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Chesham guitarist's songs inspired by her musical dad
WITH the artist name Diva de la Guitare you could be mistaken for thinking Camilla Mathias is just that- a diva. But the name is very much tongue in cheek and the Chesham woman is taking the world by storm with her music described as cabaret to classical and French-pop to folk.
As well as this she is an actress, an artist and can speak five languages fluently. Camilla was buzzing with excitement when I spoke to her as it was a day before the launch of her album, Entr'acte, in London.
She had returned to the UK from her current base in Zurich, where she lives with her boyfriend, Andreas, for the launch and to visit friends and family in Chesham, where her mum, Margaret lives.
Camilla is a former Newtown, Brushwood and Chesham High School pupil, and left the town when she was 18 to train as an actor at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.
Then later she went to Atelier Raymond-Girard in Paris, also completing a BA Hons. in French and Drama from University of London, Queen Mary College.
Sadly her dad, Theodore, passed away in 2010, aged 77. He lived with Evie, who Camilla called her Belle-mère, which is the French word for stepmother, literally translating as beautiful mother.
She said: "The main reason I have really started focussing on music was rather devastatingly from the death of my dad three years ago.
"He was a very talented musician- pianist and accordionist.
"He was a very keen accordion player and always got the accordion out at any opportunity. He encouraged me with the guitar at a very young age.
"I got a Buckinghamshire County scholarship- I had my music tuition paid for. I was very much supported by Bucks.
"It has always been a part of me.
"When he passed away I found solace in writing music and finding a connection with him.
"He used to always ask me, 'Have you played your guitar?'
"I was focussing more on acting and didn't have time to keep it all up.
"It was really three years ago I started writing songs."
And it was from here that her music career developed.
Camillla said: "For me it gave me an outlet, it sounds contrived, for my grief.
"When you can't sleep or you are feeling anxious or sad- you can put it into some music.
"It is amazing. The best art is created when you are feeling sad. It really is."
Her first gig was three years ago at the Soirée Pompette which is a French cabaret club in London.
Camilla gave herself the name, Diva de la Guitare, on stage.
As there was a technical hitch she couldn't carry on playing. She said to the audience "I am being a real diva here but I'm sorry I do need a guitar. I guess I am a guitar diva."
She was speaking in French, as amazingly the singer is fluent in five languages and can speak another two. She also gets the aptitude to be able to learn languages from her dad who could speak eight fluently.
As she was growing up her parents would take Camilla and her two siblings, Lorelei and Emil, on holiday in the family VW-caravan across Europe.
She said: "It was very alternative.
"I wanted to be like other people who had hotels and I was staying in this motor caravan in strange parts of Europe.
"At the time I didn't really appreciate how amazing it was."
The album is out now. Go to www.divadelaguitare.com for more details.
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