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Jess Chambers: Hopeful Dreamer

Wellington-based singer-songwriter Jess Chambers and been around and seen around in her short life. Born in Dunedin, growing up in the US, back to New Zealand at 12, settling in the capitol eight years ago . . .

And along the way making diverse music: Wistful in a hushed voice; working with electronica artists like Module and Rhian Sheehan; the debut album Jess Chambers and the Firefly Orchestra in 2008, appearing on the acclaimed low-key Woolshed Sessions album that same year (her contribution Stringing Me Along named Apra's best country song) . . .

And now it is time for her second album, Desire (reviewed here), which allows that grace-filled voice to be front'n'centre on gentle, poetic songs which include snapshot but insightful observations, the pains of life and love, and fragile emotions. And she marries these to memorable melodies which come lightly supported by slide guitar, piano, mandolin and -- in the case of the elevating Hopeful Dreamer -- a string section.

She has a short tour to support Desire (dates below) but also made time to answer The Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

The rousing sound of a cappella voices in harmony singing old timey gospel songs.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

When I was 14 it was Mariah Carey, when she used to sing REALLY high and crazy-like.

Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?

Jagger, Nirvana, Madonna, Michael for sure.

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

My mind boggles at the thought, something very zen-like? Gardening?

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

Cortez the Killer by Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Dark Turn Of Mind by Gillian Welch and Sparrow by Fraser Ross.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

My boyfriend has a bass guitar signed by Robbie Shakespeare from his heavy dub days, before he started playing sad folk mandolin with me heheh.

The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Neil Young's bio, Shakey. It's long, but inspiring right to the end.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . .(And you would play?)

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, we would sing in 3-part harmony.

Tilda_IAmLove_500The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Only ones I can think of are.... Oh Brother. Where Art Thou? and Tilda Swinton's I am Love.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .

Billie Holiday on vinyl and Jenny Lewis' Acid Tongue download

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . . .

Love Hurts by Roy Orbison.

Jess_Chambers_Desire_IconThe poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

My new album cover! Made by Creature Design, they are an extremely talented bunch.

You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .

If I knew I would have it already.

David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

Traveling continents, making music.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

The latest is always the best isn't it? I'd like to think so anyway :)


25th September: San Francisco Bath House, WELLINGTON w/ Tessa Rain

30th September: Fairfield House, NELSON w/ Tessa Rain

2nd October: The Brewery, CHRISTCHURCH w/ Tessa Rain

Doors at 7:30 Music at 8pm

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