Chelsea Warner is a meticulous producer, songwriter, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and we’re excited to welcome her to the amazing roster of Studios 301 producers and engineers. We sat down with Chelsea to get to know her a little bit and find out more about what she’s up to and what inspires her:
Tell us a bit about your musical background
I have always been constantly drawn to anything and everything musical around me, and that eventually translated into learning keys, guitar, songwriting, production, singing + vocal production when I was in school. While studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music I found myself falling in love with jazz & neo-soul, becoming absolutely infatuated with Erykah Badu & D’Angelo, as well as old school hip hop, like A Tribe Called Quest & Slum Village. As I grew as a writer & producer, an early obsession with J Dilla ended up combining with my more modern R&B and pop influences, like Ariana Grande, SZA & Smino/Monte Booker, to create my current lane of R&B.
As both a writer/producer and artist, I naturally leave my musical fingerprints on whatever I work on, but I love moving in-between genres and helping other artists realise their visions, no matter what the style. Since I started working within the songwriting scene in Sydney, I’ve grown to love working on other artists’ music & being able to help with their storytelling just as much as my own.
Apart from being an amazing songwriter and producer, you’re also a multi-instrumentalist. What’s your main instrument of choice to get creative with?
When I write on piano it’s completely different to when I write on guitar. I have more theoretical knowledge of piano, so I often think a lot more technically and tend to understand what I’m playing and why it is/isn’t working. On guitar though, I see shapes more than I see actual chord voicings, so sometimes if I get experimental I end up with cool progressions and voicings that I have no idea what to call, which is fun.
How did you get signed to Universal Music Publishing and how did that change your career pathway?
I met Arwen Hunt (Vice President, Creative/A&R AU/NZ) at a guest lecture at my university. I bravely sent her some of my own demos and strangely enough, the relationship kind of snowballed from there & I ended up being thrown into heaps of writing sessions by the team at UMPG. Eventually I signed with them as a writer/producer/artist, and it helped me indescribably to get my foot in the door as a young writer and producer.
How do you approach the writing process? Do you have a go-to starting point?
I always start with chords or a sample, especially when I’m driving a writing session as a producer, and I love building up the harmonic elements first. If it’s just me writing with a guitar or at the piano, the chords and vocals always somehow come out together.
You’re in the middle of nowhere & inspiration strikes. What do you do?
Do I have a notebook or my phone to voice memo? If I have a way to record the idea, I’ll do that and probably finish the song then and there. It happens sometimes – a whole song just flows through you, and if you don’t grab it out of the air, it’ll float past you.
What are your production tools you can’t do without?
A sampler of some sort (I use the Ableton one but I want to get a physical one). Lately, Spectre by Waves Factory. And a midi keyboard – I’ve tried drawing things in or just not using keys-based instruments when I’m on the go or don’t have a keyboard for some reason, but I just really prefer being able to play some layers in.
You’re a versatile producer, songwriter, artist, multi-instrumentalist, beat producer, vocal arranger and more. Do you see yourself naturally adding more and more skills to your arsenal over time? What are some new skills you’re diving into at the moment?
Of course – I owe absolutely everything in my life to a general sense of curiosity and love of learning. I’m not satisfied if I don’t deeply understand something & I chase the feeling of constant growth. I really want to become a better mixer, so I would love to learn more about engineering and audio in general, as well as studio hardware.
Make sure to visit Chelsea’s Profile page to read more about her, listen to some of her work and book her for your next production.