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Forest Finds - a Musical Collaboration with London Producer, Joe Atari

Million Pebble Beach

Poetic and original story songs on piano.

”Forest Finds”, a companion mini-album to “Find Me in the Forest”, streams to all platforms on 22nd March 2024.

Million Pebble Beach is the nom de guerre of Portsmouth's singer-songwriter and pianist, Claire Baker.  

Her songs are whimsical, vividly imagined dream-like stories and journeys  - "Grimm's Fairytales on piano”. Her performances are lively, dreamy and engaging.

Her voice and musical style has been likened to Aldous Harding, Kate Bush, Björk, Regina Spektor, John Grant and Cate Le Bon.

"A unique and talented performer - Portsmouth is lucky to have you" - Promoter (

FOREST FINDS is a six-track mini-album covering the collaboration 

between pianist-songwriter Claire Baker and electronic producer Joe Atari 

between Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024. The original versions can be heard on 

Million Pebble Beach's ten track album "Find Me In The Forest"...

Joe: "When I listened to Claire's songs I was struck by their storytelling

qualities and melodic invention, so I looked for a way to frame these

songs with a wider sonic backdrop that took you deeper into the moods the melody 

suggested... romance, nature, the big wide open. I guess the idea of finding some 

magic, hidden place in a forest is a good analogy.  There's a line in the opening track, 

"Finders Keepers", that says, "...sit beside me on the forest floor" which sums it up well.

"There's escape and romance in these songs, but also some kind of melancholy

running through it too, my favourite kind of contradiction. "Back to the Moon"... 

as children, we look to the moon as some kind of lucky charm, but maybe

as adults, the same moon can represent regret and isolation. "The Astronomer's

Sun" is a romance between a stargazer and a mermaid, set on a beach by a clifftop... 

I mean who else has ever written a song like that? It's so original!

"I also like the fact it's a nature based in a modern, scientific setting. 

We know the moon and the mermaids are just metaphors for something more

relatable, someone we fear or someone we are a bit in love with but can't say it...

"Horses" is one of Claire's pro-animal eulogies, her sister runs a horse nutrition business. 

But it's also about letting go of loved ones one day, so the mountains the horses 

run free on could also be the afterlife, the final escape!

"I've framed these versions with two instrumentals based on Claire's songs, with an 

interval and a finale. I think it works as a half-hour piece, enough time 

to get lost before the lights go up again at the cinema…"


You used to be the front woman for an alt-rock band. How is piano playing whilst singing different? I’m guessing its harder? Or do you feel more grounded, with the instrument as a kind of protection?

Claire: It’s hard to compare - I decided to learn to play piano as an adult and took lessons when our band, Monocle Rose, finished. Learning as an adult is very humbling - I think you forget how incremental learning is - you just have to go step by step and accept you'll be rubbish at first. 

In bands I wrote lyrics and melodies - learning an instrument freed me to accompany myself. 

The first time I got on stage at an open mic with my piano, I was really shaky, it took me by surprise because I didn't really suffer from nerves as a front-woman. Playing solo is lonely and feels exposed  compared with performing in a band, it's still a great buzz!

Many of your songs relate to animals, lost dogs, captive tigers, horses that need to be set free 

onto the mountains. It’s a kind of surprising how few songs there are about animals, without them being cloying or sentimental.  What animals do you feel closest to?

Dogs - I absolutely love dogs and I was obsessed with them as a child - I campaigned long and 

hard for our family dog - a Labrador. Almost all animals in my songs are metaphorical, used to 

create scenes, feelings and landscapes. I hope my music is like experiencing a set of tiny films inside your head, with everyone's film a little  different.  I feel close to all animals - I do envy birds - what it must be to fly!

You write by ear it seems, not theory. Can you improvise or is it all thought out beforehand?

I do - I can read music, but to write I sit and play around at the piano. I'm like a rabbit in headlights 

if I have to jam - I like to practise before I play something in front of people - I'm working on that, ha!

How does working for a space company influence your lyrics?

My work takes me to lots of places which is good as I'm a keen observer of the human race. I would say that the people I meet and stories I encounter through life are my influences. I have written some space stuff into songs - Electric Moons is about constellations of satellites and disparities in wealth - a comment on society. 

Seeing as we’re on a Million Pebble Beach, what are your Desert Island Discs?

I am a terrible "user" of music - I tend to play songs to death and only revisit them years later.  

I'll take Einaudi, for some calm piano music.  Nirvana - Unplugged in New York. I'm not sure what else, perhaps some Paul Simon, he's an incredible songwriter - Graceland takes me straight back to my childhood.

Is it frustrating having to hand over production to others? Would rather it was a band with set roles? Or have you been there, done that? 

It's brilliant - my songs are just piano and vocal, performed live. Working with a producer is wonderful - I feel really lucky that people make time to work with me and I absolutely love hearing the songs as "ReModels" with full production, incredibly fun! 

The album I just released, Find Me in the Forest" is stripped back and acoustic, but a lot of work has gone into creating a seemingly simple sound, from finding a studio with the right equipment and feel,  working with a recording engineer, Tim Greaves, who made me feel relaxed and then Simon Gray, who mixed and mastered to perfection,  with little dabs of instrumentation here and there. 

I like to keep open to new ideas, although I don't co-write the songs (which there seems to be an 

awful lot of); the songs are all mine, the production is up for grabs. I have worked with a few 

producers and everyone has brought something extra to my music.

Are there areas you haven’t tackled in your lyrics that you might in future? Politics, religion,  

relationships…. or have these been done to death?

I already write about these topics, they're hidden the stories, well maybe not religion, but definitely 

politics (Electric Moons) and relationships. Religion, I'll swerve.

Do you feel other Portsmouth artists as allies or rivals?

I see it as a huge musical community and that's really important to me. 

I go out and support other artists and at my album launch, half of the room were musicians and artists. That's really something to feel. On the date of the album launch, with a lot of help, I created a Forest imaginarium in which to welcome an audience to perform the album to, filling the Southsea Sound space with objects, trees, and a soundtrack of birdsong. 

Streaming has given everyone a platform, but at the same time, there’s not enough listeners to go round. If you could, would you switch off the internet and go back to 1990, 80, 70, 60?

It seems impossible for artists like myself to make any sort of return on music through streaming. 

I appreciate people streaming the songs and of course I want them to listen, but there is no way 

I could fund any of it without having a job - it's so important to support live music and grassroots venues by coming to live shows.

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