A couple brought together by music

BOWEN * YOUNG is bringing coming to Geelong's Barwon Club on Friday, January 12. (Supplied)

Australian Clare Bowen and American Brandon Young are bringing BOWEN * YOUNG to Geelong’s Barwon Club on Friday, January 12. Jena Carr speaks with the husband-and-wife duo in the lead-up to their show and what brought them together.

Clare Bowen had a rough start in life when, at age four, her parents were told she had two weeks to live.

She was living just north of Wollongong when doctors found a tumour the size of a football and diagnosed her with end-stage nephroblastoma, a cancer of the kidneys.

The next three years were spent in and out of Sydney hospitals, but Clare was able to beat the cancer, with the Australian girl going on to pursue an acting and music career in her adulthood.

“There’s just no time. If you want to do your dreams, you must do them now,” she said.

“I think everyone’s lives are informed by their childhood to some extent, and mine is just a very early reckoning with mortality and knowing that there’s no time to waste.”

Clare decided to move to America after being encouraged by Cate Blanchett to pursue a career in acting, which led to her scoring the role of Scarlett on the hit television show Nashville.

“I was doing Spring Awakening at Sydney Theatre Company, and Cate was involved in the show as the artistic director when she pulled me aside and suggested I go to the states,” she said.

“I wasn’t in Los Angeles very long before this script came up for Nashville, and I read it and fell in love with the character of Scarlett O’Connor.

“I thought that I was brand new. I’ve just gotten my managers, and I’ve done one film in the United States, and this is going to go to somebody who’s well known, but I’ll give it a go, so I did.

“It changed my life within 35 hours, and my agent called me and told me I was moving to Nashville.

“I thought that any minute now they’re going to realise that I have no idea what I’m doing, which I still don’t, but it seems to be working out.”

Her role in Nashville ultimately led Clare to meet her now husband, Brandon Young, while performing at the Nashville Bridgestone Arena.

“The person I was meant to be singing with that night bailed and I had to sing songs from the television show, which were mostly duets and peppered in with my own stuff,” she said.

“Some people I knew said, ‘Don’t worry, we have a friend who is an amazing singer, and we want you to meet him and write with him.’

“Many people, if they get that little notice to sing at such a big venue with a sold-out crowd, would have liked some time to prepare.

“But he was like, ‘Okay, I’ll give it a red-hot go’, and he managed to pull it off. He walked up on stage with me and blew everyone away.

“I instantly wanted to be his friend, so we started writing together and we fell in love writing our first song together months later.”

Brandon was touring with John Hiatt when he first met Clare. He spent a decade performing with the music legend as a percussionist and background vocalist before becoming one-third of The John Hiatt Trio.

“There was always this creative itch that I wanted to scratch, and I wasn’t sure exactly if that was going to be through theatre, acting or music,” he said.

“When I moved to Nashville, I had never written a song before and didn’t even know how to play guitar. It was one of those things I wanted to try, and that was almost 24 years ago.

“I was a touring artist, and Claire travelled worldwide, filming different projects and creating her music.

“We both feel like it’s a dream come true. It’s just one of those things where we’ve travelled so much before we met.

“The fact that we found each other, a girl from Australia and a guy from Connecticut meet in Nashville and fall in love, is a miracle in and of itself.”

The couple formed the duo BOWEN * YOUNG shortly after meeting and will be touring Australia in January, making their way to Geelong’s Barwon Club on Friday, January 12.

“We’ve always done full band stuff so to be able to do an acoustic show that is very much like the stories behind the songs in really intimate venues is such an honour,” Clare said.

“Every crowd is different, and having never been to Geelong, I’m just really excited to go and sit with people and tell the stories in a more intimate setting.

“It gives you a bit more time to spend with people and actually be in the space with them, so we’re super excited to have been invited.”

The couple both said that their favourite part about the band was being able to work on the music and tour the world together.

“A lot of people have to leave their person when they’re on tour, so they’ve got the thing that they love doing, and then the person that they love, and those are two separate things,” Clare said.

“We both toured separately before and decided that we hated it because you wake up and you’re really excited about the show, but you can’t roll over and kiss or hug the person that you love.”

“I’ve always loved waking up in a new city, writing songs and singing, but when you get to do that with somebody that you have such a deep connection with, it’s just so fun,” Brandon said.

“We get to take walks in random cities together, and we might write a song at 3am in a hotel room, and it’s just this ever-evolving adventure for me.”

The BOWEN * YOUNG tour’s visit to Geelong comes just days after the release of their newest track, World Brand New, on January 10.

Tickets are available online at bowenyoung.com