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CLARA-NOVA Performance Photo.jpg
Live performance in Pasadena, California
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres indie rock, baroque pop, electronic
Years active 2007-present
Labels AWAL
Associated acts Sydney Wayser, Timberwolf, Ali Barter

Sydney Wayser (born October 7, 1986), known professionally as CLARA-NOVA,[1] is a French-American electronic indie pop artist based in Los Angeles. She is a guitarist, keyboard player and singer who has released 3 albums and 1 EP with another EP set for 2018.


Early life and recordings[edit]

Sydney Wayser was born in Los Angeles, but spent summers in Paris with her French musician-filmmaker father, Jacques Wayser. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts then divided her time between New York, New York and Los Angeles, California[2] making her own music that was influenced by Jeff Buckley, Serge Gainsbourg, Rufus Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III and Leonard Cohen, as well as women like Feist and Beyonce.[3]

When Wayser released her debut album, Silent Parade in 2008, NPR cited "her unabashed love for gloomy orchestrations and waltz rhythms. There’s the tinkling glockenspiel, a lone oboe, accordion and creaking string arrangements, with Wayser’s piano work steering the ship. It’s an appropriate backdrop for her brooding meditations on misery and heartache, all set in a world inhabited by lurking strangers and ghosts of the past."[4]

In 2009, Wayser’s album The Colorful was released,[1] and three years later came Bell Choir Coast. The latter album was produced by Dan Molad from Lucius and mixed by Shawn Everett.[5]

From that album, the song "Dream It Up" was used as the soundtrack for Billabong’s 2012 Summer Swim video.[6]

After Hurricane Sandy hit New York in October 2012, Wayser’s Brooklyn apartment was flooded. As a result, she moved back to Los Angeles where she created a new recording and performing persona called CLARA-NOVA which the LA Weekly noted "represents the evolution of Wayser, lyrically and musically. She's ditching the acoustic guitar for a standing keyboard and tambourine backed by a full band."[7]

As CLARA-NOVA, Wayser debuted live in January 2014 at the Sundance Film Festival,[3] and that March appeared on NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly to support Bell Choir Coast.[8]

On 2014, her work earned CLARA-NOVA the ASCAP Abe Olman Scholarship[2] and that same year she was signed to a major label only to see that deal end with the label taking her masters. As a result, Wayser began rerecording that music.[9]

CLARA-NOVA performed at the 2016 edition of SXSW.[10]

Wayser spent 2017 singing backup for Lorde as well as working with producer Shawn Everett (Weezer,[7] Alabama Shakes, John Legend, Lucius) on a new CLARA-NOVA EP called The Iron Age set for release on March 2, 2018 on Kobalt Music Recordings. "The Illusionist" single from the EP was released September 29, 2017.[11]

Trailer music[edit]

As CLARA-NOVA, Wayser’s version of the Simple Minds’ ballad "Belfast Child" was used in the trailer for Ridley Scott’s biblical film "Exodus: Gods and Kings" in 2014.[12] A year later, "Dear God," an XTC song covered by the band Lawless featuring Wayser on vocals was featured in a trailer for the Academy Award-winning film, "Spotlight."[13] That same song version provided the music for Outlander's season 2 trailer in 2016.[14]

The trailer for 2017’s Netflix film, Icarus, featured Wayser’s cover of the Cake song, "Going the Distance"[citation needed]

Song placements in TV shows[edit]

During her career span, Wayser has had her songs featured in a number of television shows highlighting scenes. From her Bell Choir Coast album, four songs were used in Shameless including "Dirty Work",[15] "Geographer",[16] "Potions" and “Wake Up”.[17] Grey’s Anatomy contained CLARA-NOVA’s cover of Hall and Oates’ "Maneater" in an episode.[18]

Song placements in advertising[edit]

As Sydney Wayser and CLARA-NOVA, the artist's songs have been used in national advertising spots for companies such as Madewell, Victoria's Secret, Old Navy, Billabong, Whole Foods and others.[11]



  • Silent Parade 2008
  • The Colorful 2009
  • Bell Choir Coast 2012
  • The Iron Age EP 2018

Guest appearances[edit]

  • M83 "Go!", "Bibi The Dog", "For the Kids", "Laser Gun", "Tension" Junk 2016[19]
  • Ali Barter "Light Them On Fire" A Suitable Girl 2017[20]
  • Timberwolf "Íkaros" 2017[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Gutch Jr, Frank (October 20, 2016). "Sydney Wayser – The Colorful". No Depression. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "CLARA-NOVA". Sundance Do LA. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Sundel, Jenny (February 4, 2014). "Sydney Wayser Living La Vie Bohème in Laurel Canyon". WWD. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Hilton, Robin (August 20, 2008). "Sydney Wayser: 'Papa Don't Worry'". NPR. Retrieved 20 September 2017. 
  5. ^ "Sydney Wayser – Bell Choir Coast". Discogs. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 
  6. ^ Ortved, John (April 13, 2012). "Sydney Wayser: Rainbows & Berets". Elle Magazine. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Erwin, Amanda (March 20, 2014). "Sydney Wayser's Fiery New Persona". LA Weekly. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Last Call With Carson Daly". NBC. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "CLARA-NOVA". Indievidualist. February 14, 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "CLARA-NOVA". SXSW. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "Escondido Yay Blynn Clara-Nova". Troubadour. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  12. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (October 17, 2014). "Movie Trailers: What's That Song?". Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  13. ^ "Spotlight (2015)". IMDB. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  14. ^ Verzak, Connie. "Outlander "Vive les Frasers" promo: Connie Verzak takes a closer look at the new Season 2 trailer". Scotland Now Daily Record. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Shameless (TV) // Dirty Work (Sydney Wayser)". Songs Pub 1. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Shameless (TV) // Geographer (Sydney Wayser)". Songs Pub2. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Shameless (TV) // (Sydney Wayser) (Oslo) (Middle Distance". Songs Pub 3. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "CLARA-NOVA Featured in Grey's Anatomy". Songs Pub 4. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "M83 Junk". Allmusic. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  20. ^ Wilson, Zanda (February 7, 2017). "Ali Barter Announces Debut Album, Unveils New Single, "Cigarette"". Music Feeds. Retrieved 22 September 2017. 

External links[edit]