At just 22, Chelsea Collins is a name that you will almost certainly start to hear more of. Having racked up over 25 million streams with the brilliant ‘Used to be (L O.V.E.)’ and catching the eye and ear with the poignant ‘O7 Britney’, she’s back with three new songs that will almost certainly be the centrepiece of her EP which should hopefully drop before the end of the year. I really think that this will be lift off for this outstanding artist.
The new single is ‘Wake Up at Our Funeral’, a song that is about love so toxic and passionate that the feelings of love and death almost become entwined. With deeply personal lyrics, the brilliant duality of this rising star’s song is perfectly balanced with unashamed pop production. Let the earworm get you and then let the lyrics infect your soul. With a video filmed at the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Chelsea would have had the stars of yesterday whispering in her ear as she filmed and it seems apt that a star of the future might be born in just such an historic place.
The two songs that came before this were ‘Hotel Bed’, a sentimental and soul searching ballad featuring Grammy nominated Swae Lee and ‘Open Your Mouth’, a pop anthem about the uncertainty of knowing where you stand in a relationship when there is no communication, especially when we live in a world of communication. Whilst all three songs centre on different aspects of relationship trauma at different stages and in completely different styles, they all have a central theme of vulnerability which will speak loud and clear.
Chelsea is often compared to Katy Perry, an artist who also tackles different and difficult issues beneath a pop veneer. However, I feel she owes more to the brilliance of Gwen Stefani and that makes me think of an gig I saw in the early eighties in California when I saw the band Berlin play before the enormity of ‘Take My Breath Away’. In those days lead singer Terri Nunn was breaking down her own barriers and influencing so many that followed after her.
I was lucky enough to pose some questions to Chelsea and I hope it makes you want to check out today’s release. But mostly I hope it encourages you to discover this artist before she becomes public property. For now, she can be our secret. But that will all change!
EP: I remember the first song of yours that caught my attention, brilliantly titled ‘Used to be L.O.V.E’, sampled a Bert Kaempfert written Nat King Cole Classic from 1965, ‘L.O.V.E’. I was blown away by a young artist sampling such a well-known standard and taking it in a new direction. How did that happen? Was it your idea?
CC: Thank you!! Yes, it’s actually the only song I’ve made alone with writing and producing. I had the idea of actually standing outside the Grammy museum to flip it and do the lyric “look at me” to “lie to me.” One night I was just sitting on my brother’s floor while he was producing in the corner ignoring me, so I sort of just ended up writing the song on guitar. At the time, I needed closure from my first relationship and the song kinda just came out. Then I produced it that same night and recorded the vocals at 6am. My neighbours called the cops!!! Was truly an experience.
EP: I’ve seen you compared to the brilliant Katy Perry but I sense a little more edge to your music, especially lyrically, and that puts me more in mind of Gwen Stefani or Pink! Is comparison something you like? Are any of these artists influences for you?….and which way do you see your style developing?
CC: Yes! Musically, I think I relate most to Gwen. I love all those artists a lot, though. I think I confirmed those comparisons a bit by trying to chase what I technically thought a hit song was, but now I’m just focused on my roots and creating music out of passion, storytelling, and getting a feeling off my chest and turning it into art. I think I see my style getting dirtier production wise and way more introspective and honest lyric wise.
EP: The video, or visualizer, as they like to be called these days for the new single is filmed in the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Santa Monica Boulevard, a burial ground to the likes of names as varied as Rudolph Valentino, Mickey Rooney, Jayne Mansfield and Bugsy Siegel. What drew you to such a famous final resting place? Did you sense the ghosts of the past as you created something so new and fresh? Is the sense of duality between life and death something you find fascinating?
CC: That’s such an interesting question. I think the cemetery is beautiful and weirdly magical. I’m generally a scared person, but I also seek thrill and am very curious, so it’s hard to manage both. I didn’t sense the ghosts, but I did feel somewhat drawn to certain graves. I gave them roses. In life in general, I think duality is something I’m drawn to. Extreme opposites go hand and hand, and if you can learn how to co-exist and appreciate both ends, that’s when life seems to make sense.
EP: Your songs all have the essential earworm quality that makes great pop music; they are fearlessly produced and yet there is a riptide of quite dark lyricism underneath the bright bouncy waves and blue skies. Is it important to you that your songs are as lyrically powerful as they are? I’ve really enjoyed just looking at the lyrics away from the melody side of things. It’s really made me appreciate you more as an artist. With that in mind, are there other genres you feel you may move into at some point?
CC: Thank you! I’m very picky with lyrics. My OCD will tell me when the lyric is there. I’m generally a sad songwriter, but music is so cool because you can make the melodies and production happy and have a juxtaposition within the song. I definitely want to move more into an alternative industrial space with melodic classic country influences. I think at the end of the day music shouldn’t ever be put in a box and there’s a way to blend every genre, which is what I’m trying to crack.
EP: Finally, when can we expect to see the EP and will it be thematically built around the various notions of love and relationship?
CC: I’m not quite sure about the EP yet. I’m praying it’s coming soon but I just got to get the music right, we’ve reworked it a bunch. I think the first EP will definitely be based around love, as that’s what I was writing about at the time with my first broken heart. I would like to have mini projects based around one theme, whether it’s heartbreak, love, depression, family stuff, self empowerment, etc vs condense things down to a 9 song project. It could be so cool for a project to feel like a journey instead of just one emotion.