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Oldbury unsigned musician Clair Rogoff on her busy schedule

By Leigh Sanders | Birmingham entertainment | Published:

It must be great to be doing something you really love with the closest person to you in the world.

That is the position Clair Rogoff finds herself in - the Oldbury-based vocalist who has plenty of experience to her name.

For Clair, who tells us she is 'very young with a mature head', is one half of the harmonious duo Clearrose with her twin sister. The name is an amalgamation of their names - Clair and Rose.

"We've actually got very similar-sounding voices and our parents get confused all the time when we ring," Clair laughs. "We just seem to naturally harmonise our voices a lot and sing together.

"There was one time when we were kids when our dad got up in the middle of the night and he heard noise from our room. So he came to see what it was and we were in our bunk beds singing in harmony in our sleep.

"It must be a twin thing," she adds when we suggest that must have been slightly creepy for their father.

"It came out of doing events as youngsters. We sang in choirs and different groups and we did a cappella too. We liked changing lyrics to famous songs by people like Alicia Keys and singing our own versions. It was quite exciting as kids."

Clair still spends a lot of time devoted to music. She grew up in Birmingham, attending the now closed St George's School, and discovered her love of the art at a young age. These days, she teaches singing in schools as well as voice coaching outside of classrooms.

She also helps to run choirs and has a new project on the horizon in her home city she would love people to get involved with.

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"It's called the Gas Street Church Choir, it's a Christmas choir really," she adds. Those interested can head to the church's website for details on how to sign up.

On top of all that, she also performs with other musicians in the area, which is how we first got in touch.

In June, previous The Ticket Unsigned page star Elizabeth Fields released her debut record 100,000 Welcomes, on which Clair provided backing vocals.

"We met in various work roles over the years," says Clair. "She is a fellow music teacher so we had that love of music in common straight away. We've also appeared in practice rooms next to each other all over the place.

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"We're now great friends, we've known each other probably for five or six years now. I also sang backing vocals at the album launch at Himley Cricket Club."

And her ability to adapt and love for working with others is perhaps showcased best in her latest project. Last Friday at the Gas Street Church it was the launch of her second Central Streets Of Soul collective record.

Clair put out the message far and wide for people to send in their best urban music that had 'soulful vibes with a gospel message'.

The result was this - CSOS Vol.2 – 11 tracks of modern, professional-sounding material from both local artists and those further afield.

"The first album was more urban, it was 10 years ago now," Clair adds. "There were lots of niche urban genres that were current at that time. We also received loads of soulful tracks that just didn't fit. I knew I wanted to do a second record to give those soul tracks a place but the timing wasn't right until now.

"It was very much my baby on the backburner, then I literally woke up one day - my mum's birthday actually - and thought 'okay, it's now'.

"It's like those little green acorns. I planted one under the ground and it grew into this. I came across a load of new artists who got me very excited. Some were very well versed at releasing music and some were not. It was a full two years of work."

It also enabled Clearrose to get one of their songs on the record called Love Never Fails, and the part played by her twin was vital to Clair.

"Rose had a massive influence on the construction of the song. Her influence is important to me and getting right was absolutely essential.

"It was an amazing launch," she adds. "The artists blew me away."

Another big part of Clair's life is religion, as heard in the themes of the tracks of CSOS Vol.2.

"I guess it influences everything for me," she adds. "I know it sounds cheesy but it's a relationship with God. He helps me in being the best version of myself I can possibly be, it's who I am. It's what motivates and inspires me."

She also likes to play others' music too via the airwaves. Clair used to co-present radio show Urban Café on Radio Plus in Coventry. She is still heavily involved with the project.

"You can go online to radioplus.org.uk and there's a 'Listen Again' section where you can go back and listen to the shows."

And Clair will be performing at OIKOS Café in Erdington on September 27 alongside fellow CSOS artists Lucy Rose Garnish and Courtney Copeland.

"We'll be performing our CSOS material and maybe some others too. They'll be interviewing us as well so hopefully we might see some new people down there."

Head to www.centralstreetsofsoul.com for more on the artists involved and to see videos of the record coming together. There will also be footage from last Friday's launch event in the near future on YouTube. Physical copies can be bought at store.cdbaby.com/cd/519. The project can also be found on Instagram @central_streets_of_soul and Facebook @CentralStreetsofSoul.

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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