Premiere: Meet CHEVALIER, who emerges into the spotlight with Scarlet Skies
Scarlet Skies is the second single from Melbourne's Chelsea Donoghue, who after five years of working with Ruel, knows her way around a song.
Over the last few years, we've spoken about musicians once typically seen only behind the scenes of your favourite popstars - songwriters and producers, mainly - blossoming into their own fully-fledged musicians, with artists like Leland (who works on all of Troye Sivan's work) and Australians such as Genes (whose work stretches between Young Franco and Kilter as a songwriter and session musician) launching their own projects with themselves in the limelight, often grappling with a similar degree of commercial success as the musicians they're often found behind.
We haven't gone too far beyond songwriters and producers, however - something Melbourne's Chelsea Donoghue is here to rectify. Over the last five years, Chelsea has been found behind Australia's viral-pop king Ruel both on-stage and in the studio, working with the runaway success story - who is quickly becoming one of Australia's international pop exports - as a vocal coach and backing musician across his quick, exponential rise. "I first met Ruel and his family when he was 12 and remember thinking he had the most incredible voice," she says. "I started working with him on his vocals, then soon after when the touring began, I started doing BVs for him and tutored him for his schoolwork also."
Skip forward to 2019, and Chelsea Donoghue is launching her own project CHEVALIER with its debut single No More and now, a little while later, she's entering 2020 with a second single under her belt: Scarlet Skies. Premiering on Pilerats today ahead of its greater release this Friday, Scarlet Skies is a deeper introduction to the rising musician who's just beginning to find her footings in the intricacies of playful pop music, showcasing the vocal she's become recognised for over the years and placing it on feature display above a shimmering production that amplifies it like it needs to.
"My producer Allan McConnell sent through a rough idea of what ended up being the song and I just vibed with it straight away," she says on the single, which arrives alongside an official video clip directed by Georgia Grant and Jenny Cahir, and on the Great Ocean Road seaside town of Port Arlington. "I remember first listening to it on my balcony in Fitzroy and the sky was a vibrant array of pink and red. I had just got back from a big tour with Ruel so I popped open a bottle of red, sat back in my egg chair and put the beat on loop. All the lyrics and melodies came out within about 30 minutes, it kind of felt like I was dreaming."
We're gonna let the music do the talking from here, but be sure to introduce yourself to CHEVALIER as you dive into the wonderful Scarlet Skies below:
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a 25 y/o pink-haired music lover, and almost lawyer. I’ve spent the last five years touring with Ruel as his BV and vocal coach whilst somehow managing to get my law degree underway (would not recommend, though my pal Illy did it and he turned out ok). I’m excited to be putting music out to the world that’s 100% me, it’s been a long time coming!
What’s the vibe music?
The vibe of this track is pretty chilled, lush and dreamy... It’s hard to pigeon hole it into a genre, I’ll leave that up to the people to decide! The idea of ‘genre’ feels pretty restrictive and inefficacious to me... I think most of us draw from a pretty broad range of ‘genres’ these days, but an underlying theme in all my songwriting is maybe an exploration of expansive vocal ranges and vocal qualities. I love playing with different tonal colours and just seeing where that takes me. My goal is always simply to make music that just feels good.
What are your production and writing processes like?
I’m always open to writing different ways, but generally, I like to give my producer initial direction of an overall feel/vibe I want to create. We then usually play around with different chords and sounds. Once I hear something I’m feeling, then we put that on loop and I start humming different melodies. Once I come up with melodies that are clicking, then I start playing around with different vowels that suit the rise/fall and natural emotion of those melodies... from those vowels, I then structure words around them... usually, the words then lead me to a concept that’s hanging around in the back of my head and it all comes together.
Can you tell us about your new single, Scarlet Skies?
This song is slower and more abstract than most others I’ve written. The underlying theme draws on lust, romance, passion and the energy two people can create. I think this one has a really nice mood and vibe, and I love Allan McConnel’s production on it, he really smashed it.
Any tour dates coming up?
Cannot comment just yet! But there will definitely be some shows coming.
What does 2020 have in store for you?
Writing will be a focus for sure, though I’m feeling very keen to get back on the stage, I love performing more than anything. 2020 will also be my final year in law school (fingers crossed) so lots of hard work ahead!
Where can we find more of your music?
I’m always active on my Instagram so you can find links to everything else there. My first single under this project dropped last year and that’s called No More if you wanna check it out, it’s on all DSPs!
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