It’s been 20 years since Kasey Chambers released her debut solo album, and she admits she has some mixed feelings about it.
“Some days I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, and then other times it feels like 100 years,” she tells Mamamia.
Now 41 years old and a mum of three – sons Talon, 15, and Arlo, 10, and daughter Poet, six – Kasey says she’s done a lot of growing up over the past two decades.
“I was a teenager when I wrote The Captain, and I was such a different person,” she says.
“I’m such a different person now than I was two years ago. Sometimes I think I have it all figured out, and then I’m like, ‘I don’t know what the f*** I was doing last year.'”
As she’s gotten older, Kasey says she’s learnt to be a lot more relaxed about the things that don’t really matter.
“I think I care a little bit less… I try to do the best that I can, but I f*** it up a lot as well. But that’s all part of the journey,” she admits.
“Don’t let your mistakes and your f*** ups define you… You’ve got to make some mistakes and some bad decisions to find happiness.”
It was her previous tendency to care about things a little too much which inspired her hit single, Not Pretty Enough.
“I look at Not Pretty Enough, and that was written by me looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. We all have those days. But now I’m like, ‘Who gives a f***?’ It’s not that important,” she says.
“Back then it bothered me. Whereas now, I have fleeting moments where it bothers me – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a woman – but it doesn’t define me. And it doesn’t affect how my day or my week is going to go.”
And as a busy working mum, it’s safe to say Kasey probably doesn’t have as much spare time to fixate on the things that used to bother her in the past.
She says her own kids are having quite a normal upbringing compared to the one she had, which served as the inspiration behind her latest album, Campfire.
“I had a really unusual upbringing. I grew up in the outback and we travelled around the Nullarbor Plain. I basically spent my childhood living around a campfire. We’d have to hunt our food and then we’d cook it on the campfire,” she says.
“It was a really unusual upbringing, certainly different to the one my kids are having.”
And while you’re unlikely to catch her kids running around the bush with a bow and arrow, she does hope to instil the “same values” she had while growing up.
“From very early on, my mum taught us to be independent and not rely on other people to do stuff for you. That was very much part of my lifestyle growing up… I would like to think that I’m doing that for my daughter,” she says.
“I’m also teaching my kids not to rely on the material stuff. I grew up in a very minimalistic household… There are things that are way more important.”
Although she may be a household name in Australia, to her kids, Kasey is just mum.
“To be really honest with you, my kids don’t have a famous mum. I’ve tried to use that on them, and it means nothing,” she laughs.
“I don’t live the life of a celebrity, so the kids don’t see that a lot… I haven’t seen it a lot.”
She says they “appreciate” her job though – especially the perks that sometimes comes with it.
“Our family holiday last year was actually to Africa, because I was doing a tour there, so that was cool, being able to take them and show them the animals. I don’t know that we would have gotten to do that if it wasn’t for my job,” she admits.
And as she prepares to embark on a national tour next month, Kasey says being a mum and a touring musician can become a bit of balancing act.
Thankfully, her ex-husband, Shane Nicholson, is also a musician, so he understands the what it entails, and the pair work together to coordinate their schedules.
“I work out touring with my ex, so we’re not on tour at the same time. It’s that balance thing. Sometimes I’ll miss out on things because I’m on tour, but sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes I’ll have to not take gigs, too,” she says.
Kasey says being a mum has ultimately helped keep her grounded, in what can often be a crazy, fast-paced industry.
“You get to walk a red carpet, and someone might do your makeup, and you feel really glamorous, but the next day, you still have to get up and make the kids breakfast and get everything ready for school,” she says.
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It’s just one of the many life lessons her kids have taught her.
“My kids have taught me to live in the moment,” she says.
“Sometimes I feel like I look at the big picture too much, and it’s so overwhelming, but my kids teach me to just enjoy the moment you’re in right now.”
She says they also help her to appreciate the everyday things we so often take for granted.
“I love that my kids can find the beauty in whatever they’re doing right now. I see my six-year-old running just around the backyard, and she’s having the time of her life,” she says.
“You can just find happiness in the simple things in life, and my kids constantly remind me of that.”
Kasey’s new album, Campfire, is out now.
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