Clare Bowen Returns to Musical Roots

Celebrity Q&A, Featured Article
on July 28, 2013

Does the actress who plays Scarlett on “Nashville” have country roots? She seems like a natural.
—Sarah Friend, Louisville, Ky.

Well, actress Clare Bowen WAS born and raised in the South…of Australia! She hadn’t been in the U.S. long before landing the role of Scarlett on “Nashville,” but her music roots do go back to her childhood.

“My upbringing was always full of music,” she says. “My parents encouraged my brother and I to do it and it made us happy. There was always music in our house, from Elvis to the Gypsy Kings to Paul Simon to Queen, and a lot of Australian folk and Celtic music.”

A gifted singer, Bowen, 24, has performed in several music theatre productions. Most recently, she starred in the lead role of Wendla in the rock musical “Spring Awakening,” under the co-artistic direction of Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton at the Sydney Theatre Company.

“Cate was backstage with us one evening, and she said, ‘Have you ever thought about going to the States?’” Bowen recalls. “I thought, ‘That’s scary.’ But I did. I came over. I came out for a pilot season, expecting to be here for maybe 2½ months and see what happened, and then I was given this beautiful script.”

Now living in Nashville, which is where the hit ABC TV series films, Bowen has taken to the Music City like a duck to water.

“Southern hospitality is something to be rivaled,” she says. “It’s just beautiful. We’ve been so welcomed. [My co-star] Sam [Palladio, who plays Gunnar] was saying the place has this magic onto itself. You get swept up into it and you can’t help writing music. I was a bit like Scarlett, sort of a closet writer. Sam and I sat down and we wrote a few things, actually, when we first met. Nashville just sort of brings something out in you.”