JUST two days before Kasey Chambers headed back out on the road to start her Bittersweet Tour, she takes the time to chat about life, love, parenting and songwriting.
“I’m really excited about getting out on tour again. My voice has had its ups and downs in the last few months but I’ve been really looking after it,” says Chambers who had to reschedule her Bittersweet Tour in October when she was diagnosed with voice nodules.
“My voice is naturally husky and I had nodules when I was a teenager and went to voice therapy for a while. It was disappointing to have to postpone last year but I’m glad I didn’t need surgery. I had to learn how to look after my voice again, no screaming at the kids for not having their room tidy for a few months,” she says with a laugh.
Chambers’ down to earth attitude is infectious as she talks about day-to-day life with her three children.
“Kids have a way of keeping you grounded. We live such a normal life even when they come out on the road with us, it’s just everyday to them. They don’t really have a clue about the awards and albums. When were at home and down at the school, I’m literally just Arlon and Poet’s mum. My life is non celebrity like, it’s definitely not glamorous.”
Just like any other mum, Chambers is dealing with the fact that her eldest son is about to start high school. “He’s super ready, not nervous at all, he’s totally got this. He wont be able to come on tour with us but it’s not like were away for three months at a time. The tour is set up so it’s away for a few days then home again.”
On the subject of balancing motherhood and career, Chambers says she couldn’t get by without the support of her family and friends.
“I’m so lucky with my family who come on the road with me, also one of my best friends lives in our granny flat and she helps out a lot with the kids, and they love her.”
One of the family traditions has been for all of them to go to Tamworth at the start of the tour and this year is no different.
“The kids don’t come out on the road with me all the time but would be very upset if we didn’t take them to Tamworth,” she says of the 12 year old, seven year old and three year old brood. “It’s a real family event.”
With a reputation as one of Australia’s most famous performers, Chambers grew up in a home where listening to country music was a way of life, singing with her family’s “Dead Ringer Band” and travelling all across the country.
Quarter of a century later, she is releasing her seventh solo album, and has no plans of slowing down.
There is a wonderfully natural flow to Chambers’ life, however, with the singer songwriter determined to maintain a good work life balance, and a healthy attitude to parenting.
“I used to feel a lot more guilty and wanted to be a supermum. Then I realized that there’s no such thing. I think it’s a mum thing to want to please all the people all the time but you just can’t so now I weigh up different situations and try to be as balanced and fair as possible. Just like any parent, sometimes there are work commitments, which mean you miss out on things. Last year my son made the rep team at AFL footy and I had a tour planned then but I knew this was important to him so we moved the tour,” says Chambers, who believes that its also important for our kids to see us make mistakes.
“When my children first started school I would freak out if I took a note in late. I thought I had let them down but they actually didn’t care. It made me realize the things that are important to our kids are not always what we think. My child doesn’t care if I have a note in late; he cares if I hang out with him after school. It’s unrealistic for our children to see us as perfect. Nobody’s perfect. They just need to see you doing your best.”
After just taking home another ARIA award for Best Country Album for her record Bittersweet, Kasey now adds this to her collection of 10, so the country singer must be doing something right.
“I believe in positive energy in my life and in my songwriting but I also believe in telling the truth. Songwriting is my outlet for recognizing all the emotions that we go through in life,” says the woman with one of the brightest personalities in the business. “The reality is that even though I am a positive person most of the time, I do have to recognize the other side. Sometimes my songs come out sounding sadder than I am.
Chambers says her album Bittersweet is a leap of faith, being the first solo album in five years.
“Like all my records, it is still a testament to who I am at the time,” says Chambers, whose new album shows she still has the ability to tap into raw emotion.
On Bittersweet, Chambers teams with some old and new faces enlisting former Powderfinger frontman, Bernard Fanning and acclaimed singer songwriter Dan Kelly to join the band. Her dad. Bill, contributes to backing vocals and good friend and long time band member Ashleigh Dallas co-wrote the first single, Wheelbarrow.
“I tried to do something different with this album as it signifies a new chapter in my life. I’m sure people will expect it to be a depressed divorce album but it’s not. I really am a positive person but the funny thing is the title song Bittersweet is one of the saddest songs on the album,” says a laughing Chambers, who wrote half the record before the divorce and the other half after.
Chambers split from her husband Shane Nicholson two years ago after eight years of marriage but, in true Kasey style, she remains philosophical.
“I believe you learn more from the negative things than the positive things in your life,” she says of her new journey and becoming a single parent. “My writing allows me to reflect and use my creative world as an outlet and my new beginning is also reflected in the album.”
Chambers says she learnt a lot about herself as a mother, as a partner and as a failure, with Bittersweet a way to step outside the box and reflect the changes in her life.
“I wasn’t positive every day. Some days I would wake up and be sad but it’s not my personality to stay that way and eventually I started looking on the bright side. Life is not about being happy all the time but I do believe in positive energy. If you put good things out in the world it will come back to you.”
by MELISSA WALSH