A chat with singer/songwriter Kelsey Blackstone

Featured photo by photo_dystopia

The state of pop music is in very good hands, especially with singer/songwriters like the one we’re interviewing today.

Meet Kelsey Blackstone, a talented soul-rock singer-songwriter hailing from Boston. Her musical prowess has garnered widespread acclaim from various radio stations and publications like The Hartford Courant, The Boston Hassle, WRBB, and more – and I’m honored to have her on the blog!

Kelsey has also received awards from prestigious institutions like the Berklee College of Music and the United Nations for her exceptional artistry, and her band has become an integral part of the Northeastern music scene, captivating audiences with their magnetic performances. Notable performance highlights include the Harry’s Happening Festival, NYC’s Mercury Lounge (supporting Lloyiso), Sofar Sounds, Skidmore College (supporting Seeing Double), the University of Rhode Island, and Boston’s Club Passim, among others.

Although I haven’t seen Kelsey perform live yet, I can just sense her energy through her performance photos, which you’ll see throughout this blog. I’m currently listening to her song When I’m With You as I write this post, and between her sultry vocals and dynamite stage presence, she is one to watch.

Ready to see her live? You’re in luck, as she and her band are playing PhilaMOCA on 8/15. Her band has joined forces with electronic-rock group, Gōst Pepper, for the ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ tour. Alongside them, the Nora Kelly Band and gloss will also be part of the captivating lineup.

Find Kelsey:

Photo credit sammelansonvisuals

Welcome Kelsey! I’m so happy to have you here. To begin, I would love to hear about your songwriting process. 

Hi Camille, thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to be coming to Philadelphia to perform for the very first time – I’ve been here on vacation before but it’s been a long time since then, so it’s gonna be really fun to be back in the city of brotherly love. 

My songwriting process is definitely not so much a process at the moment but more so just whatever I feel called to do based on the specific song that I’m working on. I have songs that I’ve written in like 10 or 15 minutes… and usually when something like that happens and I’m just feeling very inspired, it just all it flows out. That’s the obviously the best feeling ever and for me that usually happens either like right before I go to sleep or right when I wake up in the morning.

But other than that I usually gravitate towards writing lyrics first and then I’ll sit down at the piano after that and I’ll figure out some chords that kind of go with the feeling that I’m trying to create.

The third way that I really enjoy writing songs actually is through improv – so if you listen to my song that came out last year called Alice, it’s actually almost entirely improv. I had a friend, Garrett Goodwin, who was playing the chords on his guitar and wanted to see if I could come and write some lyrics. It was really fun to just turn on my Voice Memos app and just let the inspiration flow as he was playing the chords and the rhythm, and so that’s how that song came to be.

Photo credit panoranna.jpg

What is your favorite thing about performing live?

My favorite thing about performing live is feeling that connection on stage between me and my band members and the people in the audience. We’re all vastly different people living different, busy lives and to be under one roof and one space and have them all be there for that one moment with us is very serendipitous and special to me.

Is there a song of yours that you’re particularly proud of? 

I am honestly really proud of all of my songs because I feel like they’re authentic to who I am. It’s always so cool to listen back and kind of enter a time machine … I remember what was going on in my life when I wrote this and when I put it out and why it was so important and helpful for me, so I feel like each song is like a little catalyst for growth and reflection. All that to say, the song I’m most proud of was my most recent song called When I’m With You, because that was one of the first songs that I ever wrote on Zoom when the pandemic first started. I think from the beginning of songwriting to releasing it took about like three years, so for this song to finally see the light of day and to have it be very well received feels really good, I worked really hard to get it there.

Photo credit remingtonstrecker

What do you hope people take away when they listen to your music?

When people listen to my music I want them to feel love, joy, inspiration, and to live their lives in a way that supports their own dreams: whether that’s career-based, family-based or just making a positive mark on the world around them. I believe music is the biggest unifying power that we have available to us and the best thing about it is that anybody can make music. I think especially nowadays in the age of social media, everyone’s like “oh well look at all these people on my TikTok page and on my Instagram that can sing well and play guitar and I’m not that good so I’m not even gonna try”… but the thing is, we all have a voice and it’s unique.

As cheesy as it may sound it’s true, and we have been given that right to express ourselves in that way So no matter who you are, how old you are, what you sound like doing it, it’s just such a healthy and important outlet. That’s what I want people to think about when they’re listening to my music: I want them to sing along and not be concerned with how they sound or if they’re out of time or out of tune, I just want them to be in the moment and feel joy and love and unity.

Tour poster designed by Anna Ferrari

Thank you so much for sharing that, Kelsey. So, what’s next for you? 

Well next up for me is going on this two week tour. I’ve never been on tour before so I’m really excited because this has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid so the fact that it’s finally starting to come together feels very surreal. After we get back from the ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ tour, my band and I will be releasing our next song sometime in September – maybe we can do another interview when that time gets closer and it’s been officially announced (a note from the blogger – YES we can Kelsey!). I’m really excited for people to hear this one because any time we do this song live, everyone always has such a blast in the audience and I just really think that this is one of the best songs that my band and I have made into our own.

After all of that, then I’m gonna be moving to Nashville in January to join up with some musician friends that I already have down there and continue my band. It’s going to be a very big move but I’m very excited for the next chapter. I’ve been in Boston for the past six years and I really do feel like I was able to build my foundation here as an artist so I’m thankful for that. I do have family around New England still so I know I’ll still be back-and-forth a bunch which is great too.

Thank you so much Camille for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions and do this interview. I’m really excited for the show in Philadelphia. It’s going to be a really fun one, so if you like free bubble wands or lots of people on stage making fun sounds then you’re really going to like our show for you.

See you at PhilaMOCA on 8/15 with Gōst Pepper, Nora Kelly Band, and Gloss!

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