My name is Clara Pople and when I first wrote the hook to this song “I just need you to stay here with me”, I was thinking about all the people I had lost and the potential I had to lose someone else. With loss comes a huge sense of questioning about why it is we love so hard.
I have spent the past few years twisting with confusion around the sacrifices a human and more importantly a woman, has to make in order to gain such huge opportunities, such as love. “Last Dance” glides you through a tale of loss, dancing through the memories of love one last time – “let’s dance through our years once more”.
I was driving back from Brighton one eve, my cousin and I had just been to see Pip Millett at Concorde 2 and she mentions to me that she has found some lumps in her breast. Instant reaction: sheer panic. Secondary reaction: only in a woman could this happen. Not just lumps in a breast but lumps in such a symbolic female characteristic that defines so many important things; nurture, matriarchy, womanhood and most of all love.
In relation to my instant reaction (sheer panic), this song represents the desperation one can feel for any loved one in your life. This could be a lover, a family member, a friend. The image of a breaking relationship of a man and a woman is written to a waltz tempo.
I thought that this traditional dance is a great way to symbolise the power of a duo/combined love. But it also demonstrates the fickleness of dual strength – one can’t live without the other. A waltz is nothing with one person dancing, it can only exist with two people – “I just need you to stay here with me”.
In relation to my secondary reaction (only in a woman could this happen), the narrative that the woman has a greater sense of loss than the man is used. This is not a slander towards men but rather a lament to the struggles of being a woman. With so much love to give, for example to the love of a child I would argue that women have more to lose. (They hold more of a precious bond with children as it is they who physically nurture the child.)
One of the beautiful female role models in my life is my mother who sometimes helps me to write my lyrics. Me and her tend to write a lot of our lyrical narratives from a woman’s point of view. We do not hate men and do not wish to form a narrative of one sex being better than the other. However we do wish to give any female voice a place of solidarity in the pain that we do suffer.
Looping has been my main medium for writing and creating as I cannot play an instrument. My voice and my ears are my only means of accompanying myself. My producer and I added looped elements to this track, the main loop being the choir we made using only my voice.
In order to create a choir of different voices, I sang each part of the 4-part harmony in a different accent. There was the Welsh ‘aah’, the Liverpudlian ‘aah’, the cockney ‘aah’, the nasal ‘aah’ – a chorus of regional Clara’s!
Choirs have always been a part of my life, gospel and classical, and looping helps me to replicate group singing. One day I will have my own choir singing with me but in the meantime I have to use my own voice as company.
Last Dance is a female text. It’s a song for all women who inevitably feel that sense of loss. Dance together through the pain and know that you’re not alone.
Listen to “Last Dance” below and stream it everywhere else here.