INTERVIEW // Chelsea Warner on: ‘Back On My Bullshit’, Collaboration and Her Musical Journey

WORDS BY ISABELLA ROSS

I had the chance to chat with Chelsea Warner about making her personal debut in the Australian music scene, along with bits about her latest release and dreams for the future. We started with a bit about her relationship with music from childhood and ended up reminiscing on the sound tracks to our 2020 experience.  

Isabella: I’d love to hear a little more about your journey with music, maybe some inspirations and the process of making your debut this year? 

Chelsea: I guess like most musicians I never really remember taking the first step into it, I have always been compelled by this force to keep [making music]. I don’t ever remember making the decision to, but every step felt logical. You know I’ll learn piano, I know piano, now I’ll learn guitar, I guess I should learn how to write songs, I guess I should learn how to produce. All these different things that I felt compelled to do. I think a childhood and adolescence of trying to do the next thing made ma a pretty chaotic kid but it also got me to the point where I was lucky enough to do what I love. I guess that brings us to now which is the time to emerge into the industry and get those building blocks together.  

How have you found releasing music in 2020 different to what you might have expected considering the lack of live music in Australia? 

Last year I was playing gigs weekly, both original stuff and with a band. For me that was a really big source of energy from the interpersonal exchange you have when you play live, which is definitely not there as much. I think everyone is adjusting and trying to simulate that as best I can. I thought that the world would be worse off if people stopped putting music out at this time. I decided to stick with my plan to put music out and hope that we can replicate the energy exchange we would have had live by fostering more social interaction on line and learning more innovative styles of content. It has been interesting and weird but I wouldn’t have it any other way because I didn’t want to push anything back or hold off I felt like the world could use more music.  

Can you tell me a little about how Back on My Bullshit came about with Zyad and Sumatra? 

We’re just friends Sumatra the production duo and Zyad the rapper we were jamming one day, I think we had written a few different ideas and in the last 20 minutes before I had to bounce we came up with the 90’s R&B pop track. The top line really flowed and it all went from there. This was more of a toplining job for me because Sumatra’s production was so epic. Often time pressure will really create a diamond, we were just writing like any other day and just came up with this.  

Everything about this song was unintentional and it almost started as a bit of a joke. I had the phrase “back on my bullshit” in my vocabulary that I was just using day to day with my friends, when we were writing I thought it would be funny. The production is very Britney 90’s pop – out there, it started almost as an inside joke between friends but from there it turned in to what it is today. It wasn’t intentional but I think that’s a nice thing, it just flowed naturally.  

Do you have any big or wild dreams with your music for the future? 

I’m just a ball of big wild dreams. I have always thought very big picture, I have tried to pull myself back recently from the ‘20 Grammys’ big thinking. In terms of goals I want to be cemented and respected as a writer, artist and producer and do that to whatever capacity I can. I would love to be able to write and produce all day every day, and hopefully inspire other people through that. I definitely want to enjoy the journey.  

You have mentioned your love for collaboration and hopes for working with more people in the future, do you have anything in the works? Or any collaborations that you would love to bring to life? 

Yeah, I have really gotten back in to doing things collaboratively recently, even though everyone is doing things remotely. I have even met some new artists to work with online which is really amazing. I have been making a lot of connections within the female, non-binary space at the moment, there are pockets of the industry that are becoming sanctuaries for those communities. I have met a lot of awesome women that I have been collaborating with recently, mostly doing production and cowriting work. I also have some friends that I tend to collaborate with fairly often, I do have a collab that I am kind sitting on at the moment that we are considering putting out. For me music is such an inherently collaborative process, definitely at it’s most enjoyable when its collaborative. I do love setting myself up in the studio, forgetting to eat and watching the sun go down, producing all day but it’s also nice and refreshing to bounce ideas off someone.  

In terms of dream collaborations, I think it would have to be someone that I could really learn from. I was thinking about this the other day, someone who is a really awesome accomplished and individual producer like KAYTRANADA would be incredible to watch how he works and to create with him. Someone who has really nailed the song writing and top writing craft like Victoria Monet would be incredible. Those two right now are popping out at me as dream collaborators because I could learn a lot from them.  

You have mentioned a lot of different little things in the works, with this being your third release for 2020 is there potentially a bigger project coming together?  

I always have a few things going on at once, at the moment yeah I am working on my debut EP. I am  working on getting that feeling really, really good first. I am definitely in the early stages of getting that together. Then I have a lot of other loose threads from other projects, my artist project, and producing for other artists as well which is really incredible I love sharing that process with other people. I am definitely loving getting a body of work together, hopefully I can reign in all the chaos and put it out as a cohesive body of work that’s the goal. 

At Temporary Dreamer we have a signature question, if Back on My Bullshit were a colour what would it be? 

*mmmm* I think it would be like the pastel tint that cheap kodak film cameras give pictures, the green-y, grey-y colour. I think that is the overall tint of the project because of the artwork and the photos, I really dig that colour.  

Is there anyone new you have been listening to recently that you would love to share? 

I have gotten really into Rina Sawayama she makes 90’s-esque stuff with influences from pop and R&B. I love her stuff for the R&B grooves with the solid pop structure, that’s what Back on My Bullshit is inspired by. A lot of my influences are 90’s oriented, I feel like an imposter I wasn’t even born then *laughs*. I have been really digging Raveena for her ethereal New York based soul filled R&B. There is also Qveen Herby who makes really unapologetic self-love hip-hop bangers.  

Is there anything else you would like to add about Back on My Bullshit? 

I think it’s nice when everything is feeling drab to have a song that fits in the unapologetically self- indulgent space. You know you have taken the self-care thing a little too far, maybe you are even being a little ‘too’ selfish but right now even though you know it’s problematic you don’t care. I think having a little bit of that fun is hopefully going to be uplifting and empowering for people. I hope the song makes other people feel how it made me feel which is pretty care free and completely okay with it.  

It was an incredible experience to chat with Chelsea for the first time, I can’t wait to see where her journey leads. Hopefully we have a chance to catch up again in the future. If you haven’t already stream Back On My Bullshit here and keep an eye out for her debut EP.  

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