Introducing: Chelsea Warner
Sydney based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Chelsea Warner has just released her second single and TCI caught up with her for a chat!
Having already received kudos for her debut single ‘How Come You Don’t Pick Up Your Phone’ Chelsea Warner has stepped forward confidently again with new release ‘Back On My Bullshit’, a track that features a whole lot of energy and attitude to compliment her Neo-soul/R&B vibe.
The Creative Issue: You’ve been playing and writing music for most of your life. What got you started?
Chelsea Warner: I feel like I’ve been constantly doing music, and never really made the conscious choice. My family wasn’t overly musical, I definitely fell into it. I kind of just set goals and once I was confident with that one thing, I moved on – from piano, to guitar, to writing, to production – and now they’re all one big combination.
TCI: Your new single ‘Back On My Bullshit’ is a great follow up to ‘How Come You Don’t Pick Up Your Phone’ which was released back in April. What does the track mean to you lyrically?
CW: ‘Back On My Bullshit’ is about taking self-care that little bit too far and becoming a tad too self-indulgent. It reflects an unapologetic self-awareness, and is definitely for every recovering people pleaser! It shows another end of the spectrum to ‘How Come You Don’t Pick Up Your Phone’, as it moves away from over-investing in other people towards instead investing in yourself.
TCI: Who did you work with on the track? How did it all come together?
CW: The track was made with Sydney based production duo Sumatra (BoomChild, Urthboy, Rissa, Ms. Thandi), and it just started with me and my friend Finbar hanging out and writing. We wrote a few ideas that day, and I had to leave in 20 minutes, so we just banged out a quick vibe. Immediately it was Britney-esque – it had that 90’s pop/R&B intensity to it, and I was freestyling with the phrase ‘Back On My Bullshit’, which was a recent addition to my own vocabulary. I thought it was funny, and in my mind the song started a little as a joke, but it ended up having heaps of awesome energy! We then injected more modern hip-hop and R&B layers, with thick harmonies, booming sub bass and cool, swirly synths before Zyad hopped on and killed the second verse. We then knew we had a special one!
TCI: You’ve also been busy writing and producing for other artists. How do you decide if a collaboration is right for you?
CW: Totally, working with other artists is one of my favourite things to do – it’s incredible when someone lets you into their musical world. It’s definitely feeling based. You can feel when a collaboration is really clicking, and of course there are bad days, but there’s for sure this simultaneous adrenaline rush and feeling of contentment you get when you meet a collaborator who’s a good fit. It’s a good sign if you’re bumping the track on the way home from the session!
TCI: It’s an age old question that has a million correct answers but, to you, what makes a great song?
CW: If someone resonates with it, it’s a great song. Although some songs give me that intangible, heart-pounding sensation of perfection and profound greatness, there are some elements that I always love to hear in a good song. When a topline or melody sounds like nothing else could’ve possibly fit that instrumental or those chords. A hook you can feel, and repeat after one chorus. A relatable narrative that seeks to involve the listener, and evolves throughout the song. To name a few!
TCI: We’ve heard you’re studying at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music. How have you found formally studying music has influenced your songwriting and production style?
CW: I am! I’ve definitely become more aware of the intricacies of music through music scholarship. The reason I study music is to hone my knowledge of music theory and music technology, so I try to focus on classes that push my instrumental skills and help me flex those more theoretical muscles. So, I’m definitely getting better as an instrumentalist and composer, which I can apply directly to my own projects!
TCI: What’s the best advice you’ve received?
CW: That your dreams shouldn’t be dreams, they should instead be plans that you simply execute.
TCI: You’ve burst onto the scene this year. You’re young, talented, and look set to achieve so much. Where would you like to see your career head over the next few years?
CW: Thank you! At the moment, I want to be establishing building blocks and laying the foundation for my career as an artist, writer and producer. I would like to be working in the industry consistently as a producer or topliner for other artists’ projects, as that gives me a lot of joy and fulfilment. Then, I can also tell my own stories in my own project. In a few years’ time, I would love to have a bank of awesome musicians who call upon me to help realise their visions.