Better Than Ever is the first release from NSW Central Coast singer-songwriter Chelsea Berman but she certainly isn’t new to country music, winning the Homegrown Songwriting Competition in 2015 and the Central Coast Country Music Festival Busking Competition in 2013, and becoming a finalist in the Australian Songwriters Association Songwriting Competition in 2014, 2015 and 2016. It’s appropriate, then, that this EP sounds like the work of someone who knows what she’s doing.
The EP contains five songs of country pop that showcase Berman’s skills – mainly, though, the star is her voice. She has a really lovely tone that sounds rounded and warm, and she treats the lyrics with respect. While she has a great range, there’s no showing off; the way these songs are presented completely suits the way they’re written, which is, of course, down to the producer as well as the artist.
Australian country music is always evolving, and there are now quite a few artists in the country pop and country rock genres. Lyrically those songs are different to traditional country, and often vocally too, but it seems that artists who want to write and sing authentically are attracted to country music because it allows them to do just that. Berman is clearly an artist who is creating from her heart, wanting to connect with an audience – and succeeding.
Better Than Ever is out now.