Chelsea Wilson talks Stonnington Jazz in South Magazine – Take Five
There are few people who know the Australian jazz scene better than Chelsea Wilson.
She wrote her first song at eight, played gigs as a teenager, studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, holds a masters degree in Arts and Entertainment Management and has held international residencies at jazz clubs all over the world.
In 2015, she played at Stonnington Jazz through her series Women of Soul, a string of performances celebrating female vocalists and songwriters. Now, Chelsea hosts her own radio show on PBS and is currently working on her second album. In other words, she’s more than qualified to be artistic director of Australia’s long-running Stonnington Jazz festival, now in its 12th year.
It’s Chelsea’s second year in the role and she’s pretty excited about it. “I’ve had an ongoing relationship with the festival, so it’s amazing to be the artistic director for the second time,” she said.
Her role is something of a dream job. Chelsea gets to book the musicians she plays on her radio show, while creating a program that reflects the diverse Australian jazz scene.
“My role is having a creative vision for the festival, and continuing the legacy of the festival as a champion of Australian jazz music, which really sets the festival apart from other jazz festivals around the country.”
This year, the festival has an inclusive focus, aiming to deliver a program that will entertain everyone.
“It’s a diverse range of genres within the jazz umbrella. As cheesy as it sounds, there’s something for everybody,” said Chelsea.
This year’s program includes album launches, workshops and shows designed to get the whole crowd involved.
“There will definitely be performance workshops. There will definitely be events that are all ages, that kids can get involved with, that professional musicians can get involved with, that complete beginners can get involved with.”
“There will be a mix of seated concerts for that traditional jazz audience where you’ll see some of Australia’s great legacy artists, but there are also elements of the program where dancing is encouraged,” she said.
“Even if people think they don’t really like jazz, they can come down and find something that they’ll like.”