23 Sep 2017

Anatomy of a Scroll: Chelsea Jade, 'Life Of The Party'

From Anatomy of a Song, 2:20 pm on 23 September 2017

Chelsea Jade Metcalf and Leroy Clampitt dissect their Silver Scroll-nominated song 'Life Of the Party'.

"To me, 'Life Of The Party' is this bratty, sad girl song. I think of it as the most honest I've been - or the first instance of total honesty." 

Auckland born musician Chelsea Jade has been based in Los Angeles for the past year or so. It's the engine room of the pop music industry right now, and there's a growing group of New Zealander musos making a go of things there - Ladyhawke's Pip Brown, Liam Finn, Sam McCarthy of Kids of 88, Maddie North from So Below, The Naked and Famous, and songwriter/producer Leroy Clampitt, who has co-written this song with Chelsea Jade. 

"I remember the first time you said the lyric 'life of the party' and I was like, cracking up" says Leroy.

Because Chelsea Jade Metcalf is an introvert, and never likely to ever be the life of any party, especially not in the U.S.A.

"It's a different crowd to what we're used to in New Zealand." says Leroy. "They're very loud. I don't want to generalise my American friends, but they speak three times louder than they need to. And also they show a lot of enthusiasm, which is something I think we're all learning." 

"I think you're so right" agrees Chelsea. "The key thing to this song is like, even though you love Ellen DeGeneres and you really want to be in the audience of her show, as a New Zealander you'll never get in, because you just can't show the appropriate amount of enthusiasm. You're not wild enough." 

Since being in L.A. Chelsea Jade has approached her songwriting differently than she has in the past. With her Auckland trio Teacups, they'd write songs and then take them into the studio fully formed. As Watercolours, she'd start from a field recording, and painstakingly build tracks up by herself. In the last year, she's discovered a passion for co-writing, and has said it means leaving one's ego aside, and just serving the song. 

She's also been trying to write songs in a day - and 'Life Of The Party' was one of these, though Leroy would whittle the production away until the early hours of the morning.  

"I'd get an email at 3am, and it would be a version of the song. It would always have this 3am bombast about it. We dialled it back into the 7pm chill zone." 

But Chelsea says "In my mind, even though it's been described as something else, to me this is the most banger song I've ever written." 

Hear the other Silver Scroll 2017 finalists explain their songs:
  • Anatomy of a Scroll: Chelsea Jade, 'Life Of The Party'
  • Anatomy of a Scroll - Lorde, 'Green Light'
  • Anatomy of a Scroll: Bic Runga on 'Close Your Eyes'
  • Anatomy Of A Scroll: Nadia Reid, 'Richard'
  • Related Stories:
  • Who should win the 2017 APRA Silver Scroll?
  • Silver Scrolls 2017: top five announced
  • Chelsea Jade wins development award