Taking home ’Best NZ Country Song’ at the Golden Guitars for her hit “Stringing Me Along” and named a ﬁnalist for the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll for her song “Island”, she has been nationally recognized for her songwriting skill.
With a live show that is known for its intimacy, Jess envelopes listeners in a world of hushed but powerful expressions of emotion. Alongside musical partner Peter Hill, it’s not unusual for a room to be so still you can hear floorboards creaking.
The couple have toured New Zealand extensively and opened shows for visiting internationals such as The Fleetfoxes, Mark Lanegan (US), Newton Faulkner, K.T. Tunstall (UK) and Sarah Harmer (Can).
“Like Welch and Rawlings these two had the ability, with just two instruments, to keep their audience engaged – entranced is not too strong a word – for the better part of two hours.” Karl du Fresne.blogspot.com
Jess celebrated the independent release of her sophomore album Desire in Sept 2011.
A minimalist ode to love positively brimming with heart. The album reveals an artist stepping for the first time into the role of record producer and knowing exactly what she wants. Unhurried storytelling accompanied by guitars, mandolin and piano sets the album ﬁrmly in the modern alt-country/folk tradition and is a worthy successor to her previous work.
‘These are emotionally affecting songs made more powerful by their vocal and musical understatement…Chambers confirms her reputation as a singer of remarkable interpretive powers and a writer who brings insight and refinement to her lyrics” Graham Reid, Elsewhere.co.nz
‘Jess Chambers’ 2008 debut was full of mini-masterpieces from the depths of a haunted heart, and the follow-up is, if anything, even more affecting.’
Nick Ward, Nelson Mail
Born to an American mother and Kiwi father, Jess spent equal time growing up in sunny California and the chilly South Island of New Zealand. Initially making a name for herself featuring on the albums of NZ electronic music producers Rhian Sheehan, Module, and The Upbeats, she then ﬁrmly established herself in the local indie scene with the release of her debut solo album Jess Chambers and the Fireﬂy Orchestra (2008), garnering critical acclaim for her songwriting ability,
“Sweet soothing music from a rising local talent.” 4 out of 5 stars, The NZ Herald
“A splendidly lyrical and haunting piece of work…there’s no denying it’s brilliant”. Salient Magazine
Jess most popular collaboration to date has been with ‘The Woolshed Sessions’, a collective starring eight independent musicians and songwriters. The bands live show regularly sells out through word of mouth alone, and Jess plays an integral part in this success, bringing to the project her most up-lifting, almost pop ﬂavored songs to date.
“Hey You and Stringing Me Along have irresistible choruses that belie the heartache lurking in the lyrics.” Nick Bollinger, Radio NZ music critic
“A laid-back delight… It’s simple, elegant and heartfelt music, with gorgeous harmonies icing an already irresistible cake.” Grant Smithies of The Sunday Star Times
The Woolshed Sessions album was voted ‘Best Album Of 2008’ by TV3 News presenter John Campbell and nominated ‘Best Roots Album 2009’ at the annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.