This month, we’re shining our SYNCR Spotlight on the incredible Chelsea Blues who provided an insight into her culture, music and poetry.
It’s that time of the month again where we spotlight one of our favourite artists from SYNCR Music. This month we just could not say no to getting to know the incredibly soulful Chelsea Blues. Chelsea caught our attention with her track ‘Emotional Availability’, and since then she has released her jazzy debut EP Textures.
To begin, Chelsea divulged that ‘Emotional Availability’ was actually written as an audition track for the London Academy of Contemporary Music. She explained, “When my good friend Joshua (JMP Studios) made the beat, I instantly started freestyling and just couldn’t get that hook out of my head – guess that’s why they call it a hook!” This track unsurprisingly scored her a place at ACM, but she was sadly unable to attend.
The lyrics clearly have a cathartic background as they follow the life of a “Caribbean girl, far away from home”. Chelsea explained in more detail: “I thought I’d found someone to be open with and share the world I was building with – it was like they couldn’t give me what I wanted or needed emotionally. It felt as if the people I was meeting were as cold as the weather that surrounded us and I just wrote about it. I was hoping others who’d hear it and understood how I felt would appreciate knowing they weren’t alone in the search for true emotional enlightenment and fulfilment.”
Chelsea released her debut EP Textures at the end of October which is made up of tracks Chelsea re-discovered half-finished and aspired to finally complete. She described to us her vision: “I wanted to create an experience with music, something thematic. It’s under 15 minutes long featuring 7 tracks. It was an artistic choice to leave the beats to their original lengths as I met them, and create a wonderfully digestible piece.”
The singer-songwriter kindly provided us with a run-down of her EP:
“The intro and outro are two of the same yet are presented as different moments. ‘Blue Intro’ began with our hunt for texture-based samples for the experience effect. We heard a winner and I got on the mic and began freestyling as a joke – we played it back and we all were like, ‘this is actually so amazing – let’s keep it as is!’ When the vocals were done and we got back the trumpet samples from my friend Hutchie, back home (Bahamas), ‘Outro Song’ was born, which, like Interlude, is actually an instrumental.
“‘Simple Life’ and ‘Waves’ are dedications to my motherland. ‘Simple Life’ speaks out on the socio-political issues that my people face every day. This is my call to my people to wake up. ‘Waves’, on the other hand, is dedicated to the more easygoing, beach night fun my peers and I turn to as our own escape from what others perceive to be paradise.
“Haha, ‘La Playa’ is dedicated to bae. That’s all there is to say.
“‘Goddess to Girl (G2G)’ was originally a poem that I wrote in 2012 as a reminder to myself. I re-wrote it and dedicated this track to my niece Isabella and baby sister Renee. These are the next generations of women, and they need to know that I am someone whose shoulders they can stand on, to reach for whatever their hearts desire.”
Chelsea was born in The Bahamas & The Turks & Caicos Islands, and began writing lyrics and poetry from the tender age of 8. She experimented with music as a teenager but went on to pursue other avenues. Chelsea eventually moved to London as an aspiring actress but rediscovered her love for music instead. “After leaving uni I returned home for a year and a half and hit a depression as I couldn’t find a way to continue music,” Chelsea explained. “Eventually, I was taken to the only open mic on the island (Nassau) at the time. It changed my life. After a while, I began running that open mic night on a weekly basis, then I was approached by a few friends who wanted to run a web TV series. IndieVybez ran for a year before I returned to London where I ended up working with the top reggae band on the island singing BVs and opened for reggae legends Tarrus Riley and Beres Hammond.” Incredible. Chelsea returned to London nearly three years ago and released her first project.
Chelsea isn’t all about the music, either. She releases poetry books! Three to be exact. “I’ve been writing poetry since the age of eight. I’ve filled so many lined books (that should’ve been for homework) with poems – as many as I could fit onto a page,” Chelsea explained. She put together her first poetry book ‘2014 = 7’ in December 2013, sent it to her mom to proof-read and self-published it online in the following January. “It began as a challenge to make my mark on the world before hitting 21, haha. I wrote 21 poems in two weeks. I chose to write about my life through a journey I was embarking on; the journey to self-love.”
Chelsea had a rest from poetry for a year and made a comeback in 2015 with ‘In the Mind of a Psycho Goddess’. This release followed her decline into an alcoholic depression of which she climbed out thanks to her love for music and writing. “I wrote of moments I’d missed and fragments in time that seemed just a blur. I also wrote of moments to be proud of and reaching out beyond what I perceived as my limitations in time.”
Then came her third and ‘favourite’ book ‘PO3TRY’ which is made up of three chapters and consists of “poems for healing, mixed diaries and random travel thoughts”.
Chelsea bases herself on legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Bobby McFerrin in terms of freestyle and scats, and Lauyrn Hill, Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse for lyricism and vocal texture. In terms of inspiration, however, the Caribbean girl focuses on her musical ethos. “I dive into my spiritual influences; books I’ve read (i.e The Alchemist – Paulo Cohelo; The Secret; The Celestine Prophecy), colours and what they mean (i.e: chakras), numerology, theories I know.”
She also keeps culture at the front of her mind: “how can I make something that can be understood regardless of cultural background? When do I want lines that are mainly significant to my people so they feel the love special for them – that doesn’t also exclude the wider audience I am trying to reach with my message?” At the moment, though, Chelsea is listening to Lion Babe‘s ‘Treat Me Like Fire’ and RKCB‘s ’31/10’.
Coming up, Chelsea plans to return home to The Bahamas for the first time in two years to undergo some long-overdue music collaborations with friends. Then, “you can expect many more shows and gigs; and of course, there is a fourth book to come. Definitely putting my feelers out for more spoken word and the music videos to follow the album.” Can’t wait!