Five Favourites: Princess Chelsea

Having been creating her signature dreamy indie-pop for eleven years now, New Zealand artist Princess Chelsea has just released her fifth album Everything Is Going To Be Alright. Tinged with an early noughties shimmering nostalgia, it’s a poignant collection of cinematic soundscapes that twinkle with an ethereal splendour and captivating raw emotion.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of Everything Is Going To Be Alright, we caught up with Princess Chelsea to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite songs, and be sure to watch the cute new video for album track ‘Love Is More‘ at the bottom of this feature.

Marianne Faithfull – ‘Morning Sun’
This is from Marianne Faithfull’s early period and it’s an undiscovered gem, I suppose! It sounds very ‘English’ to me in a good way. It’s a beautiful track – the harps and her beautiful slightly monotonous eerie vocals (a little bit reminiscent of Nico). Marianne always was a total queen and her vocals from this early 1960s period of her career are quite different to her later more widely known work. As an artist she is a fascinating character who really got dealt a tough blow by music press and public who were very judgemental of her for any ‘mistakes’ (aka not being perfect) in her private life. After being London’s golden girl for a few years, she disappeared into a world of addiction and complicated experiences only to re-emerge over twenty years later with just as amazing music (Broken English being her comeback album). My track ‘Time‘ is heavily influenced by early Marianne Faithfull and English pop in the way I produced and arranged it – and I actually covered this song on my 2016 album Aftertouch.  

The Bats – ‘Sir Queen’
In the 1980s Flying Nun Records was formed in the South Island of New Zealand in Christchurch by Roger Shepherd, although it is associated more with an even more southern city Dunedin, when somebody coined the term “The Dunedin Sound” to describe the jangly guitar pop style of some of the bands on the label who were heavily influenced by the open chords of the Velvet Underground. Seminal acts The Clean, The Chills, The Verlaines, and The Bats made jangly guitar pop music that proved to be heavily influential internationally and still is. Kaye Woodward from The Bats is one of the most interesting “indie rock” (lol) guitarists I’ve had the pleasure of listening to and her work with The Bats as displayed on ‘Sir Queen’ from their classic album Daddy’s Highway is emotive, particular and loose at the same time. I’ve been a fan of The Bats and many of the early Flying Nun acts since I was a teenager, and any guitar work I do (or make other people do, haha)  is greatly influenced by these bands whose style of playing is far more important than technical prowess. My song ‘Love Is More’ from my new album is definitely influenced by Kaye Woodward’s trademark ‘bendy’ guitar playing.

Jane’s Addiction – ‘Jane Says’ (Live from Kettle Whistle)
Jane’s Addiction are a truly weird band that don’t really fit into any kind of genre. In the 1990s in LA they were junkie surfers that made heavy rock music influenced by Led Zeppelin, but it was also glam, arty and truly ‘alternative’ – influenced by I imagine a whole lot of esoteric music. Frontman Perry Farrell would wail and leap around on the stage like some kind of androgenous mad puppet. While totally unintentional I think my track ‘The Forest‘ certainly reminds me of Jane’s Addiction sometimes which isn’t really surprising seeing as it’s my first truly ‘rock’ song and they were my first favourite ‘rock’ band. The live version of ‘Jane Says’ with its massive drum sound, and Farrell’s vocals sailing over the top – plus the addition of steel drums – make for a truly original yet totally rocking melodic band. I think somehow and always Jane’s Addiction will always influence my live performance.

The Gun Club – ‘Sex Beat’
The Gun Club is a band I discovered as a teenager and their guitar sound in particular is something I’ve always loved – it’s punk, but it’s also got tonality of country music with tremolo, twang and a lot of reverb. Their later albums would sound more shoegazey and shiny (Mother Juno), but the first album is a great example of the county / punk influence of this wonderful band. I think a lot of guitar tones on ‘We Kick Around’ remind me of the Gun Club. The solo on ‘I Don’t Know You‘ is by my friend Vincent HL who plays on this track and is a huge Gun Club fan.

Fleetwood Mac – ‘What Makes You Think You’re The One’
After years of listening to Fleetwood Mac, I started repetitively listening to deep cuts from the double album Tusk which followed their massive album Rumours and was a critical yet commercial kind of flop (well a flop for Fleetwood Mac – it still sold millions). Lindsay Buckingham was probably doing way too much cocaine during this period and there are a lot of great what I call “weird Lyndsay Buckingham songs” dispersed throughout Tusk. I think he was maybe listening to a lot of punk music at the time and was trying to insert some of that energy into Fleetwood Mac which may have been perceived as soft rock for moms and dads or something by then. And there’s nothing wrong with that haha. His vocal performance on this track and a lot of the backing vocal loops all over Tusk, and also on the album Tango In The Night (‘Family Man’ is a great example of this) definitely influenced my track ‘I Don’t Know You’ and a lot of my backing vocal ideas in general. When I sing “I DONT KNOW!”, I am 100% channeling Lyndsay – intentionally and quite overtly.

Massive thanks to Princess Chelsea for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch the video for latest single ‘Love Is More’ here:

Everything Is Going To Be Alright, the fifth album from Princess Chelsea, is out now via Lil Chief Records.

Photo Credit: Frances Carter

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