“Like Keith Green, but in a skirt, and with a guitar ”
— Jared Haschek - Compliments of Gus
Known for her direct and challenging lyrics and lively, honest performances, Claire Hazzard drives home an urgent call to the evangelical church in the west to reform its world-hugging ways. Pulling no punches, Hazzard exudes energy from stage as she pounds her acoustic guitar like it’s a beat up old Falcon. If you don’t like being challenged and made to feel a little uncomfortable, then really, just don’t listen to Claire Hazzard music. But if you’re up for catchy tunes, close and honest vocals, and a message that just might work its way into your heart, Claire Hazzard could very well be the artist for you.
Claire Hazzard, who grew up fishing, riding bikes and building things in the back shed, generally avoided the musical limelight throughout high school, barely passing music in senior. Hazzard, who never learned to read music, played piano by ear and wrote songs through her teenage years. Right around the time she moved away to study, Hazzard, who was now teaching herself guitar, began noticing things in evangelical church culture that she didn’t think were right. Heavily influenced by the music of Keith Green, her lyrics began to take on a similar tone to his, challenging western evangelical Christians to consider their mediocrity and half-hearted faith practices.
During a drive home from a lecture one night, Hazzard heard the call to sing as she listened to the Keith Green song, Asleep In The Light. Within weeks, a serendipitous meeting with a small indie-music distribution group in Brisbane (CWMedia) saw Claire Hazzard signed and on her way to recording her first album, The Goodness and Severity (1997). From that point on, gigs began to roll out regularly for the young artist, who was quickly becoming known for her direct and challenging lyrics and lively, honest performances. But it was a move to Melbourne which proved to be the pivotal point in the Claire Hazzard journey.
Meeting Paul Colman, who took on a mentor role, became the catalyst for Hazzard’s growing presence within Australian Christian Music, and because Paul was transitioning away from his solo performances and into his newly formed Trio, he regularly panned off his solo gigs to Hazzard, giving her access to audiences around the country. During 2001 Claire toured Australia as support act for the Paul Colman Trio, and during that time, two of Claire's songs from her self-titled EP, reached number one on The Rock Across Australia Charts. Live recordings from this tour culminated in the release of a yet another album, Live and Transparent. Hazzard continued to write and record, and soon another album ensued (Whatever It Takes).
A move back to Queensland and growing family life placed music on the back-burner for a season, but even during this time, Hazzard continued to write songs, which culminated in the release of a fifth album in 2008, The Spectacular Thing. Significant family difficulties, including her brother's battle with cancer, placed music on the shelf once again, and so in 2014, almost as a farewell to the past, Hazzard consolidated the best of her music and albums with the release of her Early Years album.
In 2016 Hazzard began work on a new album, this time driving the entire process herself. The piano influence from her teenage years as well as a love for 80s sounds has clearly shaped the direction and sound of her 2018 release, Turning Point, however if you ask her, Hazzard will tell you it’s the lyrics which she considers to be front and centre. Driving home a more urgent call than ever before for the evangelical church in the west to quit its world-hugging, Hazzard has pulled no punches this time around (not that she ever did). If you don’t like being challenged and made to feel a little uncomfortable, then really, just don’t listen to Claire Hazzard music. But if you’re up for catchy tunes, close and honest vocals, and a message that just might work its way into your heart, Claire Hazzard could very well be the artist for you.