Courtney Barnett

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Courtney Barnett
Barnett performing in May 2018
Barnett performing in May 2018
Background information
Birth nameCourtney Melba Barnett
Born (1987-11-03) 3 November 1987 (age 32)
Sydney, Australia
OriginMelbourne, Australia
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active2009–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websitecourtneybarnett.com.au

Courtney Melba Barnett (born 3 November 1987) is an Australian singer, songwriter, and musician. Known for her deadpan singing style and witty, rambling lyrics,[1] she attracted attention with the release of her debut EP, I've Got a Friend Called Emily Ferris. International interest came with the release of The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas in October 2013.[2]

Barnett's debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, was released in 2015 to widespread acclaim. At the 2015 ARIA Music Awards, she won four awards from eight nominations. She was nominated for Best New Artist at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards and International Female Solo Artist at the 2016 Brit Awards.[3][4] In 2017, she released Lotta Sea Lice, a collaborative album with Kurt Vile.[5][6] Her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, was released in 2018 to more acclaim.[7]

Early life[edit]

Courtney Melba Barnett[8] was born in Sydney on 3 November 1987.[9] Her middle name comes from opera singer Nellie Melba. She grew up in Sydney's Northern Beaches area. Her mother was a ballerina.[10] When she was 16, her family moved to Hobart. She attended St Michael's Collegiate School and the Tasmanian School of Art.[11] Having grown up listening to American bands, she discovered Australian singer-songwriters Darren Hanlon and Paul Kelly, which inspired her to start writing songs.[12] While pursuing a music career, she worked as a pizza delivery driver.[13]

Career[edit]

Barnett performing in March 2015

From 2010 to 2011, Barnett played second guitar in Melbourne garage grunge band Rapid Transit. They released one self-titled album on cassette, which is now a rare collector's item. Barnett also recorded many early versions of her songs with a band called Courtney Barnett and the Olivettes, which was later shortened to The Olivettes.[14] They released a live EP demo CD, with only 100 copies being produced which were hand numbered.[15] Between 2011 and 2013, she was a member of Australian psych-country band Immigrant Union, a musical project founded by Brent DeBoer (of The Dandy Warhols) and Bob Harrow. Along with sharing vocal duties, Barnett predominantly played slide guitar and is on the band's second studio album, Anyway. DeBoer also played drums on Barnett's first EP, I've Got a Friend called Emily Ferris.[16] It appeared in 2012 on Barnett's own label, Milk! Records.

Barnett performing in March 2016

In 2013, Barnett played lead guitar on Jen Cloher's third studio album, In Blood Memory, which was also released on Milk! Records. Following the release of her first EP, Barnett signed to Marathon Artists (via its imprint House Anxiety). In August 2013, Marathon Artists released The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, a combined package of Barnett's first EP and her second EP, How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose.[17] The Double EP brought Barnett international critical acclaim, with "Avant Gardener", the lead single, named Track of the Day by Q Magazine and Best New Track by Pitchfork in 2013.[18][19] It was named the album of the week by Stereogum[20] The track "History Eraser" was nominated for the APRA Song of the Year.[21] How to Carve a Carrot into a Rose was released on a limited run by Milk! Records as a standalone EP in October 2013. Marathon Artists and House Anxiety partnered with Mom + Pop Music for the U.S. release of The Double EP in 2014.[22]

Milk! Records released a compilation EP, A Pair of Pears (with Shadows), on 10" white vinyl in September 2014, following a crowd-sourcing campaign in July that year. The EP included a Barnett track, "Pickles from the Jar", the song was voted in at number 51 in Triple J's Hottest 100 for 2014.[23]

On 30 January 2015, Barnett released details on her upcoming full-length album, recorded in April 2014 with Burke Reid, along with two singles, "Pedestrian at Best" and "Depreston" and accompanying music videos. The music video for "Pedestrian at Best" features Cloher and Fraser A Gorman. Her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, was released worldwide via Milk! Records (Australia), Marathon Artists / House Anxiety (UK & Rest of World),[24] and Mom + Pop Music (US) on 23 March 2015,[25] and was accompanied by tours in the UK and Europe, America, and Australasia.[26][27]

Barnett performing in April 2016

Sometimes I Sit and Think was met with critical acclaim,[28] The Guardian,[29] The Times,[30] Pitchfork[31] and the Chicago Tribune.[32] Up until the release of Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett, Bones Sloane, and Dave Mudie toured as Courtney Barnett and the Courtney Barnetts.[10][33][34]

In August 2015, Barnett's UK label, Marathon Artists, in partnership with Mom + Pop Music and Milk! Records, launched a global, guerilla campaign for the release of her single Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party.[35] Billboards and posters bearing the song's title went up in London, New York, LA, Melbourne and Sydney.[36] The campaign garnered a lot of interest online and across social media and culminated in a surprise busking gig in Camden, London.[37]

In concert, Dan Luscombe (of The Drones) has often played lead guitar and keyboards, having featured on both, How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose and Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, the latter of which he also co-produced. When Luscombe was not available, the band performed as a trio, with Barnett handling all guitar duties. Luscombe did not play on Barnett's 2015 tours, however, and she now refers to the band as the "CB3" on her Facebook page. The CB3 moniker also features prominently on drummer Dave Mudie's bass drum.

Barnett performing in June 2019

Barnett was nominated in eight categories at the ARIA Music Awards of 2015, and won four trophies: Breakthrough Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Independent Release and Best Cover Art for Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.[38] At the end of 2015, Barnett was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category.[39] She was later nominated for Best International Female in 2016 for the Brit awards.[40] On 21 May 2016, she was the musical guest on the season finale of Saturday Night Live's 41st season, hosted by Fred Armisen.[41] In January 2016, Barnett appeared on the cover of Australian music magazine, Happy Mag.[42] And on 27 May 2016, she was the musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

In 2017, Barnett and Kurt Vile recorded the collaborative album Lotta Sea Lice, released via Matador Records, Marathon Artists and Milk! Records on October 13.[43][6] Some of the album collaborators include Stella Mozgawa, Mick Harvey and the Dirty Three's Mick Tuner and Jim White.[6] The lead single "Over Everything" was released on August 30, 2017 accompanied by the music video directed by Danny Cohen. "Over Everything" initially sparked the pair's collaboration, after Philadelphia-based Vile wrote the song with the Melbourne-based Barnett's voice in mind.[6] The second single "Continental Breakfast" was released on 26 September 2017. In June 2017 Vile and Barnett announced a North American tour. The duo was backed by the Sea Lice, a band featuring Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag), Rob Laakso (The Violators, The Swirlies, Mice Parade), Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint), and Katie Harkin (Sky Larkin, touring member of Sleater-Kinney and Wild Beasts).[44][45]

On 12 February 2018, Barnett teased a new album on her social media accounts, featuring Barnett trying out various musical instruments with the clip ending with the tagline Tell Me How You Really Feel.[46] Barnett released the singles "Nameless, Faceless", "Need A Little Time", "City Looks Pretty", and "Sunday Roast" from her sophomore solo album, which was launched at a private function at Sydney's Lansdowne Hotel in April 2018 and emceed by ex-Go-Between Lindy Morrison. The album was eventually released on 18 May 2018 and titled Tell Me How You Really Feel. The album dealt, in part, with Barnett's thoughts about isolation in the social media age.[47] "City Looks Pretty" was featured on the soundtrack of the video game FIFA 19.[48]

In 2019, she was added to the bill of Woodstock 50, but the festival was cancelled in May.[49]

Equipment and playing style[edit]

Barnett plays left handed, using mostly left-hand constructed guitars, with standard tuning and string order for left-handed players (low strings at top, high strings at the bottom).[8] She occasionally plays right-handed guitars flipped upside down, but does not prefer it. She learned to play on acoustic guitars, and disliking the sound of a pick, developed her own method of fingerstyle guitar which she later translated to use on the electric guitar. She is capable of using a pick (and claims she could probably play better with one), but prefers to play with just her fingers, strumming with both her thumb and index finger on rhythm parts, and using her index finger as one would use a pick for lead parts. She prefers to play in standard tuning, but has used open G tuning for slide guitar.[50]

Among her guitars she uses for performance and recording are a Harmony H59, and a number of Fenders, including Jaguars, Stratocasters, and Telecasters, which she strings with Ernie Ball Power Slinky strings in the 0.011−0.048 gauge. She plays through Fender Hot Rod Deville and Fender Deluxe amplifiers, with a number of effects pedals, including a Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal, a "cheap delay pedal", and a chorus pedal.[50][51]

Personal life[edit]

Barnett was in a relationship with fellow musician Jen Cloher from 2012 to 2018.[52][53] The song "Numbers" was co-written by Barnett and Cloher about their relationship. Barnett's song "Pickles from the Jar" also details their relationship, and Cloher is mentioned in the first line of "Dead Fox". Barnett called Cloher a "huge constant influence" on her music.[54] She also played guitar in Cloher's band from 2012 to 2018.

Backing band members[edit]

Barnett performing with her band in Brisbane, Australia in August 2018. From left to right: Katie Harkin, Barnett, Dave Mudie and Bones Sloane.

Current members

  • Bones Sloane – bass, backing vocals (2013–present)
  • Dave Mudie – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2013–present)

Former members

  • Alex Hamilton – guitar, backing vocals (2012–2013)
  • Dan Luscombe – guitar, keyboard, backing vocals (2013–2014; session/touring member 2017)
  • Pete Convery – bass (2012–2013)

Session/touring members

  • Katie Harkin – guitar, keyboard, backing vocals (2018–present)
  • Kim Deal – guitar, backing vocals (2017)
  • Kelley Deal – backing vocals (2017)

Discography[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

APRA Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient / Nominated Work Award Result
2016 Courtney Barnett Songwriter of the Year Won
"Pedestrian at Best" Song of the Year Nominated

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. Barnett has won 6 ARIA Music Awards from 20 nominations.[38]

Year Recipient / Nominated Work Award Result
2014 "Avant Gardener" – Charlie Ford (Director) Best Video Nominated
2015 Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Best Cover Art Won
Best Independent Release Won
Album of the Year Nominated
Best Rock Album Nominated
Courtney Barnett Breakthrough Artist Won
Best Female Artist Won
Best Australian Live Act Nominated
"Pedestrian at Best" – Charlie Ford (Director) Best Video Nominated
2016 Courtney Barnett Best Australian Live Act Nominated
"Elevator Operator" – Sunny Leunig (Director) Best Video Nominated
2018 Tell Me How You Really Feel Album of the Year Nominated
Best Female Artist Nominated
Best Rock Album Won
Best Independent Album Nominated
Lotta Sea Lice (with Kurt Vile) Best Adult Contemporary Album Nominated
Best Video Danny Cohen and Courtney Barnett - "Need a Little Time" Nominated
Best Australian Live Act Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How You Really Feel National Tour Nominated
Producer of the Year Barnett, Dan Luscombe & Burke Reid for Tell Me How You Really Feel Nominated
Engineer of the Year Burke Reid for Tell Me How You Really Feel Won

Australian Music Prize[edit]

The Australian Music Prize (the AMP) is an annual award of $30,000 given to an Australian band or solo artist in recognition of the merit of an album released during the year of award. The commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015[55] Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Australian Music Prize Won
2018[56][57] Tell Me How You Really Feel Australian Music Prize Nominated

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient / Nominated Work Award Result
2016 Courtney Barnett Best New Artist Nominated

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Recipient / Nominated Work Award Result
2016 Courtney Barnett International Female Solo Artist Nominated

AIR Awards[edit]

The Australian Independent Record Awards (commonly known informally as AIR Awards) is an annual awards night to recognise, promote and celebrate the success of Australia's Independent Music sector.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
AIR Awards of 2013[58][59] Courtney Barnett Breakthrough Independent Artist Nominated
"History Eraser" Best Independent Single/EP Nominated
AIR Awards of 2014[60][59] Courtney Barnett Best Independent Artist Won
"Avant Gardener" Best Independent Single/EP Won
AIR Awards of 2015[61][59] Courtney Barnett Best Independent Artist Won
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Best Independent Album Won
"Depreston" Best Independent Single/EP Won
"Pedestrian At Best" Nominated
AIR Awards of 2019[59] Best Independent Artist Courtney Barnett Won
Best Independent Album or EP Tell Me How You Really Feel Won
Best Independent Single or EP "Nameless, Faceless" Nominated

J Award[edit]

The J Awards are an annual series of Australian music awards that were established by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's youth-focused radio station Triple J. They commenced in 2005.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
J Awards of 2015[62] Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Australian Album of the Year Won
"Pedestrian at Best" Australian Video of the Year Nominated
J Awards of 2016[63] "Elevator Operator" Australian Video of the Year Nominated
J Awards of 2018[64] Tell Me How You Really Feel Australian Album of the Year Nominated

Music Victoria Awards[edit]

The Music Victoria Awards, are an annual awards night celebrating Victorian music. They commenced in 2005.[65][66]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2013 herself Best Female Artist Nominated
"History Eraser" Best Song Nominated
2014 herself Best Female Artist Won
"Avant Gardener" Best Song Won
2015 herself Best Female Artist Won
herself Best Band Won
"Pedestrian at Best" Best Song Nominated
"Depreston" Won
Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit Best Album Won
2018 herself Best Female Musician Won
herself Best Solo Artists Won
herself Best Live Act Nominated
"Nameless, Faceless" Best Song Nominated
Tell Me How You Really Feel Best Album Won
2019 herself Best Female Musician Nominated
herself Best Solo Artist Won
2020[67] herself Best Solo Artist Nominated

National Live Music Awards[edit]

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
National Live Music Awards of 2016[68] herself International Live Achievement (Solo) Won
National Live Music Awards of 2017[69][70] herself Best Live Voice of the Year - People's Choice Nominated
National Live Music Awards of 2018[71][72] herself International Live Achievement (Solo) Won
National Live Music Awards of 2020[73] herself Live Guitarist of the Year Pending

Sweden GAFFA Awards[edit]

Delivered since 2010, the GAFFA Awards (Swedish: GAFFA Priset) are a Swedish award that rewards popular music awarded by the magazine of the same name.

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2019 Herself Best Foreign Solo Act Nominated [74]
Tell Me How You Really Feel Best Foreign Album Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Newstead, Al (4 October 2013). "It's An Aussie Invasion, Local Artists Making Waves Overseas". Tonedeaf. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  3. ^ "Courtney Barnett & Tame Impala Nominated In 2016 Brit Awards". TheMusic.com.au. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Awards". Grammy.com. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett Reveal Details About Their New Joint Album". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "See Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett's Deadpan 'Over Everything' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Courtney Barnett Announces New Album and Tour, Shares New Song: Listen | Pitchfork". Pitchfork.com. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Courtney Barnett on What Makes Her Different". That Music Magazine. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  9. ^ "SXSW: Indie 'it' girl Courtney Barnett is bracing for the backlash". Thestar.com. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Courtney Barnett @ Osheaga 2014". 7 August 2014 – via YouTube.
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  13. ^ Lam, Lee Tran. "Courtney Barnett: How I eat". Gourmettraveller.com.au.
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  47. ^ Greenhaus, Mike https://relix.com/articles/detail/you_must_be_having_so_much_fun_everythings_amazing/ Relix
  48. ^ "FIFA 19 Soundtrack, featuring Childish Gambino, Gorillaz, Logic, and More". Ea.com. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  49. ^ Roberts, Christopher. "Woodstock 50 Lineup Announced – Courtney Barnett, boygenius, The Black Keys, and More". Undertheradarmag.com. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
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  60. ^ "CARLTON DRY AIR AWARDS 2014 NOMINEES ANNOUNCED". speaker tv. September 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  61. ^ "1 Dads, Courtney Barnett Lead This Year's Independent Music Award Nominations". MusicFeeds. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
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  63. ^ "The J Award 2016". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  64. ^ "The J Award 2018". Triple J. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  65. ^ "Previous Nominess". Music Victoria. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  66. ^ "Previous Winners". Music Victoria. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  67. ^ "Industry Awards Winners And Hall Of Fame Inductees Revealed + 2020 Music Victoria Awards Nominees Announced With Public Voting Now Open!". Music Victoria. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  68. ^ "Nominees 2016". NLMA. 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
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  70. ^ "Winners 2017". NLMA. December 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
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  72. ^ "Winners of the 2018 NLMA". NLMA. December 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  73. ^ "Nominees announced for 2020 National Live Music Awards". NLMAs. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  74. ^ "GAFFA-priset 2019 – här är artisterna som ligger bäst till". GAFFA (in Swedish). Sweden. Retrieved 3 September 2019.

External links[edit]