Nietzsche and Heidegger. He is a founding member of the anarchistic Back to Typewriting movement. His work has appeared in The Altar Collective and was a finalist for Glimmer Train’s New Writers Award in August 2014.

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