Claire Johnston (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the South African singer. For the film theorist, see Claire Johnston.
Claire Johnston
Claire Johnston Mango Groove.jpg
Background information
Born Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, England[1]
Origin Johannesburg, South Africa
Genres Township music, pop music, vocal jazz
Occupation(s) Singer
Labels Sting Music; EMI
Associated acts Mango Groove

Claire Johnston (b. 16 December 1967) is the lead singer of Mango Groove.[2] Although born in the south of England, she has lived in South Africa for most of her life. At the age of ten, she debuted as an actor, dancer, and singer in a Johannesburg production of the musical Annie.[3] At age 17, during her final year of high school, she joined the crossover band Mango Groove,[4] and has come to be recognized as a symbol of the Rainbow Nation. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is married to Mango Groove founder John Leyden.

Despite a busy concert schedule, she completed a degree in English, Philosophy, and Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1988.[citation needed]

After Mango Groove released their fourth studio album in 1995, they did not produce another until 2009's Bang the Drum. The band didn't stop performing together, but they used the recording hiatus to refresh themselves with separate projects.[5][6] It was during this period that Johnston recorded her first solo album, Fearless (Sting Music, 2001). All recording was done at Real World Studios in Bath, and at Sarm West Studios and Olympic Studios in London. The tracks on Fearless were produced by Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and Marius de Vries, respectively.

Sometime in or around 2003, Johnston started recording a benefit album with Jeff Maluleke. The album took three years to complete, and was released in 2006 under the title Starehe: An African Day. While work on Starehe was still progressing, Johnston recorded a second solo album, Africa Blue (EMI, 2004). In 2005, she opened for Belinda Carlisle in a double tour of South Africa.[2] On the tour, she sang Mango Groove hits as well as cover songs from Africa Blue.[7] 2006 saw not only the release of Starehe, but EMI's reissue of Fearless and Africa Blue as a double album called The One and Only.

Johnston was involved in South Africa's 2012 Olympics bid and the 1999 All Africa Games Celebrations. She sang the national anthem at the 1998, 2000, and 2001 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournaments. She has travelled extensively with Mango Groove, performing to sell-out shows in London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Sydney.[2] She regularly performs "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" at Springbok rugby union internationals.[citation needed]

Among her musical influences she lists Ella Fitzgerald and Debbie Harry, as well as Louis Armstrong and the crooners of the mid-19th century.[4]


  1. ^ Concert Review: Mango Groove at the Hammersmith Apollo | Iain Dale Retrieved 2016-10.29.
  2. ^ a b c "Claire Johnston". Who's Who South Africa. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "Claire Johnston". Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Claire Johnston: The Mango Groove star on success, being 17 and having underpants thrown at her". Media Mentors. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Johnston, Claire (29 September 2009). "Mango Groove's Claire Johnston". Eyewitness (Interview). The Witness. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Johnston, Claire (March 2010). "Interview with Mango Groove's Claire Johnston" (Interview). Interview with Galen Schultz. Durban: The Witness. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Muston, Leon (23 August 2005). "Carlisle, Johnston turn back time to get PE fans grooving". The Herald Online. Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]