Claudette Evans is now a music teacher by profession, having spent many her formative years singing and playing guitar both as a solo singer/songwriter before becoming a full-time musician and gaining a wealth of experience as singer/guitarist in a Bournemouth based three piece ‘The Chas Evans Sound’ touring local Clubs and Hotels performing covers for dancing and listening all along the South Coast and beyond.
Upon moving to Bournemouth Claudette, along with Chas Evans, a professional drummer and percussionist, formed Studio 95 which, strangely enough got its name from its location at 95, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth and it soon gained a reputation of excellence for its tuition services and it soon expanded, due to Claudette’s passion for song writing to include recording facilities.
Freedom Fighter live in Worthing
Here’s ‘Rockstar’ taken from Freedom Fighter’s first Album, with lyrics as relevant today as when recorded in 1982.
The Bournemouth location had its limitations and it was not long before Claudette purchased a property to include a purpose built Studio in Wolverton Road, Boscombe with separate tuition and recording studios and in the late 80’s organised ‘Band Bash’ a Talent Show for new and exciting local groups.
At the especially adapted premises in Boscombe the Studio grew from strength to strength becoming a hub for new, up and coming Bands with Claudette keeping abreast with the changing technology of the recording industry, investing in new equipment, sequencers, samplers and programmable drum machines as well as going to 8 track 1/2″ audio tape recording.
Moving headlong into the new technology and a chance meeting led to partnership with Anthony Davidson, a Musical Director and Arranger from Jersey, they produced Theatre tapes for Song and Dance Productions of Jersey for a Follies Show at the newly opened BIC. They were invited to do another Show the following year and then the Show moved to the Pier Theatre for a Season with similar Shows running at Swansons in St Helier, Jersey. This is an edited version of the Opening medley from ‘Les Follies’.
These Shows were very popular, so Claudette and Tony formed STAR Services to provide custom made backing tracks for Cabaret Acts as well as arranging and recording original music for songwriters and writing and arranging music for lyricists.
In the late ’80 the pair were asked to perform live for the southern heats of a National Talent Show, ‘Star Trail’. This brought many new challenges with Tony on Keyboards and Claudette on Drums and accompanying a mixed variety of Acts including Comedians, Vocalists, Instrumentalists and Speciality Acts of all ages and genres, touring the Show along the South Coast.
As recording moved into digital and home recording became more of an option, Claudette decided to downsize and relocated to Westbourne and move into digital recording to specialize in tuition, recording and editing. This also saw her return to live performing firstly in a duo ‘Back to Back’ with Robert Hockham on keyboards before returning to her roots as a solo entertainer playing keyboards and singing. One of these ‘gigs’ was at the Midland Hotel, a leading coaching Hotel in Bournemouth and in 1992 she was asked to take over the job of Director of Entertainment and for 10 years Claudette was responsible for organising the entertainment programme, bookings Acts and writing and producing three Shows a week. One of the most popular acts was La Belle Sophisticate aka Simon Phillips, who had to perform many quick changes from Dame to Man in the Christmas Pantomimes assisted by Marion James and Dave Edwards. Another popular duo with their Rock’n’Roll Show was Mike Isaacs and Samantha Ryan. During her time at the Midland Hotel, Claudette helped and encouraged young singers and dancers to develop their skills through live performance. Claudette also developed her comedy skills which involved playing the Musical Saw, a real crowd pleaser.
Jason Mills was performing a ‘Rat Pack’ Tribute Act at the Midland Hotel and with Claudette’s help appeared on Stars in Their Eyes as Frank Sinatra and this resulted in his being offered a Summer Season in Jersey. This is Jason singing ‘My Kind of Town’ a tribute to Frank SInatra.
Many of Claudette’s past students have gone on to enjoy success in the music industry. One of her ex-guitar students has a MA in Sound Technology and another is a Professor of Music at Southampton University and many past vocal students have gone on to work in Chart topping Bands, the West End, Cruise Liners and the like.
Claudette has numerous hobbies aside from a love of all kinds of music including photography, drawing, painting, cycling and enjoying most anything to do with nature.
In 2009 Claudette was invited to audition in London with Busby for Britian’s Got Talent and in January 2010 travelled to Cardiff to appear on stage in front of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan and a capacity audience at the Millennium Centre.
In March 2012 Claudette qualified as a Ttouch Practitioner P1 (Companion Animal Behaviourist) and the techniques learnt are including in many of her writings.
Fiona McKinley is a local singer was a frequent visitor to the Westbourne Studio for Claudette’s expertise in key changing and editing backing tracks along with Gary Wilson,a local tenor and Simon Phillips,a Cabaret Singer to name a few.
Others who recorded their demos at Claudette’s Studio included Nigel Waite and Mischa Weston-Green, both of whom are accomplished guitarist/vocalists.
Claudette has since retired from teaching, moving to South Wales to concentrate on her writings, artwork and recording her own songs.