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Interview: Kasey Chambers

Australian music artist Kasey Chambers lays it all on the table on her first solo record in four years, Bittersweet.

Interview: Kasey Chambers

She is the darling of Australian music, enjoying an enduring and illustrious career. One would expect any topic concerning personal life to be totally out of bounds however, an interview that was supposed to be about a record launch surprisingly turned into a good old chat about being a mum, wife, daughter, musician and everything in between.

Herein lies an important factor behind Kasey Chambers’ musical success; it is that lack of distinction between Kasey Chambers the artist and Kasey Chambers the everyday person, that keeps audiences begging for more.

After a quiet four years, mainly spent behind the scenes writing and playing with her jam band, Kasey Chambers is back and about to release Bittersweet, her 10th studio album and first solo record in four years.

Stepping out for the first time on her own, without her brother and long-time producer Nash by her side, Chambers says, “The approach to the whole record was very different for me with working with a new producer, working with new musicians and recording it in a new place. It was a little bit scary.”

Working with acclaimed producer Nick DiDia, who came highly recommended by Nash, Chambers was initially full of nerves. She knew she was in good hands, yet, she was taking a big risk, working with someone new. She was mainly concerned about whether they would be on the same page. Within hours, Chambers knew she had the right man for the job, and everything worked out organically. “Nick knew when to step back and let the song evolve itself and wasn’t focused on putting a producer stamp on the work.”

Recently, Chambers has been through many life changes.

“This one is more of a leap of faith as there is a lot of emotion that has gone into this record. Because it has spanned over the last 4 years and because I haven’t had a solo album in that time and a lot has happened. I have been through a divorce and had a big life change.”

The artist admits the record has been life changing in a lot of ways, professionally and personally.

“Those things meld together so much for me in records.”

Chambers views her music as an extension of herself, using it to Chambers to connect with others. From the lyrics and the nature of her songs deriving from personal experiences (“I try to put as much of my real self into a record as I can”) to the way which she chooses to record with as much live sound as possible, there is little outside intervention and the connection, leading to a more genuine connection with listeners.

“I hope that me and the perception of me are the same thing.”

The artist confesses that there are things revealed on the record that she is not proud of and there are things that she wishes she had done differently, “and they aren’t the greatest thing in the world to admit, but it’s me”. While there is a lot of emotion on the record that has stemmed from Chambers’ real-life experiences, she laughs.

“Don’t worry, this record is not an album full of divorce songs.”

Chambers underpins her musical success to this authenticity. “I think in some ways, that is where my success has come from and when I first started making music I thought that would be my downfall. I am very honest in songs”.

“There is something about people connecting with real people. They want to feel that other people are feeling the same thing and I put a lot of the success of Not Pretty down to that. People were looking up to musicians at the time such as Britney Spears and Shakira, although what they were actually feeling was ‘not pretty enough’. They related to the song more so than the song being good”.

Chambers’ music is all about being real and real is exactly what audiences get.

“I am real when I drop my kids off to school, I am real when I stand on stage and I am really when I sometimes just can’t wait for my kids to go to bed.”

There is no wall, no filter – audiences even get to see the beautiful relationship Chambers has with her dad, who she refers to as “my guide in life”, as they play together within most of her music.

Chambers’ life motto is to simply just ‘be real’.

“Sometimes I might mess up, sometimes I might not get the notes in on time at school. You are going to make mistakes and you learn from them. You can only do your best”.

When asked how she hopes audiences walk away feeling after listening to her new album, true to form, she responds” “I hope they go away feeling like they know me better”.

Bittersweet will be released through Warner Music on August 29 and Kasey Chambers will be touring nationally in August/September 2014.

Kasey Chambers Fun fact: Favourite song to play – The Captain

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