Monthly Artist Feature (September 2020) – Gabrielle Clarke

Artist’s Name: Gabrielle Clarke

Name of Brand: Gabrielle Clarke ; Tukutu Designs

Artist’s Age: 22

Artform: Music (Singing, Flute, Violin); Craft (making earrings)

Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?

I play music because I always find a way to express myself through it. I love the feeling. I also love sharing music by playing with other musicians, and by playing for a happy audience. I realized that I had a passion for it from the very beginning. It felt so good to produce something that could make both myself and others feel good.

What is your educational background?

BSc. Psychology with a Minor in Criminology. ATCL Flute (which is like an associate’s degree). I also did some violin and theory exams with the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music.

What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?

At times, it got hard to balance schoolwork with my performances, practicing, and with my earring business.

Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?

Oh yes

How did you initially react to those people and how do you act towards them now?

I made sure that I did what they said I couldn’t do. I do the same today.

How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?

I play what I feel, and I feel what I play. When I am overwhelmed with feelings, my music has its best sound.

What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your art form has the power to benefit society?

The artist has the role of entertaining, yes, but also of speaking the truth in a creative way. We have the ability to communicate things that are relatable. Musicians do this through the universal language of music.

My artform (music) has the power to unite persons of different races, socio-economic backgrounds, and religions.

Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?

I did a performance for a function held by Alliance Française de la Jamaïque, where I sang a song called “Je Suis Malade”. This one resonates the most with me because I felt an overwhelming connection to this song while singing it – one that up to this day I can’t explain. The audience also seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Where do you see yourself going?

As far as I can.

By what terms do you measure success or perfection? When do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?

I believe that you are successful as an artist when you are able to communicate positive messages to your audience, and to other artists.

I do not believe in “perfection” as an artist. There is always room for improvement, and there is always something new to learn.

I feel like my work is finished and ready to be heard by others once I am able to feel my way through it and not think my way through it.

The word “Ubuntu” means “I am because we are”; how have you seen that reflected in your own life?

This reminds me of the importance of community. I am where I am because of hard work, yes, but I also am where I am because of shared experiences with other talented musicians from this country. We learn together, we mess up together, we discover together, we make music together.

How has another artist or creative supported you to pursue your passion?

Most of the creatives I come into contact with are very supportive of me. I must, however, mention someone who taught me in high school, and who now has become my friend. Her name is Keturah Gray, and she pushed me to learn music I thought was difficult at the time, and she encouraged me to sit the exams. She made me realize that I can tackle anything that looks challenging and that I can do well.

What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?

Appreciate your sound. Work on your own sound. Do not try to be like someone else.

Lastly, have fun, and do not hesitate to share with others.

“I feel like my work is finished and ready to be heard by others once I am able to feel my way through it and not think my way through it.”

~ Gabrielle Clarke