I’m gonna love you from the soft spot
Where the fruit begins to rot
Quietly, Chelsea Jade spent 2020 and 2021 skulking around other people’s projects. In tandem with these collaborations, Jade has been funneling her skills into her new album Soft Spot–adding animator, video editor, producer and engineer to her prolific creative résumé.
You can catch her as a dancer in Lorde’s “Mood Ring” music video, or in the credits as Deafheaven’s graphic designer for their 2020 vinyl release 10 Years Gone. She’s choreographed Aotearoa Music Award winning videos for Georgia Lines (“No One Knows,” “I Got You”) as well as Los Angeles based Trace Le. Over the years, she’s written songs for artists like The Chainsmokers, Cxloe and more. While it’s not unusual to collaborate in music, it might be considered rare to work with a diverse roster of artists in so many different ways.
Soft Spot’s first single “Optimist” is a calibration of these skills, passing pop through a lens tinged with R’n’B, an ongoing theme through the record. Made with longtime friend Leroy Clampitt (Justin Bieber, Madison Beer), “Optimist” is a swirling dream of longing and melancholy, where upright bass is smeared instead of plucked. Flutes and saxophones guide the airy vocal, birds sing and then scream over the course of its arc. Taunting into a candy-coated hypnosis, “Optimist” contains the record's thesis statement: “I’m gonna love you from the soft spot, where the fruit begins to rot”.
“This area of the throat,” says Chelsea Jade, resting three fingers roughly where her neck meets her chest. “It’s particularly soft, and it's connected... it's halfway between the heart and the mouth. And that's an interesting place of vulnerability.”
The record ventures beyond the exploration of delusions of grandeur that formed the focus of the critically acclaimed Personal Best (2018), a record that enjoyed two years on the shortlist for the APRA Silver Scroll Award for excellence in songwriting for “Laugh it Off” and “Life of the Party”, respectively. Now, Soft Spot aims from rougher terrain. A sonic sketchbook, Chelsea’s production falls on the textural side, a panorama littered with field recordings and conversations with friends as you travel through the record.
Born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand, Chelsea has been living in Los Angeles for 6 years and has recently moved to Brooklyn. Her work can be heard in Emily in Paris, Dickinson and most recently, Mindy Kaling’s HBO show The Sex Lives of College Girls.