A delightful singer-songwriter with a memorable story to tell, Clara Bellino emerged from France to become an important contributor to the American music scene. Her latest CD, This Is Happiness – Hand In Hand, not only features her newest song “This Is Happiness” and a memorable duet with the legendary Bobby Sharp (best known for “Unchain My Heart”) but also two videos and a documentary.
Clara Bellino was born in Paris, France, spent two years in the United States starting when she was five, and grew up in a small village of the French Alps. “I always loved music and wrote lyrics early on. When I was seven, I entered a conservatory, singing in the choir, studying classical piano for ten years and classical guitar for five. I also took a couple of years of jazz piano. Music brought me to the United States. I wanted to perform my own music and in France I felt as if I was stuck. The choices were to become a pop variety artist who had to have a hit in order to get on television, or to play classical or jazz. I felt that there were a lot more options to grow in music in the U.S.”
Clara was accepted into the Berklee School of Music when she was 16 but her parents felt that she was too young and she had to reluctantly turn down the offer. When she was 17, she moved to California where she started composing music to the lyrics she had written earlier. Clara took music classes at Foothill College, started her first group, and played bass in a reggae band. She gained a great deal of experience performing at a wide assortment of bars and clubs in San Francisco. At her parents’ request, she agreed to work towards a degree in France so she would have something to fall back on. Clara earned an MA in English and languages by spending a year in France and then returning to the U.S., flying back to France just to take the exams. “I felt that it made more sense for me to be on the West Coast playing music than to be attending tedious classes at the University.”