Jess Chalker announces her debut full length album as a solo artist, Hemispheres, due November 5 via her own imprint 528 Records. Laced with guitar-driven hooks and retro synths, the stunning album — which received funding from the prestigious Australia Council for the Arts — dives into lyrical themes that explore the dichotomy between depression and hopefulness, self-doubt and self-love, and more, with Chalker’s expressive vocals slicing through at every turn. Pre-order the album now via Bandcamp (https://jesschalker.bandcamp.com). The London-based Australian artist has also shared her new single “Don’t Fight It” along with an animated lyric video, directed by Thomas Calder. The track was written by Chalker, Grammy-winning collaborator Rich Jacques and Martijn Tinus Konijnenburg, and co-produced across LA and London with Chalker and Jacques.
“There’s a bittersweetness to ‘Don’t Fight It’ that I love… It feels both joyful and sad to me,” notes Jess. “It was written at a time when I was going through some personal stuff, trying really hard to please everyone, not really knowing where I fit and becoming someone I wasn’t. In the end I really surrendered to that feeling of being lost, because acknowledging that made me realize I needed to change where I was going.”
Hemispheres was completed under the weight of the pandemic, as Chalker dealt with the loss of her day job and heartbreaking health issues at the same time. Like many others, she found herself spiralling, and Jess turned to music to find the creative outlet she needed. Collaborating with friends across Sydney, Los Angeles and London to finish her emotional album, she found much longed-for freedom too. “Releasing this album is terrifying and thrilling to me,” notes Jess. “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 has changed quite a lot. I’m not wasting any more time doubting myself.”
Prior to the release of “Don’t Fight It,” Chalker released album tracks “Dance in the Rain” and “West Hollywood” — the latter of which was named to Spotify’s Global Fresh Finds and Pop Hits playlists. Along with Chalker and Jacques, Hemispheres was co-produced / co-written by Dan Long (Local Natives, Pavement), Josh Humphreys (M83) and Ox Why (Chalker’s former We are the Brave bandmate); mixed by Billy Centenaro (Sara Bareilles, Lukas Nelson); and mastered by John Davis (The Killers, Lana del Rey).
Jess is best known as the former frontwoman for Australian new-wave duo We Are The Brave, and has been widely praised for her writing, production and vocals. She’s also a sought after collaborator who has worked with artists including Sam Fischer, Vintage Culture, Isamachine, Gold Kimono and Passenger. Chalker was also part of a GRAMMY-winning team that co-penned Lisa Loeb’s lead single on her kids record Feel What U Feel. Recently, she also composed the original track “Darkest Hour” for the Amazon Original show Panic, performed by Tate McRae.