Five Favourites: Jen Cloher

Having been a big fan of Australian artist Jen Cloher for a number of years now, I was excited to hear that they’re set to release a new album next month. Our first taster from the album, latest single ‘Mana Takatāpui‘ offers a blissful celebration of the indigenous Polynesian people of Aotearoa, New Zealand, the Māori LGBTQ+ community. Showcasing Jen’s trademark luscious soothing vocals alongside a shimmering musicality, it builds with an uplifting energy to a truly joyous unifying anthem.

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 Jen Cloher’s upcoming album, we caught up with them to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. So, read about their five favourite ever albums, and check out the beautifully empowering video for single ‘Mana Takatāpui below…

PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
There’s an incredible in-depth podcast (in 2 parts) with the legendary music critic Ann Powers where she covers every PJ Harvey album, collaboration and movie soundtrack with the loving attention to detail that an artist of PJ’s magnitude deserves. I came away realising 3 things – that To Bring You My Love is my favourite of her albums (and that’s a tough call), that PJ paved the way for the incredible influence women have on guitar rock music today and that Ann Powers brings the kind of intelligence and reflection we all dream music critics would bring to our work. Go checkout this Bandsplain podcast episode, it’s a treat.

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
The first time I saw Gillian Welch and David Rawlings play was at a club in Melbourne. I went in with high expectations as I’d fallen in love with the songs on the album in a way where they feel like they’re yours and you hope the artist doesn’t ruin them for you! Lols. I needn’t have worried. David Rawlings’ guitar playing alone floored me. For the first time in my life I felt an inkling of what it might have been like to watch Jimi Hendrix play live – guitar and human as one. This album is simple – two acoustic guitars, vocal harmonies and great songs. It’s a masterpiece.

The Doors – LA Woman
The Doors were my first teen band crush. I ‘discovered’ Jim Morrison when I was 13 and spent the next three years listening to and reading anything Doors related that I could get my hands on. I even had a life size Jim Morrison poster above my bed – the topless one with the beads and leather pants. Was Jim Morrison one of the few that could pull off leather pants? All teen obsessions aside (it’s weird falling in love with a dead person), The Doors wrote some classic blues rock jams. ‘Riders On The Storm’, ‘Light My Fire’ and ‘Break On Through’ still stand up as classics today.

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul
This is one of the albums I remember most as a child. My Mum was a mega fan of the great women Soul and Blues singers. From Billie Holiday to Sarah Vaughan, to Ella Fitzgerald, there were always powerful voices floating up from the turntable in our lounge room. ‘Chain of Fools’, ‘Respect’ and ‘Natural Woman’ reimagined by Aretha Franklin still stand as the penultimate versions of these classics.

Te Kaahu O Rangi – s/t
Te Kaahu is the waiata Māori project of pop artist Theia who is based in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Theia grew up speaking and writing songs in her native tongue Te reo Māori and collaborated with me on my new album. We wrote a song together called ‘He Toka-Tu-Moana’ – which means to stand strong like a rock in the ocean. Her debut Te Kaahu album (2022) is a beautiful combination of traditional Māori songs with indie folk pop leanings. She pulls it off effortlessly.

Massive thanks to Jen for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

I Am The River, The River Is Me, the upcoming new album from Jen Cloher, is set for release on 3rd March via Milk! Records / Marathon Artists. Watch the beautiful video for latest single ‘Mana Takatāpui‘ here:

Photo Credit: Marcelle Bradbeer

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