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Kasey Chambers


Kasey Chambers at the age of 34 seems to have won just about every music award you can think of has sold a lot of records and is about to commence on the Little Bird Tour which arrives in Cairns in March. With the weather fairly grey and miserable on the central coast of NSW where she lives it was no chore for Kasey to have a quick chat with us about what she has been up to and her upcoming tour.

HI Kasey how are you today, where are we speaking too you from today?

I am in the central coast just north of Sydney where I live. The last few days have been beautiful but today it’s not real warm and its all overcast so it’s a good day to be doing interviews.

4 years is a long break between solo albums is a bit hard to get back into the swing of that?

I wasn’t really planning on doing an album in 2010 and all of a sudden all these songs just started pouring out of me and it sort of took me by surprise and it was actually fairly easy it just sort of happened without me even going out of my way to do it.

I have been told you wrote all the songs on this album in two weeks, how do you manage that?

I wish I knew I wish they were all that easy, it doesn’t normally happen but I couldn’t believe it all these songs just started pouring out. I hadn’t written any songs for a solo album for a couple of years I think I was sort of building up and they all came out at the one time.

Do you keep a notebook of ideas over time or do your songs just sort of go BANG here they are?

Pretty much like that I write one from start to finish and then move on to the next one and I kept thinking my streak is over now and then another one would come and another one it was sort of strange but good. I wish I could do that on every album but the next album will probably take me three years.

In the meantime you had the band Poppa Bill and the Hill Billies is it a bit hard to switch from that into Kasey Chambers solo mode?

Not really I guess if I really thought about that it is quite a different approach, I try not to think about it too much songs just come out the way they want t come out mostly and at that time I was really in kids mode and I wrote one sort of kiddy friendly song and I thought maybe I could write a few more and they just sort of kept coming out. I try not to over think things and just let them come out the way they want to.

What keeps you motivated to continue making records and touring?

I think it’s good to have a break from music and I find that I have to do that when I come home, My husband’s a musician too and he writes songs and we have a studio at home and other people record there but when I come home I don't really have a lot to do with my career I might listen to music sometimes but I take a break from my career and I try not to think about it very much...when I come home I put on my mum hat and that is number 1 priority and when I am at home I certainly don’t get treated like “Kasey Chambers” I am mum, my kids still haven’t clued to who I am when I am working or anything like that..So that kind of reminds me.

How hard is it to manage two children and a music career especially when you go on the road?

You really do have to find a balance to make that work because it doesn’t just happen easily but I am lucky as I have a lot of family on the road with me, my mum sells the merchandise, my dad plays in the band, my husband travels with me, my brother does the sound so I do get to take my kids on the road with me a lot or they will stay at home with my husband and I will go out for a few days at a time. So that works really well but it has taken me a while to get to that point where the balance is working because if the balance is wrong then everything is sort of out of whack.

That’s a lot of family involved in a business, how do you separate the business meeting from the family arguments?

We don’t usually that’s the problem I guess (laughing) no we all get along fairly well, we don’t have too many business meetings but my brother does manage me so we talk business a lot more than I do with my parents and when we are out on the road we are all pretty much mates so it’s not like work we have really been doing it forever and I still do what I am told by my parents of course (laughing)

You come from a musical family and have a very interesting background, what was growing up in the Chambers family like?

It was great I didn’t know anything different at the time I thought everybody lived in their car and travelled the Nullarbor and hunted their own food, I thought that was pretty normal and I learnt years later that that is not normal but it is something I thought everybody did really and it was amazing. But obviously my kids are not growing up with any sort of lifestyle like that at all their lifestyle is very normal they go to a normal school there dinner is on the table every night they don’t have to hunt it.

Did you always want to be a musician?

When I was really little I wanted to grow up and marry a fox hunter like my mum and dad, so it’s a little bit different from that. In my early teens I went through a time I wanted to do something in child care as I had always been really drawn to children I always wanted to have kids so I studied child care for a while and all of that. It was sort of around my mid teens that I started taking music a bit more seriously but it was kind of natural progression, I didn’t wake up one day and say this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life but I am certainly glad it happened the way it did, I don’t think I realised I could actually make a living from music, I knew I would always play music but I never thought I could have it is my job so I never really entertained the thought.

You have one a lot of awards what the one that’s really special to you that you walk past and say wow that’s really great?

Winning album of the year at the ARIA’s that was pretty cool and one of my favourites, another was an APRA which is a songwriters award and I was awarded with songwriter of the year and that was pretty amazing I certainly didn’t think that would ever happen. They are all different in their own way too. Every golden guitar I have been nominated for or have been lucky enough to win, they are all off a different album so they all mean something different as well. I don’t compare albums they are all like my little babies so each award is quite different for me as they represent different songs or different times in my life...it’s really nice but it certainly doesn’t affect how I will make my next album, it doesn’t really change anything about my life but it is a really nice encouraging thing to know someone’s out there likes it. It’s a nice thing to have on your mantle piece.

What can the audience expect from your upcoming show in Cairns?

It’s called The Little Bird tour and we will play some stuff off the new album but it’s mostly old stuff, we will go back to the Captain some of Barricades and Brick Walls and everything in between so it’s like a journey through my life and my career I guess and there are lots of stories about where the songs came from. We will also have the full band so most of the night will be with the full band but then we do some acoustic songs...a bit of everything so it will be fun.

Favourite Travel destination and why?

Home..Home is definitely my favourite when I have some time off because I travel for my job so I love waking up in my own bed.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

I don’t even know where I see myself in a year’s time but hopefully if all goes according to plan I will still be doing what I am doing now balancing being a musician and a mum, still making albums if I can that’s what I hop but hey I might have a day job by then because nobody want to buy my albums anymore...I don’t know, I don’t like to get my expectations too high.

How has the internet changed the music business?

I am so bad when it comes to computers; it hasn’t changed my life that much. I have only just gotten email and I don’t even really know how to use it but you know I think a lot of people in the industry think that technology has been negative and certainly in some ways it has but it has given us a new way to get music out to people. There is definitely good and bad about it from all different sides from the record label, the public and musicians there are all these different pros and cons about it...that’s a whole discussion on its own I think.

What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened on tour?

I have been sitting on stage on tour playing to a few thousand people in a sold out theatre and have had my son when he was about 3 walk out on stage and say mummy I am hungry can you get me something to eat I think they just forget that you’re at work and there are people listening to you.

What’s the worst thing that has ever happened on tour?

A few times I have been overworked or stressed and I have lost my voice where I can’t even talk let alone sing and I have had to cancel a show...so that kind of sucks.

What advice would you give young musicians?

I don’t think it’s good to listen to everyones advice but work it out for yourself there is no definite way to get into the music industry find what works for you just be yourself about it be true to who you are and I feel like I have based my whole career on that, I feel like I have always been myself and done things my way and it may not have always been the right way and I have made a lot of mistakes along the way but I have always stayed true to who I am and I think that is one of the most important things and that is what is going to make you stand out and get noticed. I think a lot of young people today think the opposite, they listen to whets on the radio and they think I should write songs like that...what you should do is what feels right to you and that is going to get you noticed. People who do their own things don’t follow trends they set trends... be a trendsetter don’t be a follower.

Who has been the greatest musical influence on you and why?

Probably my dad Bill Chambers he has really taught me everything I know about music. He exposed me to music at a very early age music you wouldn’t normally hear if you grew up in a normal household and you listened to what was on the TV or on the radio. I think that has a lot to do with how I sound now and how I write songs and operate my whole career really.

Kasey Chambers play at The Cairns Civic Theatre on Sunday the 6th of March,  Buy Tickets

Her new album Little Bird is out now through all good record stores or online from her website Buy Album