For Chelsey James, pursuing a career in music was never even a thought that entered her mind. Like many, James attended college in hopes of finding her passion, and hopefully a lucrative job when all was said and done. Flash forward to her senior year of college, James went out to sing karaoke with her friends, and while initially terrified, James pressed on eventually joining a cover band and then realizing that music was the only path she wanted to pursue.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Chelsey about her journey, and her upcoming single The Men And The Boys, which will be released this Friday.
Worlds Of Country: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Chelsey: Carrie Underwood was on American Idol when I was in 6th grade, and when she put out her first album I remember sitting in the car and trying to sing along. As I got older I got more into rock, like Journey and Shinedown. Also, all the 90’s ladies like Faith and Martina just their strong vocals that I always loved. And on the male side I was a huge Toby Keith fan as a kid. Mostly country with a little bit of rock mixed in.
Worlds Of Country: Do you try to blend all of these influences into your music?
Chelsey: Absolutely, people will hear that with The Men And The Boys. I feel like this single is the epitome of the Chelsey James sound, it is definitely Country with a big splash of Rock in there which I love.
Worlds Of Country: What’s the story behind The Men And The Boys?
Chelsey James: I had the track, a base track instrumental version. I took it to some friends and said I don’t really know what I want to write but I want to write something that both men and women will want to listen to. I want to be this rocking, party song that you would hear in a country club. So, one of my friends, Oren, who was writing with me said he had a title about the difference between the men and the boys and immediately I was like yes, I know exactly what to write about.
It reminded me of back in the day when my friends and I would go to a country bar, and there was just a sea of guys that in the song we refer to as “catalog cowboys” which are fake cowboys, fake country boys and would sit there and wonder if there were any real men in the bar who actually work with their hands. So that title is where the idea for the song came from which immediately made me think of those experiences.
Worlds Of Country: How does The Men And The Boys differ from your first single Hands On The Bible?
Chelsey James: In all of my songs, I push it to the limits vocally. A lot of times when I listen back to my recordings, I think about how hard I just made my live shows. Both of these songs have a big, big vocal in them. This song will have a heavier, rocking sound. A fuller guitar sound, while Hands On The Bible also has a full sound, it has more strings. This song I have high hopes that it can become I hype song for sports or rodeo, it has the high octane, high energy feel to it.
Worlds Of Country: As a newer artist what has been the biggest challenge in trying to promote yourself?
Chelsey James: The biggest challenge for me has been not being able to play live shows. My favorite part of this career is getting to play for people live, and I’m sure a lot of people would say that. Being active on social media is not a strong suit of mine so people that are really good at that are thriving during this time, but for me singing to an audience is irreplaceable, I feel that not having that in person connection has been a struggle.
However, it has given me time to up my game on social media and digital marketing. I’ve gotten to create a lot of new content and write a lot of new songs which will all be coming out soon. There is definitely a silver lining but I’m ready to get back out there and play.
Worlds Of Country: You mentioned more songs coming after this one, what’s the plan for that?
Chelsey: I actually plan to release a single about every 60 days this year. I had a little EP that I will probably be releasing in the summer. I’m really excited to keep pushing music out.
Worlds Of Country: How have you worked to get better at connecting with fans through social media?
Chelsey James: It’s a struggle for me trying to figure out how much to share, and what to share on social media. I struggle with not knowing how much to share, in person at live shows it’s different because I know that the people are there to see me but on social media it’s always everyone’s highlight reel. I struggle with thoughts like “is this the best time to post this?”, “will people think this is stupid?”, “Am I posting too much?”. It’s really a struggle between putting out authentic content and also making sure to put out content that people want to see, because those social media algorithms are hard to figure out sometimes. I try to not overthink it and stay true to myself but it’s hard to not get sucked in.
Be sure to check out The Men And The Boys when it comes out this Friday. We look forward to hearing what Chelsey has coming up for the rest of this year.
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