A right royal show


Forget Prince Harry – Queenstown is getting its own taste of royalty as electro-pop singer-songwriter Princess Chelsea hits town.

Aucklander Chelsea Nikkel fronts the band which kicks off their world tour in the South Island this week before heading to Europe with gigs across Italy, France, Germany and England.

She’ll be on the road for the next three months.

The band’s second album, The Great Cybernetic Depression, is more cynical – she reckons her negativity is increasing with age.

Nikkel became an internet sensation with the release of The Cigarette Duet with mate Jonathan Bree.

It now has more than 19 million views on YouTube and helped build an international fan base.

“It was just a true life story growing up in New Zealand and I think a lot of people related to it,” she says after rehearsal.

She started in a punk band – which is where the name Princess Chelsea comes from. Touring with a bunch of blokes in a van it was inevitable they started calling her a ‘princess’. It stuck.

She reckons her personality is anything but princess-like. It’s all part of her stage character.

Princess Chelsea has a bit of swagger and allows for a more confident performance.

As far as sounds on the album – this one is more electronic and synthesiser-based. It also has a touch of retro, with Chelsea citing Madonna as one of her muses.

“It’s more like a mix of compositions rather than a structured pop song.”

She’s got a background in classical music which has left an imprint – particularly in the ballads.

The Princess Chelsea frontwoman is stoked about the world tour but admits you can’t beat playing to a home crowd.

She says playing gigs like the O2 Arena can leave you in a dream-like state.

But she has no plans to move across the globe and thinks being a Kiwi, and living in NZ, helps her write her music.

She hasn’t been to Queenstown since she was a kid. It’s a brief stop ahead of her European tour.

Princess Chelsea will play The Sherwood, tonight, Thursday April 30. Tickets, door sales only.