It feels like this Melbourne girl is about to hit her stride. Chelsea Wheatley – better known as Chela – launched her solo career in 2012. But she’s already making waves with her synth-pop electro tunes and audacious dancing, seen onstage and in her homemade video clips.
As well as releasing her debut EP, Romanticise, Chela’s been producing music with dance producer DCUP and LA producer Goldroom, who she recently toured with in the US.
Below, Chela chats to us about LA and touring. She also takes us through a few of her favourite moves from the popular How to Dance to The Zero Minimix, a clip she recorded herself in her bedroom.
Broadsheet: How do you describe your music?
Chela: Most people call it alt-pop, so I'll roll with that.
What are you doing in LA at the moment?
I'm living in West Hollywood, making experimental smoothies, writing music and playing shows around the US.
Who are you playing with? What band? I have a drummer here in LA by the name of Justin, he's very rock’n'roll and sometimes plays with a beer in his hand. I love that guy. I also have a couple of band-boy babes (Le Bruce and Rob Vasey) back in Australia but I may not be playing there with them until next year.
Are you touring?
I was recently touring the East coast of the US as a member of Goldroom's band, which was the first time I've been a hired tour muso. I was playing keys and singing, we had eight sold-out shows, 'twas wonderful. A real highlight was singing the song I collaborated with Goldroom on, Fifteen, to the audience and watching as they sung it back to me.
How do you describe your dancing?
Spirited and honest, I guess. Always coming from a very genuine and uninhibited place. I like a healthy mixture of choreography and improvisation too. I think the spontaneity is important in showing your true self, and losing it at the same time.
What other exciting things are coming up in the next couple of months? I have almost finished producing my next single Handful Of Gold. I'm excited about making the music video for it, which should be going into the works very soon! I'm also playing some shows in New York and Palm Springs in early August which should be a fun time. Oh, and I'm starting a No Lights No Lycra in LA very soon.
Chela’s Favourite Dance Moves:
Watch How to Dance to the Zero Minimix here. Chela takes us through her favourite moves.
1.37 – My head is so linked to the percussion here, zigzagging in time.
2.47 – This is a good example of how my ankles have a mind of their own.
3.33 – I like this for its shiftiness and fluidity, matching Dev Hynes' voice.
4.47 – I don't know how this happened, I guess I felt the sweet echoes of Ninja rippling off my arms.
4.54 – I love me some good kick therapy.