London-based Australian artist Jess Chalker makes a powerful debut as a solo performer with her ten-track album, “Hemispheres,” released on November 5 under her own imprint, 528 Records. The album, generously supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, is a captivating journey through the emotional dichotomies of life, expertly navigated by Chalker’s expressive vocals, which cut through the mesmerizing blend of guitar-driven hooks and retro synths.
The album’s lead single, “Don’t Fight It,” is a shining example of Chalker’s ability to convey bittersweet emotions. Written by Chalker, Rich Jacques, and Martijn Tinus Konijnenburg, and co-produced across Los Angeles and London with Grammy-winning collaborator Rich Jacques, the track captures the delicate balance between joy and sadness. Chalker’s introspective lyrics, combined with the track’s ’80s-inspired electro-pop production, create a sonic landscape that is both nostalgic and fresh.
With its completion during the difficult pandemic years, “Hemispheres” is an embodiment to Chalker’s inventiveness and fortitude. Dealing with the loss of her day job and facing various health challenges, Chalker turned to music as a therapeutic outlet. Collaborating with friends across Sydney, Los Angeles, and London, she found solace and freedom in the creative process, resulting in a deeply personal and emotionally charged album.
Chalker’s candid reflection on her journey adds another layer of authenticity to the album. She shares, “Releasing this album is terrifying and thrilling to me. I grew up in a culture that discouraged individual success, but after the year we’ve all had, my perspective on things has changed. I’m not wasting any more time doubting myself.”
The album’s tracks, such as “Dance in the Rain” and “West Hollywood,” showcase Chalker’s prowess in songwriting and production. The latter earned a spot on Spotify’s Global Fresh Finds and Pop Hits playlists, indicating the widespread appeal of Chalker’s music.
Collaborating with a talented team, along with Chalker and Jacques includes co-producer / co-writer Dan Long (Local Natives, Pavement), Josh Humphreys (M83) and Ox Why (Chalker’s former We are the Brave partner); mixed by Billy Centenaro (Sara Bareilles, Lukas Nelson); and mastered by John Davis (The Killers, Lana del Rey), Chalker has crafted a sonically rich and emotionally resonant album.
As the frontwoman for the acclaimed Australian new-wave duo, We Are The Brave, and a sought-after collaborator, with a Grammy-winning background and a diverse portfolio of collaborations, including work on Lisa Loeb’s children’s record and the original track for the Amazon Original show Panic, Jess Chalker’s solo venture establishes her as a singular talent to watch.
‘HEMISPHERES’ TRACK LISTING
01 Stupid Trick
02 Dance in the Rain
07 Don’t Fight It
06 West Hollywood
09 Cover fire