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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Award-Winning Australian Singer-Songwriter Jess Chalker Has Released Debut Solo Album 'Hemispheres'

Jess Chalker is an Australian-born songwriter and artist living in London UK. Musically, she hails from humble roots as one of YouTube’s first ever viral artists (with over 1.5m views on her self-penned songs.) She went on to front Australian new-wave duo, We Are The Brave, whose grassroots hits ‘Your Ghost’ and ‘Sparrow’ achieved close to a million streams across YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify. She is now embarking on a bold new solo career and announces her emotive, self-reflective debut full-length album, “Hemispheres”, released on 5th November 2021 via her own imprint 528 Records.

Jess’ musical journey to date has been rich and varied: on leaving We Are The Brave, she traversed three continents as a songwriter and producer, her writing talents earning her a Grammy credit and taking her from Sydney, to LA and London as a much sought-after collaborator. Artists Jess has worked with include Sam Fischer, Tate McRae, Isamachine, Gold Kimono, Passenger, Hotei, Glen Matlock, Guy Sebastian, John Alagia (John Mayer) and many more. Jess earned her Grammy status in 2018, when she co-penned “Say Hello”, the single that helped Lisa Loeb win Best Kids Record for Feel What U Feel. Along with Florence + the Machine’s Isabella Summers, Jess was recently commissioned by Amazon Original to create an original composition for the show, Panic. The song, “Darkest Hour” (performed by Tate McRae) was later held in consideration for an Emmy nomination.

Now, as an artist in her own right, Jess is free to explore more instinctively personal, close- to-home sentiments. Indeed, the stunning new album “Hemispheres”, laced with guitar-driven hooks and retro synths, featuring strong alternative/electro-pop production, dives boldly into lyrical themes that explore the entire range of human emotions, both the highs, and the lows. The album examines our inner demons, self-doubt, but also resilience, strength, and the curative values of self-love, with Jess’ expressive vocals slicing through at every turn. Latest single “Don’t Fight It,” is about acknowledging that sometimes you have to roll with the punches in order to change paths, and follows the release of album tracks “Dance in the Rain” and “West Hollywood”.

“Hemispheres”, was completed under the weight of the pandemic, as Chalker dealt with the loss of her day job, being so far away from family and undergoing heart-breaking health challenges at the same time. Like many others, she found herself spiralling, and turned to music to find the creative outlet she needed. She says: “When the pandemic hit, like everyone else, it turned my world upside down. I was one of many people globally who lost their jobs, but the silver lining was that for the first time in years, it gave me a chance to stop and breathe.”

Jess subsequently poured herself into being wholly creative again and it wasn’t long before she was collaborating with friends across Sydney, Los Angeles and London to finish the album. “Hemispheres” was executive produced by Jess herself, along with co-producers/co-writers Dan Long (Local Natives, Pavement), Grammy-winner Rich Jacques, Josh Humphreys (M83) and newcomer, Ox Why across Sydney, LA and London. It was largely mixed by LA’s Billy Centenaro (Sara Bareilles, Lukas Nelson) and mastered by John Davis (The Killers, Lana del Rey).

In the process of this she also found a much longed-for freedom too. She says: “Releasing this album is terrifying and thrilling to me. I grew up in a religion that discouraged us from pursuing career success, where women weren’t allowed on stage to address an audience directly. I think it’s why I’ve always tried to avoid the spotlight but, after the year we’ve all had, my perspective on things have changed quite a lot. I’m not wasting any more time doubting myself.”


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