INSPIRATION often strikes in the most unlikely places – Chelsea Wilson knows this well.
The Melbourne singer-songwriter was in the women’s clothing department of David Jones recently when music began to play in her mind.
“There was a little coffee stand there, which is so smart of DJ’s as you don’t need to leave the store to have your coffee, and I was waiting for my order when boom, I got this idea for a song,” she said.
“I had to get my phone out and start singing into it as I walked around the clothes.”
Wilson has devoted the past six months to composing tracks for upcoming album Chasing Gold – titled after a man accused her of being a gold digger – following on from her 2014 debut record, I Hope You’ll Be Very Unhappy Without Me.
“Most of my lyrics are very personal – about things that are happening to me,” she said.
“My first album is largely about failed relationships, but not all mine. Some songs are inspired by my parents’ divorce or friends’ relationship breakdowns.
“With girlfriends, we kind of share those experiences collectively: with my ‘bestie’, it feels like every break-up she has had, I’ve had with her.”
Wilson, artistic director of Stonnington Jazz Festival and producer of PBS radio’s Jazz Got Soul, developed a fondness for soul as a youngster by rummaging through her father’s records.
“There was no internet then: I’d come home from school and go through Dad’s record collection and that was the first time I heard Etta James,” she said.
“I really got into jazz when I studied it at the Central Queensland Conservatorium Of Music and was into the jazz scene for a long time, but once I moved back to Melbourne and saw such an amazing soul scene happening across Australia, my passion for soul was reignited.”
The sultry songbird, together with Perth’s Randa Khamis and Melbourne’s Stella Angelico, brings Women of Soul to Perth for the first time at Fringe World Festival 2017.
Celebrating the soul divas, the show features original songs, classics from the Motown and Chess record labels, and plenty of sequins and heels.
What: Women of Soul
Where: De Parel Spiegeltent, Perth Cultural Centre, Northbridge
When: February 16-18