There’s cruise ship entertainment, and then there’s Disney Cruise Line entertainment. And then there’s Clara Oman – the best of the best of the best. When my dad and I first sailed aboard the newly reimagined Disney Magic in 2014, little did we know that we would discover the phenomenal talent and personality of Clara, who we’ve crossed paths with many times now onboard Disney and also Norwegian Cruise Line. She is a phenomenal performer who puts her wonderfully positive spin and style on piano and vocal covers as well as original pieces.
Just check out this video of her “Clarified” version of “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” our first ever impression of her music, hosted at my Popular Cruising YouTube channel and embedded below to start.
Since first meeting Clara, my family and I have attended her cabaret shows on the Disney Magic and Disney Fantasy and even met up with her briefly for a day visit aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America while docked in Hawaii. We have since become close friends, and my mom and I had the opportunity to chat with her extensively on the first “Star Wars” Day at Sea cruise to bring you a profile of her here, describing her journey as a person and cruise ship entertainer.
And just for the record, even though she loves science fiction, she is not intrinsically a “Star Wars” fan. “I’m becoming one. I’m becoming a believer. I didn’t grow up with it,” she says, but, “I cried like four times in the new [film]…I just related…That’s art. It was whatever it means to you, that’s exactly what it’s designed for.”
As to her start in music, Clara says, “I was singing before I was speaking, so music I consider to be my first language. And I was just fortunate enough that there was a piano in my house that we were renting when I was two-and-a-half, and I just started picking things out that I was hearing around the house. And my parents would sing, and so I was just playing by ear.”
Remarkably, neither of her parents really played piano. She self-taught anyway, and her parents put her in lessons to develop her ear. She has perfect pitch, and while listening to the music playing in the background, says, “like I know what these notes are just by hearing them. So, I developed that. And then I also learned to read music, but I don’t read music. Even though I learned, I don’t. It’s just not my way of learning.”
Instead, she now simply listens to music to add more to her repertoire – which she estimates includes around 400 songs, played from memory, in high rotation. She adds to the list of numbers she says, “when I hear something that really speaks to me” or it is highly requested, like “Let It Go.” “That one I learned right away,” she adds. “I’m tending to gravitate currently towards just more positive music. It makes me feel good to sing it.”
Earlier on, her first foray into performing was in a nondenominational Christian church and school, where her dad was a Bible teacher and principal, playing for chapel and singing harmonies with him since she was eight. Later in life, she admits she went off the deep end, s
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