Why Kasey Chambers should compete at 'Eurovision - Australia Decides'
Still in its infancy, 'Eurovision - Australia Decides' already has a reputation for welcoming to its ranks Australian music legends. Tania Doko, Vanessa Amarosi and Ella Hooper all come to mind. Kate Miller-Heidke, a familiar and beloved voice for almost 20 years, even took out the very first Australian national final in 2019.
Because of this, I am making the case for country music pioneer, ARIA Hall of Fame inductee and chart-topping singer-songwriter Kasey Chambers to be given the chance to represent Australia at the Eurovision Contest.
Her unique voice
There is no voice quite like the one that Kasey Chambers possesses: big, powerful and arresting.
She even makes fun of how divisive her voice can be, warning audience members at her shows when particularly 'screechy' songs are approaching in the set list.
And while that warbling cry is her signature sound, her instrument is far more versatile than is often credited: there's tenderness and fragility and longing and experience in that voice.
While her voice might not be to everyone's taste, it is both instantly recognizable and memorable and that's important at Eurovision where the three-minute time limit means you have very little opportunity to wrestle the attention of viewers.
You can imagine TV viewers saying, "I remember her voice!" during the voting recaps. Kasey's cause would be helped endlessly by her penchant for grabby lyrical hooks (see ‘Nothing At All’, ‘Pony’ and ‘We're All Going to Die Someday’).
If there's a criticism persistently aimed at Eurovision, it's that the Contest veers towards gimmick, and rewards style over substance.
But in recent years, the artists who've succeeded are the ones who've presented a product that feels authentic to them: Måneskin with their Italian glam rock, Jamala and her electro-folk history lesson, Duncan's piano power ballad.
The fact Kasey would probably bristle at the notion of taking part in a music competition is kind of why she'd be perfect: she'd hold firm to her sound and her artistry amid the Eurovision maelstrom. While she's tinkered with different genres over the course of her three-decade career, her brand of raw, relatable country-folk has been a constant.
Anyone who has ever been to a Kasey Chambers gig will have walked away feeling utterly charmed by her joie de vivre, and in awe of how music seems to emanate from ever pore of her being. Her home is the stage, so why would the Eurovision arena be any different?
A classic Australian story on stage
There is something quintessentially Australian about Kasey Chambers and her music.
Kasey's childhood was spent travelling the Nullabor with her family of musicians-turned-fox hunters, and her discography tells the story of a life connected to the Australian landscape. It's a fascinating tale to share on the world stage, one you can imagine enchanting the press pack at Eurovision.
Australian music is a diverse beast, but it has a long tradition of country singer-songwriters. Kasey stands on the shoulders of artists like Slim Dusty and Smoky Dawson, who developed a distinctly Australian take on the typically American country genre. Her brand of country would be a deserve addition to our growing list of Eurovision entrants, and one that tells the world something about our musical heritage.
The global popularity of country
The country genre has proven it works at Eurovision. The most obvious example is second-placed ‘Calm After the Storm’ by Dutch duo the Common Linnets. One half of that pairing, Waylon, returned in 2018 with another country stomper, which also succeeded in making the final. So too did this year's Estonian entry, 'Hope'. Don't forget the country undertones of 2015 winning song 'Heroes' or 2022 viral sensation 'SNAP'.
Some of the most successful artists in the world today are country artists - or artists who use country sounds in their music. That trend is sure to be replicated on the Eurovision stage in 2023, so why not give Australia's undisputed queen of country a shot at repping us in the UK?
A surprisingly contemporary sound
It's been 20 years since Kasey's breakthrough success with 'Not Pretty Enough' so it's easy to forget just how impactful it was at the time. She became only the second Australian woman to top both the ARIA album and singles charts at the same time, sharing the honour with Kylie Minogue.
That might feel like a generation ago (and it is!), but recent collaborations with some big name stars show she has major pulling power in the industry. Her work with Bliss N Eso stands out as an example of how her voice and musical style can be intertwined with something wildly different and current. Even Ed Sheeran popped up as a duet partner on on her 2017 double-length album 'Dragonfly', as did long-time friend Keith Urban.
Most remarkable of all is her recent cover of Eminem's 'Lose Yourself', taking one of the most famous rap songs in history and turning it into an epic, eight-minute Americana masterclass. It's proof she's as good now as when she first emerged on the scene.
You can find out more about Kasey Chambers at:
Read the cases other Aussievision team members have made for:
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