Interview: Chelsea Basha

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 18.04.13 | Issue # 334



A breakup was the driving force behind Chelsea Basham’s debut album, but the WA-county girl assures Daniel Cribb she was careful not to turn into a cliché Taylor Swift rip-off.

Having circled the world, supporting the likes of Adam Brand and Lee Kernaghan, playing to packed out rooms across the country and winning Best New Talent at the Australian Country Music Awards in Tamworth earlier this year, WA-born pop country singer Chelsea Basham finds herself preparing for one of her toughest crowds yet when she picks up her phone. “I just got up to Wongan Hills, my hometown. I’m singing at a school assembly for the kids at the primary school I went to today, so that should be fun,” she begins from the small country town two hours north east of Perth. “It’s really cool going back and showing them what you can do once you leave school, and just teaching them that even though they live in the country, live in the sticks, [they] can still achieve. So that’s kind of the goal today.”

Kids in her hometown don’t often get the delight of live music, so growing up so far away from what she loved, her parents enrolled her in singing lessons. In her teens, Basham relocated to Perth to study music, and three days after graduating high school, she packed up and moved to Sydney to really kick things in motion. “That’s sort of where it all began in my country music career. I just got out on the road and did some supports and was just selling merchandise, just so I could be on the road and learn what it was all about. I learnt a lot.”

From there she kept on striving to take her music to the next level, eventually calling iconic country producer Graham Thompson in 2011, who she had respected for years, to ask him to be a part of her debut record. Spending months working on the songs in Sydney, the pair then flew to Nashville at the start of 2012 to begin recording with some of the industries best session musicians. With such a talented backing band, it only took two days to lay all the music down.

“I’d just recorded my single, which was released a couple of years before that, and that was really my only taste of the studio, and so going over to Nashville and seeing the studios over there and how they work was just mind blowing. It was something that I’d never really experienced before, so I just soaked it up and cannot wait to do it again, but, you know, it’s a costly thing, so you just have to keep saving for the next one – like drugs, I guess,” she laughs.

“It’s a bit of a rejuvenation album. I wrote it during a breakup, but I didn’t want to go all Taylor Swift and write a bunch of breakup songs, I really wanted to turn it around and make it a little bit more positive and look on the bright side of life, and I guess he did me a favour,” she laughs. “I’m really happy with it and I think it sort of tells where I was at that point of my life, and I guess even since then I have changed a lot and I’m really looking forward to getting back to Nashville this year and writing the next album because I’m a lot different to how I was then, so even though it was a couple of years ago, you do change a lot, and I guess musically as well, life would be boring if you kept on writing the same sort of style and same songs. So yeah, I’m looking forward to writing the next one.”

Chelsea Basham will be playing the following dates:

Thursday 25 April – Wongan Hills Civic Centre, Wongan Hills WA
Saturday 27 April – The Fly Trap, Fremantle WA
Sunday 28 April – Ellington Jazz Club, Perth WA
Saturday 4 May – Urban Country Music Festival, Caboolture QLD
Thursday 9 May – Maryborough Sports Club, Maryborough QLD
Friday 10 May – Brothers Sports Club, Bundaberg QLD
Saturday 11 May – Glenmore Tavern, Rockhampton QLD
Monday 12 May – Capella Cultural Centre, Capella QLD
Thursday 16 May – Proserpine Entertainment Centre, Proserpine QLD
Friday 17 May – Burdekin Theatre, Ayr QLD
Saturday 18 May – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville QLD
Friday 24 May – Old Mill, Handorf SA
Saturday 25 May – Norwood Live, Norwood SA
Sunday 26 May – Old Clarendon Inn, Clarendon SA

Daniel Cribb

Drum Perth (Apr 18, 2013)