Chelsea Jade
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Chelsea Jade

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | MAJOR

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Alternative Dream Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Watercolours Takes Home A Tui"

Auckland musician Watercolours has won the 2012 Critics' Choice Prize as part of the lead-up to the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards on November 1.

Finalists Loui the ZU, Watercolours and Beach Pigs all performed at Auckland's Kings Arms last night in front of paying punters and a panel of 13 music critics.

Watercolours - the stage name of Chelsea Jade Metcalf - said she was honoured to take home the Tui award.

"I am completely blindsided by this win as all of the performers brought their A-game. It is encouraging to see the support there is for my music."

The Critics' Choice Prize, now in its third year, is designed to recognise and promote up-and-coming Kiwi music talent and potential future music awards winners.

Previous finalists include Kimbra, Home Brew and The Naked and Famous, who have all gone on to achieve success here and overseas.

"The panel has shown remarkable skill in picking future Tui winners in the past and I have no doubt they've got it right again this year - all three finalists looked and sounded fantastic and have great potential for the future," said RIANZ managing director Chris Caddick.

Watercolours receives a $10,000 recording and music video grant from NZ On Air and a $2,000 voucher from The NZ Rockshop.

The prize also includes mentoring sessions from music industry big-wigs like Brent Eccles Entertainment Ltd, Entertainment Accounting Services and McLaughlin Law. - Fairfax

"The Big Night 'The IT Girl' Critics Choice Winner of NZ Music Awards"

Distinctive, ethereal, artful, Metcalf is the singer with the voice of the moment. - Metro Magazine

"Who's Next?"

Fresh from an inspired NYC writing trip and an invitation to SXSW 2014 in Austin TX, WATERCOLOURS aka Chelsea Jade Metcalf releases her Portals EP on November 15 via Universal Music NZ.

Portals is a short archive of pop tunes derived from gathered field recordings - train sounds in Japan; oceans crashing; tap-shoe derived beats. Recorded at Red Bull Studios by Jeremy Toy (She’s So Rad, Opensouls) and Ben Lawson, and mixed at London’s Artillery Studios with Justyn Pilbrow (Elemeno P).

Beautifully crafted throughout, Portals includes the sweet-sounding ‘Last Night’, the Silver Scroll longlisted ‘Pazzida’, the whimsical, electronic brilliance of ‘Kyoto Train’ and current, love boat dream-pop hit ‘Sliders’.

“A portal is a descriptive invitation. When you barricade yourself inside until you’re sure everyone has looked away. That’s when you crack the door open”. - Metcalf

WATERCOLOURS has performed alongside international heavyweights including Cat Power, Dirty Projectors, Bloc Party and Broken Social Scene. In 2012, WATERCOLOURS was awarded ultimate local accolade, the New Zealand Music Awards Critics Choice Award, and also the first recipient of's ‘Wild Card’ Making Tracks grant.

To celebrate the release of Portals, WATERCOLOURS will be performing at Alleluya Cafe in Auckland on November 14 with support from Forest Spirits and November 15 at Mighty Mighty in Wellington, supported by Signer (Glass Vaults).

An exciting collaboration with fashion label Liam is planned for early 2014 alongside a performance at Auckland’s Laneway Festival. - Rip It Up Magazine

"Acts To Watch in 2013 - Paint By Numbers"

She calls herself a jack of all trades, master of none and claims to be musically incompetent. The critics disagree, however, as Watercolours, she's been creating quite a stir with her ethereal dream-pop and stylish stage shows... - Redbull Bulletin

"Life Is A Pop Dream"

Writer, singer, dancer, photographer, musician. Reformed sleepwalker. Big Apple obsessive. Enigmatic blogger. Art school refugee. Stern romantic. Night swimmer. Unironic wearer of capes.

What a remarkable woman Chelsea Jade Metcalf is. On the phone, I find her unexpectedly thoughtful, articulate and funny, then a publicist emails through her photograph and I discover she is also beautiful. Others have noticed this, too, and to the above list of talents we must also add "model".

But today, we have convened to discuss Metcalf's musical alter-ego, Watercolours. Her "proper debut EP", Portals, has just been released, the follow-up to an earlier remix collection. She's also on the bill to play at Auckland's upcoming Laneways Festival, and fits that event's brand perfectly in that her music has an art-damaged underground pop aesthetic and sounds very much like an independent release, even though it's on giant global label Universal Music.

Portals is a pearler of a record. Made in collaboration with former Elemeno P guitarist Justyn Pilbrow, SJD/Dimmer alumnus James Duncan and She's So Rad producer Jeremy Toy, the Watercolours sound is a thrilling compound of hefty drums, swirling electronic sounds, sampled field recordings and a voice that's on the right side of ethereal, by which I mean a distant hovering thing, otherworldly and indistinct, though thankfully a million miles from the foggy New Age whisperings of Enya... - Sunday Star Times

"Watercolours 'Portals' EP Review"

Last year she won the 2012 Critics' Choice Prize, and a year on, Chelsea Jade Metcalf, the woman behind the moniker Watercolours, is releasing her debut EP.

Six songs with a dreamy, light-fuelled palette are her first statement, and you can hear her sense of perfectionism - there's not a sound out of place in the multi-layered tracks.

She favours elements like gathered field recordings - trains, crashing waves, the fuzz of a finished record still turning, tap-shoe derived beats - synths, processed vocal harmonies, and angular, almost experimental guitar flourishes, rather than anything resembling the usual acoustic guitar accompaniment of female singer songwriters. And it works.

She somehow manages to create upbeat heartbreak on Last Night - "You try to sleep the sorrow gone", and Sliders is a seductive, groove-laden, rumination on shrugging off sadness. Danger Ocean is a blooming, sighing, love-lorn, sway-along, and Pazzida is a hope-filled, watercolour painting of an 80s celebration that bursts into life.

The weightlessness can occasionally threaten to let the songs float away entirely - there's a momentary sense of relief when a pulsating bass synth sounds kick in on Kyoto Train, and Metcalf's vocals could potentially have a little more bite (what happens when she lets rip?, you wonder).

But overall it's a beguiling, beautifully-formed first outing. 4/5 stars. - NZ Herald Timeout Magazine

"Face The Music"

Chelsea Jade Metcalf’s own description of her solo project Watercolours as “power lines against the sky and freshly laundered sheets“ sums up the 24 year old’s thought provoking sound, combining her ethereal vocals with a backdrop of ambient sound that will no doubt be reflected in a forthcoming collaboration with fashion designer Emily-Miller Sharma from Liam, a label for which Metcalf is also an ambassador for. “We’ve embarked on a collaborative process of developing a wardrobe to align with a release I’m toiling on for early next year. The content and sound are in cahoots with the concept of the garments. It’s very exciting.”

Preferring to don pants and flat shoes while performing, Metcalf explains that she needs clothes that “allow for maximum full-body-flailing.” After winning the New Zealand Music Awards Critic’s Choice prize last year, she is looking forward to releasing new material soon. “The record I finished during April in London has been fractured into two E.Ps and they’ll come out in quick succession starting in mid-November. Meanwhile, Boycrush and I are putting out a dual single combo in September.”

Most influential records: “Jenny Lewis’ Rabbit Fur Coat record defined my taste so aptly in high school that my friend and I attempted to cover the entire album, recording the songs with a Skype headphone into the questionable Windows Sound Recorder. Some of it is still on Youtube. No shame.” - NZ Herald Canvas Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Chelsea Jade (formerly Watercolours) combines “sweet and sour see-saw songs; a protracted negotiation between discomfort and beauty, buoyancy and heft” - Grant Smithies, Sunday Star Times, Nov 2013

Chelsea has performed alongside international heavyweights; Lorde, The Veils, Cat Power, Dirty Projectors, Bloc Party and Broken Social Scene. In 2012 Chelsea was awarded ultimate local accolade, the NZ Music Awards Critics Choice Award, and it was also the first recipient of's ‘Wild Card’ Making Tracks grant.

On the cusp of 2012/13, Chelsea Jade released debut EP Over and Under, as well as a beautiful video accompaniment to single 'Pazzida', directed by filmmaker Alexander Gandar. Over and Under has been expertly remixed by accomplished musicians Haz’Beats, James Duncan, DPTRCLB, Jeremy Toy (She’s So Rad) and Boycrush.

Chelsea’s most recent New Zealand release EP Portals (Universal NZ) is a short archive of pop tunes derived from gathered field recordings - train sounds in Japan; oceans crashing; tap-shoe derived beats. Portals was recorded at Red Bull Studios by Jeremy Toy (She’s So Rad, Opensouls) and Ben Lawson, and mixed at London’s Artillery Studios with Justyn Pilbrow (Neighbourhood)

“Portals is a considered showing from a curious and ever evolving creative talent” Martyn Pepperell,

"Beguiling, beautifully-formed first outing” – Lydia Jenkin, NZ Herald

A unique collaboration with good pal and fellow kiwi Boycrush resulted in the release of  ‘Secrets’ and ‘Soft Teeth’ a double 7‘ inch vinyl in December last year. Recorded at the Lab, both produced by Alistair Deverick and mixed by Bevan Smith.

Portals has since been released in Japan via Rallye (Au Revoir Simone, The Whitest Boy Alive, Lacuna, Silver Sun and Sally Seltman).

Her second EP Beacons was written and recorded between The End studios in New York and the Redbull Studio in Auckland with Ben Lawson. Co-produced by Chelsea, Justyn Pilbrow and Jackson Hobbs. Beacons is set to be released in NZ in October this year.

Currently, Chelsea is preparing to perform at CMJ showcases' in New York in October, followed closely by a trip to Tokyo to attend as the only NZ representative at the Redbull Music Academy in November. 

Band Members