In the wake of Lorde’s phenomenal album Melodrama, Kirsten Johnstone takes a look at three other talented NZ women making great pop music.
I’ve loved everything she’s made in the last 10 years, from the twee-folk trio Teacups to her evolution as a solo artist through the pastel-coloured off-kilter electro of Watercolours, and now her unashamed widescreen dance-pop bangers under her first and middle name Chelsea Jade.
Since moving to Los Angeles 18 months ago, she’s been co-writing with producers including ex-pats Leroy Clampitt and Sam McCarthy (Kids of 88) which she says has taken the ego out of making songs.
Her friend Lorde asked when she was going to "be a lion" and release an album, sent her an embroidered ‘writing robe’ and set a deadline of three months to get the job done. Some of the resulting crop of songs were completely written in one day.
This one, released this week, is about “about indulging your feelings, especially when they're messy. It's about catching your own tears in your hands and washing your face with them. It’s about having an excess of emotion available for any occasion. It’s about unapologetic coping mechanisms and having a sense of humour about yourself, even at your most exposed”
The dot joining Chelsea Jade to the next artist Nakita is another ex-pat Kiwi Leroy Clampitt, known in some circles as the Prince Of Pirongia. He has produced his own music under the names Taste Nasa and Big Taste, but since living in L.A. is making a name as a writer and producer, most notably on the Grammy nominated Justin Beiber song ‘Company.’
He’s only 25 but already has a trademark sound. Listen for the warped backing vocals, whispy whirl of synths, and crisp electro-pop beats.
He returned home to work with Nakita Turner, who released an EP earlier this year. The pair has already tracked the follow-up.
The North Canterbury raised Nakita is just 18, but already had a measure of success when she produced an anti-bullying song, video and educational resource that has been used internationally. She was 15 at the time.
The EP 'Foolish Ones' is a sure-footed step in the direction of becoming a commercial radio staple.
Slightly confusingly there’s another NZ pop singer/writer on the rise with the moniker Nika - real name Olivia Nott. She’s the younger sister of Georgia and Caleb Nott (Broods) and has cameoed on one of their songs, as well as collaborating with local pop producers SACHI and Baynk.
Her second solo single, 'Real Fake Love' was released a couple of weeks ago. It came out of a writing and recording retreat for four emerging artists at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios, all paid for by Apple music (and only available on their platforms). Nott says it’s about “getting over the past and being a grown up”