Friday, February 23, 2018

Camosun alumnus Claire Coupland finds her place in the music industry

December 2, 2015 by Scott Johnston, contributing writer

Folk singer/guitarist Claire Coupland is playing her first headlining show in Victoria this Christmas season, celebrating her new EP, For You.

It’s a homecoming with a Camosun twist: Claire was in the Applied Communication Program (ACP) here at Camosun. She had a revelation while studying at the college that would impact her music career.

“There was definitely a moment,” says Coupland, “where we were broadcasting a live TV show for class and we had to bring in a band. These girls were singing some jazz songs and I was doing the interviewing; I remember thinking, ‘I should be performing and singing, so what am I doing on the other side?’”

Coupland finished her ACP diploma before going to the Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM).

“I thought, ‘Wait a minute; what if I learned all this web design, graphic design, and communication stuff so I can apply it to the business side of what I’m doing?’” she says.

Claire Coupland’s musical journey includes time spent on the grounds of Camosun’s Lansdowne campus (photo provided).

Claire Coupland’s musical journey includes time spent on the grounds of Camosun’s Lansdowne campus (photo provided).

Before Coupland started at VCM she studied musical theory for a summer to be prepared for the entrance test to VCM’s jazz program.

“I didn’t start taking music seriously until 2010, when I joined the Conservatory of Music,” she says. “After a year my teacher was like, ‘Claire, you need to go somewhere else; you need to be somewhere more challenging.’ So I just applied to the one school I had heard great things about.”

Coupland had to make an audition tape for her application to Humber in Toronto. It was nerve-racking, she says; she felt as if she didn’t really know what she was doing, having only been at VCM for a year. She nailed the required arpeggiated chords and scales and her three selected songs, gaining her entrance into the program for 2011.

“The first two years were theory, history, electives, and ear training,” she says. “Year three was really good because you got to put on recitals, which leads to year four, using the recording studio to produce another student and them to produce you.”

It was between her third and fourth year at Humber that she recorded her album Lonely Heart. Coupland was absolutely terrified of songwriting but begged the head of her department to put her in the writing ensemble. It paid off: she’s since received praise from her mentors and teachers, which include music industry notables such as Triumph’s Rik Emmett and producer Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, KISS, Taylor Swift).

“I remember bringing in my first song and being so scared and almost in tears over it,” says Coupland. “We had these practice modules; my song was due the next day and I was sitting crying in a module and then fell asleep. I woke up and was like, ‘Okay, we’ve had a nap, it’s time to finish this song.’ That’s when I wrote ‘Lonely Heart,’ which I named the album after because it was a pivotal moment for me.”

Claire Coupland
8 pm Thursday, December 17
$10 recommended donation, Northern Quarter

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2 Responses to “Camosun alumnus Claire Coupland finds her place in the music industry”
  1. Hilary Coupland says:

    Where do I pick up copies of this article please? (I’m her mum)
    Hilary Coupland

    • gregpratt says:

      Hey, Hilary – Find the paper around town in various coffeeshops, libraries, etc., or on both Camosun campuses and UVic.