Having received acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for previous singles, ‘Dreaming (Where Did You Go?)’ and ‘Words’, Margate-based multi-instrumentalist Claire Pitt Wigmore has charmed our ears with her soulful, impassioned energy and sparkling, blues-infused musicality.
Having recently released gritty, yet instantly catchy, riff-filled single ‘Shades Of Green‘, we caught up with Claire to talk about what inspires her, her experience as a female artist in the music industry, and more. Have a read!
Hi Claire! Welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi Mari! Thanks so much for interviewing me. I certainly can! I’m a multi-instrumentalist from Margate, Kent. I predominately perform with my electric guitar, loop pedal and vocals. I create music ranging from indie, trip-hop and blues but that’s my own interpretation. I’ve always been a huge lead guitar blues fan.
Are you able to tell us a bit about how and why you initially started creating music?
I always wanted to play the guitar. Electric guitar to be exact. I became fascinated by “shreddy” guitar solos from an early age and thought “if they can do that, why can’t I?” It was around about the time ‘Sk8er Boi’ by Avril Lavigne became a hit that I became inspired, but I didn’t start learning the guitar until I was about ten, which was six or seven years after this musical awakening. I played in a wide range of cover bands and original bands before venturing off as a solo artist. I played in indie bands, rap-rock bands, acoustic duos. All of which stood me in good stead as a performer. But it wasn’t until I started creating my own music that my musical abilities really started coming to life. I bought myself a loop pedal. It was only to track chord progressions and practise my improvisation skills, but I soon started creating original instrumental pieces with it. From there, I managed to create a unique blend of soulful chord progressions and bluesy guitar solos that would later become fully composed pieces of mine.
I love your impassioned, shimmering sounds, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
Thank you! That’s very kind of you! I’ve been influenced by a number of genres and sounds over the years. It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific influence but I’ve definitely honed in on the genre of blues, regarding my guitar playing. David Gilmour from Pink Floyd has been a big influence of mine – that warm, psychedelic tone of his has always been a favourite of mine. I’ve also been influenced by guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix. But speaking from a general musical point of view, I’ve gravitated towards artists like Massive Attack, Air, Portishead, Tash Sultana, Deftones. The list could go on really!
You’ve recently released your latest single ‘Shades Of Green’. Are you able to tell us a bit about the single? Are there any particular themes running throughout it?
‘Shades of Green’ seems to be everyone’s new favourite at the moment. I think because I’ve branched out as an artist and started exploring different writing styles and genres, and it’s a little more upbeat than my previous releases. The track talks about the image that’s on the single artwork actually: it’s a photograph of me aged three wearing a lilac/mauve party dress and I just remember thinking “I hate this dress”. Which is also really sad because my mum must have thought it looked really sweet and pretty! I probably just wanted to wear something a little more “tomboyish” and I guess there was a mixture of emotions running riot at the time. It’s probably one of the first songs I’ve written where I’ve opened up about childhood emotions; I’ve tended to write in a rather cryptic way in the past to avoid people actually knowing what was going on in my head.
How do you feel the industry is for new artists at the moment? And do you feel much has changed over the last few years in its treatment of female and queer/LGBTQ+ artists?
It’s interesting you should ask this question actually because I recently wrote a blog, that was published by a local music charity, about my experiences as a female instrumentalist. I hadn’t really spoken up about the injustices I’d faced in a male dominated industry before, but I’m so glad I did. Especially being a “female guitarist”, which isn’t as common as a “male guitarist”, I felt like an outsider and unfortunately encountered a number of sexist and dismissive remarks. I do feel like things are changing though which is really positive. There are a number of queer/LGBTQ+ artists and bands on the scene at the moment and that’s also something that’s been embraced in my local music scene.
You’re based in Margate – how is the music scene there? Do you feel that the live music community there has fully recovered since the pandemic?
Margate really is the place to be now, isn’t it? I remember growing up, Margate was just another seaside ghost town but in the last five to ten years there’s been a huge change, especially in the creative scene. New and exciting venues such as Elsewhere have really turned things around and regenerated the music scene by not only putting on up and coming artists but welcoming local talent to its stage. Since the pandemic, I’ve actually been able to perform as a solo artist more than before. I think people were in desperate need of a music scene after nearly eighteen months of nothing. You never really appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone, I think is a very fitting phrase!
And what can fans expect from a Claire Pitt Wigmore live show?
A lot of bluesy, psychedelic guitar solos, ambient vocals and an incredible amount of loop pedal use. The Boss RC-30 loop pedal has become a staple for every show.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists or bands you’re loving right now that you’d recommend we check out?
Good question! I supported a Northampton based band at Ramsgate Music Hall, back in July 2021, called Sarpa Salpa. Think ’80s disco/funk, mixed in with pop and a bit of alternative rock. I was very impressed.
What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
This is an interesting one because I’ve been quite unwell recently and have been diagnosed with a lymphoma that I’ll be starting treatment for very soon. A dark ending to this interview, but it is treatable! I’m still writing and releasing music and gigging as much as I can. I haven’t been able to gig as much as I hoped this year, but I’m doing as much as I can. I’m in the process of writing my second EP, that should be out later this year. It discusses my bout of ill health and the end of my relationship, that happened not long after I became ill at the beginning of the year. I’ve put my heart and soul into this body of work, so expect to get a real insight into my life.
Massive thanks to Claire for answering our questions!
‘Shades Of Green’, the latest single from Claire Pitt Wigmore, is out now:
Photo Credit: Nigel Martin Photography