For Melbourne Singer/Songwriter/Producer Miss Chess the stealth success of the release of her independent Christmas Single: Happy Jolly Very Extra Merry Christmas comes as a pretty significant moment for the results of what has been achieved in literally only one week since its last-minute official digital release!
Miss Chess is a multi-faceted industry professional in her own right with a myriad of ups and downs of an established career in arts and entertainment thrown in for good measure. She started in her teens as a young singer and comedic actress then moved to behind the scenes after returning from an overseas project of recording in New York with Tiny Tim when she was 20. She has spent a couple of decades writing, directing and producing hundreds of well-known TV ads in her production and media company, her jingle writing saw projects like Rays’ Outdoors and Pillow Pets get firmly implanted in our kids heads, and since the age of 16 she has always moonlighted as one of Melbourne’s most prolific Voice Over artists across our airwaves and she is still currently represented by Scout Management, one of the top VO agencies in Australia.
Miss Chess is known for songwriting across a broad spectrum of musical styles, her versatility and creative morphing images as a performer, but predominantly for her Orchestral Pop/Swing songs and performances with the perfect timeless touch of old-style Hollywood Glam!
Writing this Christmas song started as a simple act of love and kindness for one of my 7-year-old twin daughters, who during the world’s longest lockdown mirrored the feelings of a nation when she felt the solitude and anguish of having all her innocent civil liberties put on hold when she made the observation that “This year we ALL need more Christmas than ever!”
Chess says “ As a working single mum of three hoping to make a difference to the world in some way, I wanted to give my kids a lasting legacy of joy in this song, but now I almost feel like the accidental pop singer!”
“Time was totally against us in this production as during the lockdown studios weren’t permitted to open and my digital distributors had deadlines I just couldn’t meet for a Christmas release based on the lockdown restrictions. But I felt like I had angels on my shoulder, so I just took the plunge anyway and spent my own money over four solid weeks creating the track with my musicians via FaceTime sessions till we could book straight into Toyland Studios for our high-quality production values. I also called some industry friends and asked them to join in on the festive fun of the track. Most of my performer friends hadn’t worked since March 2020 to it was a welcome project to the ‘black-out’ they’d been experiencing on their main source incomes. And securing the crew from the Australian Children’s Choir was just the icing on the top of the creative cake.”
“It was such a feel-good to know everyone had a lot of fun and loved being part of a track they all believed in!”
I figured I had nothing to lose at the time, and everything to gain, so I’ll admit I negotiated extra hard for what was apparently an impossible task of a fast-track with the US digital distribution company, and then I leapt headfirst into a fast-tracked hands-on local marketing campaign.“
In today’s market, the success of a song often lays in the collection of Followers, Adds and Likes on Streaming Platforms. And with Spotify laying claim to approximately 36% of the global streaming market Miss Chess, who has a strong background in music and marketing, is thrilled with the results from an independent grassroots promotional campaign she has headed up without any major label backing. “I can’t believe we have gone from Zero Spotify followers a week ago to over 1200 today, and we are steadily growing on a daily basis and we don’t even know the additional numbers on the other platforms yet. It’s such a short time to have jumped with Real follows. But I want to emphasise that these are local REAL follows – there are not Bots or ‘bought numbers’ which I am ethically opposed to adding to figures just to look good out there! This is an independent release with no outside support other than the audiences out there choosing to listen and support us. We have had confirmation from the Ace Radio Network (Regional) that they are adding us to their Christmas playlists, but we have had so little press so far so all of this is a really successful start to the launch!”
Miss Chess is the first to admit that after a long break of more than ten years out of the entertainment industry she is pretty thrilled with the reaction of music fans and the highly encouraging uptake of her new Christmas Single. Although she has been in front of the camera plus behind the scenes of the industry a long time, she considers herself to now be like a completely new artist in the music marketplace starting from an almost empty fan base. Miss Chess only really re-entered the music industry just over a year ago performing mainly in very exclusive gigs for iconic identities like the Melbourne iconic identity, Captain Peter Janson, with his monthly private residence, invitation-only Soirees – where music legends like James Morrison, Mike Brady and a host of international musicians are often regular guest artists before she was asked by Ella Levy to host and perform in her 2019 Four Divas Show alongside three other international artists, including the Award-winning English-Russian child prodigy violinist Dunja Lavrova, from where an instant musical collaboration and friendship began for the pair, which you will hear in the stunning violin performance on this track.
Chess says “ Based on personal circumstances, I have a genuine connection and active interest in Mental Health and the advocacy of those affected by an industry that desperately needs more Government support, so this feel-good, Christmas ‘gift’ song of a Happy Jolly Very Extra Merry Christmas wraps up all the Christmas wishes and magnified sentiment you could hope for in one song with the view to putting a smile and goodwill in the hearts of listeners after one of the most difficult times in most people’s emotional well-being, triggered by this world pandemic.”
There are more creative productions in the pipeline. The song is planned for release in multiple languages for Christmas next year, with the Spanish version already completed in collaboration with local comedian Simon Palomares. Plus there is a new song for Mother’s Day planned to honour mums around the world, and plans are already in motion for producing an album of timeless sounding pop classics due for release late 2021 on her independent label, Gawjus Music Entertainment. The album is to be a collection of songs and collaborative duets, including a remix ‘revival’ of one of the duet singles Miss Chess recorded in her 20’s in New York with the infamous Tiny Tim of ‘Tiptoe Through the Tulips’ fame. Miss Chess’ performing name was actually inspired by her time working with Tiny Tim based on his famous way of always addressing the girls in his life with the word ‘Miss’ in front of their first names.
Happy Jolly Very Extra Merry Christmas’ is both a timeless and highly commercial Christmas tune that is family-friendly and appeals to all demographics. There is no doubt we will hear it return annually as a mainstay of the Christmas musical classics we hear each year on the radio waves – right there next to Wham and Mariah! (and in many more languages next year!)
The ‘friends cast’ includes: Frank Bennett (four-time ARIA nominee), Dunja Larova (award-winning British/Russian violinist), Tim Watson (a founding member of ARIA award-winning band Taxiride), Isabella Dunwill (actor and voice of Amy in Bananas In Pyjamas and Polvina in The Sea Princesses), Sarah C (R&B Soul singer/songwriter), George Kapiniaris (Actor/Musician, and also Australia’s beloved Memo from ‘Acropolis Now’), Maya Vice (Singer/songwriter, also in the Top 25 on The Voice 2013), Kamahi Djordon King (Aboriginal Australia’s Cabaret Performing Artist) and his female alter ego ‘Constantina Bush’ (Australia’s Premier Indigenous Showgirl), PLUS The Australian Children’s Choir (with Daniel Brinsmead, ACC Artistic Director).