Chelsea Dash is an up-and-coming pop artist, as well as a recent alumna of the prestigious Berklee College of Music. With her new single “Massive Attack” generating some major buzz, it’s easy to imagine that Dash’s year is about to get a hell of a lot crazier.
Thankfully, we managed to sit down with her before the whirlwind begins!
Planet Stereo: Thanks so much for doing the interview. How are you?
Chelsea Dash: I’m doing great, thanks. Nice to be chatting with you!
PS: Your new lyric video for “Massive Attack” has recently been released. How have listeners been responding?
CD: So far, so good! We actually just put the official video out yesterday, so that has garnered even more curiosity and lots of positive attention from people. I’m very happy with the feedback I’ve been receiving from fans, digging the sound, and visuals!
PS: What is your favorite part about going into the studio?
CD: For some people, Disneyland is “the happiest place on earth.” For me, it’s the studio! Even if it’s not my session, and I’m just in the studio hanging out with other musician friends and stuff, I am just so happy!There’s no place like it where you can be in such a powerful creative energy field! I love writing in the studio, and collaborating with other people. Nothing is more beautiful or exciting to me than creating something out of nothing. You can walk into the studio with no ideas, nothing really to go on and walk out just a few hours later with a full song done. It’s magical and sometimes even a little therapeutic!
PS: Would you mind walking me through the creative process?
CD: Not at all! I’ve written songs in many different ways. Sometimes I start with a few chords on guitar, and craft a melody from there. Sometimes I build a track in a studio with a producer, write a melody on top, and then the lyrics and sometimes I’m even given a track from a producer and then I write what’s called a “top line” – which is the entire melody and lyrics. I keep a lyric book. I have full poems/lyrics in it, pages of possible song titles, song story lines and ideas etc. Basically, there’s no right way or wrong way to write a pop song. There’s many ways to do it and I dabble in a lot of them!
PS: How do you manage to find time to write new material?
CD: Well at first, it was homework! I didn’t really take my songwriting seriously until I started at Berklee College of Music and was forced to work on my songwriting many times a week! Now, I don’t force it unless I’m booked for a writing session where I know I’m there to write a full song for myself or someone else. I think if you’re a creative person at heart, it just pours out of you often enough that the time is just there. I keep that lyric book close, so I’m always armed with ideas and things to go of off if a melody pops into my head. I am a really good multi-tasker though! I’ve definitely written a song or two in the shower!
PS: What would you like people to come away with when they hear your music?
CD: I take pride in writing pop songs that have some depth to them. I never want to be mistaken for some vapid, blonde pop singer. There’s real heart, soul, and an intelligence to my storytelling and lyrics. I want to make people feel alive and empowered too. Pop music is fun and mine definitely has an edgy side to it, but at the end of the say,it’s all just telling a story, and hoping that people can identify with it, relate to it, and just enjoy it!
PS: Do you have a favorite song to perform live?
CD: I have a song called “Bad Girl” that’s more of an R&B power ballad and really shows my vocal range. I sing my little heart out!
PS: How did you get involved in music?
CD: It was pretty much fate. My parents said that I could sing even before I could talk. Apparently, I could hum a perfect melody back from something I heard on the radio even once, before I was old enough to even form proper words. My parents put me in voice and piano lessons when I was five. Not really because they wanted me to be a musician, but because I was almost expelled from pre-school for singing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” from one of my mom’s cassette tapes at Show & Tell. I think they were trying to drain all of the creative energy out of me, so I wouldn’t cause trouble again! Little did they know, it just added fuel to the fire and I’d become a professional musician!
[E/N: Literally couldn’t stop laughing at this…I would be an awful teacher, because I’d have high-fived her!]
PS: If you could work with any artist, past or present, who would it be and why?
CD: I’m totally obsessed with Justin Timberlake. he produces, writes, sings, dances, plays 3+ instruments…He’s just such a talented musician. I feel like I could learn so much from him and our musical styles blend nicely too. Also, he’s kinda petty to look at! 🙂
PS: When looking at the current music scene, do you think social media is helping or hindering artists?
CD: If you know what you’re doing, and how to use social media channels to market and promote your music, I think it can be extremely helpful. However, if it’s not your bag, it’s hard to get yourself heard in this day and age. It can be a game. There are a few artists (I’m sure you can think of plenty too) who really are quite average musicians, but because of their timing, and their vast knowledge of social media and marketing, they were able to make a name for themselves. It can go both ways I guess!
PS: You’re a recent Berklee College of Music alum. Do you feel that other artists like yourself could benefit from going to music school?
CD: Absolutely. Berklee took me from being just a really good singer, to being a legit, well-rounded musician. It can be overwhelming to have to learn to write and sing so many different styles of contemporary music, but all in all, I think it really helped me decipher what truly was my unique sound and vibe as an artist.
PS: Do you have any advice for younger musicians?
CD: Yes, it sounds silly, but practice makes perfect! Hone your craft as much as possible and also don’t be afraid to experiment with different sounds, and styles. If you can’t afford to take lessons, Youtube often has great free tutorial videos on basics for piano, guitar, etc.
PS: Where can we expect to see you in five years?
CD: Hopefully winning Grammy’s and performing on a world tour with Justin Timberlake perhaps?!
PS: Any last words?
CD: I love connecting with my fans! The best ways to keep up with me are these:
Also, the official music video for “Massive Attack” is on youtube now! Thanks for chatting!