Jacqueline edeling

How Lorde’s girlfriend Chelsea Jade became a star of the Kiwi musical exodus

Jade calls herself a “do-it-yourself artist” – being a soloist comes “with the privilege of being on your own timeline,” she says.

She’s embraced this do-it-yourself attitude for an array of artistic endeavors that being a visiting expat since 2015 has enabled. She has collaborated with and supported Los Angeles-based New Zealand artists, choreographed Aotearoa Music award-winning videos for Georgia Lines, wrote songs as a gun for hire for the Chainsmokers, Cxloe and others, and designed the album cover for the United States. Deafheaven’s vinyl.

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“I feel like my identity as an artist is almost without context,” she says. “You can hear it in the music. I’ve never been someone who can stick to a pattern. The songs all sound like they have me as a guideline, but I’m interested in a lot of languages. Lyrically, there’s a reaction to this transient point of view, which is a bit defensive and a bit withdrawn but craves intimacy.

The only Good taste from the new album testifies to this longing, recounting a sexual encounter with another partygoer in the hotel where Jade was living at the time: “And yeah, I’m miserable/ But oh, it’s such a mood to get sad/ To become sexual…”

It is one of 10 tracks on Weakness, a swirl of calypso beats and dynamic harmonies behind Jade’s sultry vocals, exploring a vaguely gothic pop landscape that has been carefully mapped out by Lorde.

Jade says she won’t be following her friend to New Zealand to live there anytime soon.

“I think of home as the place where I can make art well.”

Weakness is out now.

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