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Kasey Chambers becomes a wayward angel

By Jeffrey B. Remz, October 2004

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"Wouldn't you think that
I'd have it all figured out by now
That I'd know exactly what I'm doing
Wouldn't you think that I'd have a key
To open every melody and sing
Like it is all here at my feet
Wouldn't you think that
I'd have a life hanging on my wall
So I could prove that I'm alive
But these are just things I've been given
For a plastic way of living
And I'm not sure if that really is my style
The second hand it rolls on by
It never looks back to wait for mine
And if I fall any harder this time
If I dig any deeper Lord what will I find
Well you can buy my life on the radio
And order me by mail
But not everything about me is for sale"

"My success in Australia is a lot different than in America," says Chambers.

For example, in September, Chambers was nominated for three ARIA awards, the Aussie equivalent of a Grammy, for best overall album of the year, country album and female artist.

"I spend much of my life now signing autographs and being recognized on the street here now," says Chambers matter of factly. "It's not something I complain about at all. It's great, and I love my career here in Australia, and I love my life. The last album went seven times platinum. I'm not the sort of person that has paparazzi following me. It has changed a lot in the last few years. I do get recognized."

"I go out to a bar," she says. "It's not like I sit there and have a drink like I used to. It's different, but it's great."

Chambers then describes a very strange incident to further illustrate the changes in her life.

"I actually went to the hospital last year and had a minor procedure. I was laying about in the hospital bed and about to go under. I was quite upset and crying. It was quite an emotional thing. It was at that moment, a nurse came up to me and said, 'Oh my God, you're Kasey Chambers. My kids love you. Can I get your autograph?' It was a surreal moment. I can't pick and choose when I'm Kasey Chambers and a girl in a hospital."

Like all good songwriters, Chambers managed to get a song out of the ordeal - "For Sale," which she wrote the day she got out of the hospital.

"That kind of thing doesn't happen too often," she says, hopefully with understatement. "Normally it's flattering. Then every now and then there are moments, dammit. This is an uncomfortable situation that I'm not entirely at home with."

Chambers makes it quite clear that while she struggles, she has no doubts that she wants a singing career.

"I sing it in Australia (at concerts and I'm thinking) 'do I want this. Do I want this for my life?' I'm thinking, 'hell yeah.' I'm playing to like 4,000 people, and they're singing along to the lyrics. Of course, I want this. It's great."

"It's only brief moments where I think that (I don't want this)," she says. "Most of the time, it's fantastic."

Chambers looks at "Hollywood" as being "a little bit the same. It's more typically a love song...It is going through different scenes in my life and my personal life, and I think 'Hollywood' really represents a time when you get carried away with things. My career is going great. I'm signing autographs. I feel invincible, and then I have moments when I think it doesn't matter where you are. It's a reality check really, which we all need because it's kind of easy to get carried away and think you're a little better than you are."

Chambers does most songwriting on her own, though she wrote three songs with Cori Hopper, the father of her son and her boyfriend.

"We've only written (three songs)," she says. "He's not necessarily a songwriter really. He just messes around. He plays a bit of guitar at home. Every so often, we write a song together. We really enjoyed it."

She wrote three songs with others, including Worm with whom she has previously written.

"I enjoy both kinds of writing," she says of writing solo and co-writes. "It wasn't planned songwriting things. They just sort of fell out. I'm not really interested (in writing meetings) set up as co-write. I just find it really hard. Songwriting is honest as I ever get with myself, and it's hard to do it with someone else in the room. I'm talking really really honest exactly about how you feel. Sometimes it makes it hard to play those songs with other people."

With Australia behind her, Chambers now is turning her attention to the U.S. where "Wayward Angel" was released by Warner in late September with a short 12-date tour to follow starting in early November.

"I absolutely love going to America," she says. "We haven't been there for a year, and that's the longest in the past six or seven years that I haven't been to America. I go back a couple of times a year. I enjoy that so much."

While Warner certainly has high hopes for Chambers, she tries to keep her own hopes in check.

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