A closer look at Teeth & Tongue's all-female Artist In Residence show

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Jess Cornelius tells us why she wanted to celebrate her own community.

Teeth & Tongue’s Jess Cornelius kicked off her Artist In Residence program with a big tribute to the female artists she loves.

Australia has an incredible music scene full of women doing wonderful, incredible things. I just really wanted to be able to celebrate that and represent that.

Jess Cornelius, Teeth & Tongue

“I really wanted to have songs in there that I had a bit of an emotional connection to, that I have loved for quite some time,” she says.

Cornelius has been a big part of the Melbourne music scene for a long time now and also wanted to celebrate that community as part of her show.

“I also wanted to play a lot of my friends. People from my community, my music community. The local artists that I love and know and go and see play in local bands,” she says.

“Australia has an incredible music scene full of women doing wonderful, incredible things. I just really wanted to be able to celebrate that and represent that.”

It’s nice to have great music to enjoy personally, but, for an artist, your peers’ quality of work can have a positive effect on your own drive and creativity.

“It pushes us all,” Cornelius says. “We’re not just inspired, we’re sort of driven. It’s a form of inspiration – the bar just keeps getting higher. You can’t just sit on your laurels, you have to keep pushing yourself musically and creatively.

“Everyone seems to be doing some new and interesting. Collaborating with other people within the community. It sort of challenging as well. It’s inspiring but it’s also challenging.”

Growing up, Cornelius was drawn to a range of women in music. One, which she didn’t get to in her show, gave her a new perspective on what a woman in music could be.

“Laurie Anderson was such a great counterpoint to women making commercial music or being held up as sex objects. She came to it from such a point of art. She’s an artist in the true sense of the word. She’s definitely been an influence.”

Vulnerability goes a long way to getting Jess’ attention these days.

 

“I am always attracted and drawn to people who really let you into their world and their headspace at that point of time,” she says. “Also a physical space, like with Sybille Baiyer, you are very much in her kitchen in that song. I admire that as a technique.”

“But also, I’m very interested in people who allow a lot of vulnerability in their music. Who say things that maybe you don’t even feel comfortable hearing or knowing about them. I love the way that, when you put them in a song and you present them as an artist, it’s sort of no longer you anymore.

“It’s challenging to listen to and to do it as an artist, but I feel it almost dissolves the effect or the pain or the ownership of that feeling or message when you put it into a song. You get rid of it. It’s out there now.”

If you asked Jess Cornelius about the one woman we had to hear right now, she’d tell you that you don’t have to look far.

“Sarah Mary Chadwick just had such an impact on me,” she says. “Her delivery is so singular and there’s so much space in her music, which is a rally brave thing.

 

“To make an entire record just on a Casiotone keyboard, with these pre-programmed beats and use only what you have and nothing else, I think that is remarkable. And emotionally it’s devastating and very, very courageous.”

Hear Teeth & Tongue’s first Artist In Residence program tonight from 10pm or listen anytime right here.

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