As part of this year’s Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Australian country darlin’ Kasey Chambers will be taking to the stage alongside The Voice favourite, Karise Eden. Both women have enjoyed much success within the industry of course, but the support they’ve both felt from a strong fan base nationwide has been incredible to track over the last few years.
Of course, for Chambers especially, her music has been part of the Australian music fabric since the release of The Captain in the late 1990’s. Most recently, her ninth studio album in Bittersweet (released in 2014) saw Chambers add another Top 5 charting album to her discography and although vocal issues prevented her from touring early on in its live cycle, the shows she was able to perform in showcasing her new material made fans and critics sit up and take notice.
Delving into some vocal areas and melodies that provide her the opportunity to explore new musical direction without losing any of the quintessential warmth that people were drawn to originally is something that has filtered into Chambers’ recent writing sessions for studio album number ten, expected to be finished this year.
“There will definitely be a new album this year, for sure.” she enthuses. “I’m writing at the moment, I’m actually going into the studio soon to start recording. I mean, I’ll be still touring a lot of this year too. I always tour a lot off the back of a new record, but we haven’t actually even gone in to record it yet, so I’m not exactly sure when it will be out. I’m going to start recording before I’ve finished writing – I’m going to try and do it at the same time. It’s been fun. I’ve got a heap of songs, but I just want to keep writing and writing then maybe go into the studio a few different times, which I don’t usually do. That’ll be fun.”
“I really think, with this new record,” Chambers says. “It reflects a lot of different areas in my life. I think I’ve always had a bit of variety on my records; I have the real traditional country stuff and then there’s the bluegrass stuff and then the bit where I sing like I’m a rock star and then there’s the pop stuff! I think I do always cross over a little bit, but this new stuff that I’m writing is even more so a departure. I’m delving a lot more into writing songs that I feel like I have never, ever written before. I still feel like it reflects me, I just feel like I’m a different person now. ”
“There’s no way that your writing can’t grow with you if you let it and if you encourage it. What I’m doing at the moment is very much just not putting any boundaries on it; I’m discovering different music myself as well and learning a few different instruments too. It branches out my songwriting interests too, really.”
As to how her Melbourne Zoo show has been coming together, Chambers is excited to be back on the stage and in the unique setting the Zoo Twilights provides artists from all different corners of pop, rock, country and indie fields. While Bittersweet is still an album she remains fiercely proud of, Chambers is quick to point out that the favourites won’t be neglected.
“When I come down to do the Zoo show, I’m going to be playing a lot of old songs [too]; I’ll go back and play songs off The Captain and we’ll do some off Rattlin’ Bones, a bit of everything. I still love playing the old songs, I don’t want to go out and just play all new songs, it doesn’t really interest me! Obviously, I’m excited about the new album and I want to play songs off that as well, but I love going back and playing the old ones! I’m looking forward to it.”
On performing with Eden, Chambers comments on the young songwriter’s vocal talent and her enthusiasm for being able to share this one-of-a-kind live experience with her.
“Karise and I are actually from the same area,” she notes. “We’re both from the Central Coast. I actually remember hearing her sing years and years ago down at this local community day. They had a couple of people busking and I remember going past and I just heard this voice! I thought, ‘Oh my God, who is that person?’ I just remember being really drawn to it and I walked down to this area and I thought, ‘I don’t know if I’d ever heard a voice like that before’. She was just busking in this little town! It was like, how was this person not world famous! It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I saw her on the show and I was like, ‘Oh my god – that’s that girl!’. I’m really looking forward to hearing her set as much as playing my own. That’ll be fun.”
Having this upcoming show fall right in the middle of current writing sessions brings a certain advantage to both Chambers and her audience. While her body of work will no doubt be highlighted to a decent degree during the Zoo show, Chambers is looking forward to rolling out and testing some new material out for Melbourne fans. Dipping her toe in the water, so to speak.
“I try not to overthink it too much – I play the songs I love playing.” she says. “I mean, I just couldn’t imagine ever doing a show without doing “The Captain”; it’s such a big part of who I am, that song. To go out and do a gig and not do “The Captain” and not do “Barricades & Brickwalls”, or not do “Not Pretty Enough”, it would be so strange to me. They’re just such big parts of who I am and when I do gigs, I want it to reflect very much who I am as a person. Not just as a singer-songwriter or an artist or whatever.”
“I want people to go home feeling like they know me a little bit better as a person,” she explains. “That’s why I like telling lots of stories about where songs came from and chatting, sharing my band members a lot with everybody because they’re my closest friends. They’re my family. It’s just a big part of who I am. In saying that, a big part of who I am is also in these new songs that I’m writing, obviously. I do like trying out new ones as well, so I’ll be doing a bit of that too. The audience can be like the guinea pigs for that!
Kasey Chambers performs at the Melbourne Zoo as part of the Zoo Twilights series on Saturday, February 27th. For more information, head to here!