Although he chose his religion over accolades, Alex Clare was ultimately rewarded for his faith.
Making it in the music industry requires an incredible amount of determination and sacrifice, as well as talent, of course. However, for one up-and-coming singer and songwriter, Alex Clare, sacrificing his faith was just not on option.
Over a decade ago, Clare’s record label tried to accommodate his absence from gigs due to the requirements of the Sabbath, or his need to celebrate Passover. The singer shared that during this period the label was “very tolerant” with him.
As his career evolved, Clare had to pull out of exciting opportunities, such as touring with the now-superstar Adele, and taking part in a BBC radio concert. His record label told the singer that they felt his faith was taking precedence over his career, and in the end he was dropped from the label after one album.
The 36-year-old, who turned to Orthodox Judaism in his 20s, maintained: “I really was focused on my career, but personal lifestyle choices, whatever they are, haven’t always necessarily been so tolerated. I’m not unique — historically this has been a running theme, not just for Jewish people but anyone who makes commitments elsewhere.”
He went on to explain that when he initially signed up with the record label he had explained the importance of his faith, “but they didn’t quite understand how serious the rules of keeping the Sabbath [resting from Friday sunset until Saturday sunset] are. And for some reason every piece of promo that came in was seeming to fall on a Friday night or Saturday morning, and I was turning down opportunity after opportunity.”
Despite being left without a label, in 2012 Clare managed to have an impressive number 4 hit in the British charts with his song, Too Close, that was nominated for the renowned Brit Awards in 2013. In an interesting twist, it was Adele who actually won the category with the hit Skyfall.
“We have a saying in Hebrew called Gam Zu L’Tovah, which means ‘This too is good’. We say that when something goes really badly wrong. It’s like the most crazy statement to have enough faith and say, ‘This right now is a really bad situation but ultimately God is good and life is good and this is for a greater good’ — whatever that might be.”
And he was right, although he’d been dropped by his label, his own following hit turned out to be so successful that he was offered a second record deal that was more lucrative. He really did have to keep the faith!
Now, a decade later, the record label has reached out to apologize to Clare. “What was said to him 10 years ago was wrong and does not in any way represent our views or policies,” they shared with the BBC.
Hopefully, this apology is reflective of a more understanding industry, as after taking a break from his music career “to focus on his spirituality,” and study Judaism in more depth — as well as welcoming three children with his wife — Clare is back with his guitar in hand.
And in a funny set of circumstances, the release of his new single Why Don’t Ya coincides with the. Hopefully, however, Clare’s return will not be cut short by the demands of the industry on his faith, as the singer believes entertaining others with his music is “fulfilling my life mission.”
If you’d like to read the complete report that talks in more detail of Clare’s music, click on the link to the BBC here.