When I lived in New York City, there were numerous bars and clubs where one could walk in, have a drink and listen to the entertainment. It was a lovely way to unwind and enjoy live entertainment.
Now that void is filled in Pacific Palisades. On select Mondays, one can hear an “angel” sing at The Draycott in Caruso’s Palisades Village. There is no cover charge, and the talented Claire Nordstrom really does have the sweet, beautiful voice of an angel. On Monday December 13, at 6.30 p.m. she will be singing Holiday Classics
On some Mondays, you might hear songs from the Carpenters, Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand. And if you’d like to hear a song, put it in the suggestion box and Nordstrom will add it to her list for her next performance.
“I love taking suggestions from the audience,” she said, noting that she has a set list for each performance. “My long-term goal would be to create a business performing at private and charity events and to continue my residency at The Draycott—and possibly other restaurants in the area.”
Growing up in Pacific Palisades, Nordstrom was a shy child. In an effort to help bring out her personality, her parents enrolled her at the Adderly School in the Highlands, as an after-school activity when she was six.
Because she was timid, she was nervous to sing in front of an audience but was placed in the role of Charlie’s mom in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” singing “Cheer up Charlie.” Her parents videotaped it, and on tape you hear her dad, John, an Emmy-winning professional musician, whisper to his wife Jennifer, “She can really sing.”
“That was the start of my singing career,” Nordstrom told Circling the News, noting it took a few more years at Adderly before she gained the confidence to have a starring role in the school’s productions.
She attended Village School and then Harvard-Westlake, where she played Annie in “Annie,” Olive in the “Putnam County Spelling Bee,” as well as having solos in “Grease,” “Oklahoma” and “Hairspray.”
Nordstrom, continuing to make impressive strides as a performer, was invited to tour with Andrea Boccelli and perform at Madison Square Garden and in Vegas. The Boccelli YouTube video went viral, and she was asked to sing the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks game.
When Nordstrom was 15, her parents gave her a ukulele, which “kickstarted my songwriting. I taught myself how to play it and it was easy to come up with chord progressions.”
The first song she ever wrote was “Yet,” about a girl dreaming about her future love, and it can be found on YouTube, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Spotify.
Nordstrom said that she can write a song in an hour, but sometimes “I write the music and lyrics and then I have to ‘sit on it’ for months or years and then come back to it when I have the tune and words to finish it.”
She majored in music and minored in songwriting at the USC Thornton School of Music, graduating in 2019.
Some of Nordstrom’s songs have been licensed to television shows such as “The Royals” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” and for a few Hallmark Christmas movies. She has recorded vocals for movies, such as “The Princess Switch” on Netflix.
“I even wrote some songs for my brother’s movie, “Old Bloo,” about some teenage boys that form a band,” she said.
Nordstrom’s dad won Outstanding Music Direction and Composition for “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and she was asked about his influence.
“Growing up we listened to the Beatles, Wings, Journey, Queen, The Police and my personal favorite, Keane,” she said, noting that the rockers really influenced the songs she sings.
“My dad even had a band when he was in high school, and they reunited for his 40th birthday. I got to play piano/sing backup and rock alongside his band! That was awesome. Music is always being played in my household and that is all because of my dad.”
She also gives credit to her mom, “who is my biggest supporter and the one that people approach to invite me to sing at gigs (mom-ager, I suppose).”
The family, including Claire’s three siblings Riley, Jack and Will, has lived in Pacific Palisades since 1992.
“When it came to me and my siblings, my parents always gave us the best opportunities to be our most creative selves,” Claire said. “They will never know how much I appreciate them and all their hard work that goes into my performances!”