“Lose Yourself,” Eminem’s single from his movie 8 Mile, was his first ever US #1 hit (and Diamond single) and, along with the movie, catapulted him to super-stardom. It was absolutely everywhere when it came out, but there are only a few dozen covers of the track. That’s likely because the song is both so tied up with Eminem’s own personal story and because some of the lyrics are literally about the plot of the movie.
Kasey Chambers is an Australian country singer who has been releasing albums for over 20 years and performing music since she was a child (she was a member of the Dead Ringer Band when she was 10). She also knows her way around a cover. She released a covers album in 2011 and her cover of “True Colours” was a Top 5 hit in her home country.
In June, she took on “Lose Yourself” in Newcastle, New South Wales. Gone is the delicate piano opening or the iconic, frenetic violins. Instead, she opens with just her banjo and voice, essentially abandoning the entire original arrangement. She isn’t joined by another bandmate until about 2 minutes into the performance. Then, 4 minutes in, the entire band comes in, jamming out the song as a rock band would, complete with a lap steel solo (seriously). At around 6:30 the band drops away for Chambers to let out a primal scream, screaming herself hoarse and clearly feeling the lyrics, even if she was born into a musical family.
It’s nearly 8 minutes long, but it’s worth every minute. She captures all the emotion, fear, desperation and anxiety mixed with hope and ambition, of the original song, in a completely new way. It’s a stunner.