Early Talks w/ Chelsea Collins

22-year-old rising popstar Chelsea Collins is on a trajectory to absolute stardom. Since being discovered by HITCO CEO & Founder LA Reid, and with only 6 songs in her discography so far, Chelsea has accomplished many impressive milestones as a singer-songwriter and producer. Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chelsea to talk about her journey in music so far and her upcoming single, Open Your Mouth!

Nathaly: Thank you for being here today with me. You’re an absolute superstar in the making, songwriter, singer, producer, co-director for your music videos. What can’t you do?

Chelsea: I was just going to say I’m a horrible cook and I can’t do math so there’s that hahaha.

Nathaly: I want to start off by learning about how you got into music. What sparked your initial interests and how has your journey been so far?

Chelsea: I honestly have no idea how I really got into music. Ever since I was born, I always gravitated towards it. It always just kind of made sense. It felt like me. Starting out at a young age you then start meeting industry people as you get older, but you don’t even acknowledge it because you’re so focused on just loving making music… like you did when you’re nine years old! From a more technical standpoint, I got into music because I started doing classical piano and theater when I was a kid. I think that that led to me realizing that I love classical piano now, but I really didn’t growing up. I started composing and then realizing as a kid that I could write songs and after that, I was like, all right, bye piano, I’m going to go write pop music hahaha.

Nathaly: I love when I come across new pop artists because I feel like sometimes pop music tends to get a bad rep because it’s the most “mainstream” form of music. But I personally love a good pop song.

Chelsea: In pop in general all it means is popular. Each pop song sounds so different, and I think the genre of pop that we sometimes associate music with is tacky songs that like six old dudes who write in a room. That’s not what all pop music, it’s so broad! I even consider Post Malone a pop star, he’s my favorite pop girl.

Nathaly: I agree. How many instruments do you play?

Chelsea: I played piano, guitar, and I can play bass just for like production purposes, but I’m not a shredder. I feel like bass is so similar to guitar that if you hear a riff in your head, you’re able to kind of just translate it and I can play the ukulele. I’m not good at it but I can still sort of play!

Nathaly: Speaking about production, you originally started off as a songwriter and then went into developing your artistic career. I read that you’ve found your voice in producing. What was it like trying to get into it, especially in a space that’s so dominated by men?

Chelsea: This is so interesting; I went to a female writing camp last week and that same stress and fear of you letting down a room and not being good enough just did not exist. Girls were encouraging each other to produce and doing all these things. I think that was super cool to see because if I’m a producer in a room and there’s a bunch of guys, I feel so much more pressure because I feel like they’re automatically going to assume that I can’t do what I’ve spent so many years working on. I started production in general because a lot of the times you won’t get a bounce back for months of a song that you made. So, I was like, “you know what, f*ck this, I want to get as many bounces back as possible. I’m just going to sit down and learn it.”  Basically, the songs that I felt like no one wanted probably because they were just too personal. It kind of just happened at the right place, right time. I never really intended to be an artist or a writer, even a producer. I just thought, “this is fun, I love this, I want to do this!”

Nathaly: That’s definitely the best outlook to have. When you truly love something, you’re going to give it your all and when you give something your all you’re inevitably going to succeed! We’ve definitely seen that in your discography.  I want to dive into your song 07 Britney. The lyricism in the song really struck me. What was the writing process for that like?  

Chelsea: I was already researching the whole case even back then. There was always something off and growing up, she was always my idol. Then moving out here and just being in the industry on such a small scale and the things it does to your head and the pressure it puts on you. It almost makes you feel like you must be doing so much all the time or else people don’t care about you, they’ll forget about you, and move on. I felt like at the time I was just doing things to make all these grown men in the music industry happy. My therapy has always been watching Britney interviews, music videos, and performances. Whenever I was having a bad day, it just got me through it. I was at a session, and they were like “since you don’t want to write today, you just want to watch Brittany Spears videos, why don’t we write about your experience in Hollywood relating to Britney’s.” That’s how it happened. It’s eerie too, after writing that song and seeing more information on her case come out. No one should ever have to live like that. I just don’t understand.

Nathaly: Definitely not. It really shines a light on how you shouldn’t really judge people to harshly because you don’t know what they’re going through.

Chelsea: No, for sure. At least to me, I think she’ll get through this. She’s been through the worst of the worst that now she’s finally getting her voice heard.

Nathaly: I think so too! You’ve mentioned before how no matter how rough of a time you’re going through you just keep in mind that you can channel those emotions into your music. I’ve also learned that you work closely with your brother. How did that collaborative relationship start? Has it helped you feel more comfortable?

Chelsea: Oh my gosh, yes! Nico left for one month and went back home to do some things. I lost my mind… He’s the best person in the world and it makes music so fun. I have the most fun just being at home, writing on the living room floor. When we were kids, we had this back room where we would always make music and if he was trying to escape a sh*tty day at school we were always excited to go home and make music in that backroom. I’m super grateful, he’s always honest, and I trust his ear.

Nathaly: You just worked with Swae Lee on Hotel Bed, the leading single from your EP, which is amazing! Do you have anything you hope people take away from it and are there any surprises that you can share?

Chelsea: When you’re making music always trust your gut! A lot of these songs are two years old, but they still pass the test of time. I remember when I was first making them, a lot of people made me doubtful. Now as time goes on and trends change people then next day will be like, “oh, this is the best thing ever.” So always trust your gut and always do it. I also want to inspire girls to produce their own music, especially because it nice having the freedom to just be at home and make music I love and not have to go to a session with someone I don’t know. Just knowing you can come home and make something super cool. You just feel free almost.

Nathaly: Amazing, especially with COVID recently a lot of people who previously didn’t have social anxiety are now experiencing it in some ways. Do you have any things that you did during this time of COVID that kind of helped keep you sane?

Chelsea: This is really weird, but I would get bored and order costumes. I have a Squidward one and Patrick one. I started collecting Furbies, just a bunch of weird sh*t.

Nathaly: Are you a big SpongeBob fan?

Chelsea: Yea! I did homeschool for most of high school, so every morning it became a ritual. I’d start my day, watch my SpongeBob episode, do my online work to SpongeBob. I wish I wrote SpongeBob.

Nathaly: hahaha my college roommate and I bought a fish and named it “Mystery” after the sea horse in SpongeBob.

Chelsea: Oh my god, going to the pet store is so dangerous, we came back with a hamster haha. My hamster is actually in the video for my next single!

Nathaly: Your next single, Open Your Mouth out July 9th, right? Talk to us about the song and the visualizer!

Chelsea: Yea, I made it about a year ago with my brother, it was one of those songs where I was tired and had just listened to After Hours and I really liked the chord. I was trying to do something similar with the chords on my guitar. Me and my brother wrote it at four in the morning and I then went into my room and had a big panic attack. I rewrote it and then came back with this song and then produced it out. I wrote it about a guy who was perfect in a dream and everything I wanted, but I could never read him, and it drove me nuts. We shot the visualizer, which was really fun. In the visualizer the guy’s mouth is sewed shut and my friends and I are having fun slumber party, vibes. But my hamster is in it!

Nathaly: I was able to take a sneak peek at it and love the mean girls Y2K vibe. Now that we’re getting back into in-person events, do you have any venues/ festivals that you want to play?

Chelsea: I’m from the bay so Outsidelands would be fun. Just being able to perform for family and friends. Actually, I think that’s worse. It’s so creepy when they’re watching you. It’s so much better with strangers cause you can get into an element, but when your friends and your family are there, you’re like, Hey, don’t judge me.

Nathaly:  I feel you. You’ve had immense success in your career so far, and I only see that continuing to grow. Looking back at your journey so far are there any highlight moments for you?

Chelsea: This is probably the stupidest answer, but my brother and I made a pact that whenever one of us signed a deal, we’d get Cinnabon’s. Being able to go was a turning point. I’m really grateful for all these cool things that happened but I just don’t know what the I’m doing with my life at the same time.

Nathaly: Well, I look forward to being able to share Open Your Mouth and the visualizer with the rest of the ER squad. Super excited for your debut EP coming this year. Yeah. Do you have any ending remarks before you go?

Chelsea: If you’re with a guy that doesn’t like cat kick him to the curb because cats are awesome!

Don’t forget to stream Open Your Mouth, out on July 9th!

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