Claire Johnston is a singer best known as the face and voice of Mango Groove. Born in the United Kingdom, she has been a South African resident for most of her life. At the age of ten, she debuted as an actor, dancer and singer in the Johannesburg production of the musical Annie. During her senior high school year, she joined the crossover band Mango Groove and has been a symbol of the Rainbow Nation ever since. Despite a busy concert schedule, she completed a degree in English, Philosophy, and Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1988. She has opened for Belinda Carlisle and performed with Freddie Mercury.
She has had a double national tour with Belinda Carlisle, was involved in the SA Olympic bid and the 1999 All Africa Games Celebrations, and sang the National Anthem at the 1998, 2000 and 2001 Tri-Nations Rugby. She travelled extensively with Mango Groove, performing to sell-out shows in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Sydney.
Claire regularly performs "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" at Springbok rugby union internationals and was involved in South Africa's bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is married to fellow Mango Groove musician John Leyden.
Currently she performs with Mango Groove, or with her four-piece band, as "Claire Unplugged".
She has also started a solo career. Claire's first solo album, released through Sting Music, and recorded at Real World Studios in Bath and Sarm West and Olympic studios in London, UK. The Fearless album was produced by UK uber-producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven, with additional tracks being produced by globally acclaimed songwriter/producer Marius de Vries (Madonna, Björk and the Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet soundtracks).
Fearless was self-consciously a creative departure for Claire from the Mango sound. The World Music influences are certainly present (some of Peter Gabriel's musicians played on the tracks), but overall the tracks have a more haunting and minor-key texture than the Mango Groove songs. The result is a stunningly evocative and introspective album.