29 Sep 2018

Anatomy of a Scroll: Chelsea Jade, 'Laugh it Off'

From RNZ Music, 2:30 pm on 29 September 2018

Chelsea Jade describes her Silver Scroll nominated single Laugh it Off as being close to the epitome of what she wants to be as an artist.

“If I had a thesis statement on what I feel like I’m about as a writer and an artist it ticks so many of the boxes for me.” 

“I remember when I first started to do music, especially my own project, I had written down what I wanted to be - and it’s been just trying to get there and I feel like this is the closest to the fire that I’ve gotten to.” 

It was Chelsea’s first time working with American producer Brad Hale. When she went in to record at a North Hollywood studio, Chelsea only had the phrase “laugh it off” and the opening line “coming in hot but not so bright”. Brad says they were the launchpad for the song.

“It’s always kind of exciting thing to have someone come into a session with just a tiny morsel of an idea and see where it goes.” 

Aside from that, she had Womack and Womack’s Tear Drops “on repeat in my head.” 

In the track she sings about blowing off a person before they get a chance to hurt her, though she stresses it’s a jeering and self-deprecating stab at herself. 

“You know when you just lie in bed at night and you think ‘I should not have said that - what an idiot’ you just regret - it’s kind of like me making fun of that person that’s said lots of embarrassing things.” 

The line “Your love is in the liminal” refers another person’s feelings being unclear or uncertain.

“You can’t take this attitude of loving or not loving me so I just have to take this attitude of brushing you off basically. It’s the only way I can control the situation.”

RELATED: APRA Silver Scroll 2018 - Top 5 finalists announced

“That would be me with most romantic scenarios,” she laughs.

Chelsea says the chorus “Want my chest to keep it heavin’ / On the lighter side of feelin’ / I’m not going into grievin’ for you / So I’m just gonna laugh it off” was originally the bridge but Brad decided it was “too good” to be a bridge.

While a lot of artists and bands talk about the difficulty of writing a good bride, Chelsea finds the chorus more daunting. “I feel so weighed down by that process of making something very good,” she says.

A bridge, on the other hand, is more straightforward. “The bridge just doesn’t have that pressure on it and people are so lackadaisical about bridges in 2018,” she says.

“If I think academically about what a good bridge should be, I think of it like the point where you’re supposed to expose what you’ve been saying or like the feeling of what you’ve been saying. Where you’ve been coy in the rest of the song, you have to be very overt. If you’ve been kind of tepid, it’s time to be mean. If you’ve been mean, it’s time to be really vulnerable. It’s the opportunity in the song to contort what you’ve been saying in a different way.”

“I value a good bridge so much. I feel excited to tackle a good bridge,” she says.

Brad says one of his favourite moments in the song is the outro.

“I just want that to be playing behind me at all times in my life,” he laughs.

  • Chelsea Jade performs 'Perfect Stranger' with the St Mary's School Choir
  • The Sampler: Personal Best by Chelsea Jade
  • Music details:

    Artist: Chelsea Jade
    Song: Laugh it Off
    Composer: Chelsea Jade
    Album: Personal Best
    Label: Self released / Create Music Group