A Dose of California Sunshine: Chelsea Perkins Teaches Us How to Shine In This Exclusive Interview

Rachel RC Scott

Aug 25, 2020

A California native, Chelsea Perkins always dreamed of being a performer. She studied acting in New York City and music in London. Now settled in Sunny Los Angeles, Chelsea is the next rising star that you will want to add to your favorites list! ....Article live on Unspoken Press

By Rachel RC Scott

A California native, Chelsea Perkins always dreamed of being a performer. She studied acting in New York City and music in London. Now settled in Sunny Los Angeles, Chelsea is the next rising star that you will want to add to your favorites list!

Chelsea has spent the last decade growing from a humble singer-songwriter to an emerging alt-pop diva. She has released two EPs and has a third on the way. In December 2019, she signed with record label 83 Sound, and has released three fantastic singles, including her latest, ‘Fanny Pack.’

Chelsea is not afraid to experiment and try new things. Each new track is completely unique and fresh, with funky beats, spunky vocals, and an overwhelming yearning to get up and boogie!

We had the opportunity to talk with Chelsea exclusively. Keep reading to learn more about her journey, her process, and what she hopes for the future of her music and the industry.

Photograph by Morgan Demeter
Photograph by Morgan Demeter

You studied acting at The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in New York City. Do you still act? Why or why not?

I actually don’t do any acting. I discovered in acting school that I didn’t want to pursue that business. In the 2nd year they make you take a business class, and make you learn the business, how to market yourself, and how to take the next step. I just really didn’t like it. I didn’t like the fact that I would have to stick with one look, send thank you cards to casting directors, and just kiss ass all the time. It kind of freaked me out, because I’m more of an artist type. I just realized that I did not love it as much as I thought I did. I found myself procrastinating a lot during 2nd year. I started writing music, and playing on my guitar. I realized that I wasn’t going to pursue acting. I was going to pursue music. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. I had NO idea how the business worked or anything. I just knew that I was going to start pursuing that, because I LOVE it so much! I don’t really do much acting at all. I’m not pursuing it, but I do get to make music videos - which are fun!

Do you think the acting skills you learned help you with your music career?

Oh completely! I definitely learned so much, just in regards to storytelling. The same with acting, and with songwriting - it’s all storytelling. So I learned a lot of stuff through that...and also just knowing my camera angles. I just think the whole experience was a great learning experience. I’ve taken it with me to everything I do.

Images Courtesy of Chelsea's Facebook
Image Courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook
*Images courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook

You’ve lived in both California and NYC, and even across seas in London. How do the three compare, and do you have a preference?

I’m originally from California. I moved out of New York in 2012, and spent about a year in London. I went back home to save up, so I could move to LA.

I lived in New York from [age] 17 to 21, and I feel like it shaped me in a certain way. New York was just so difficult to live while trying to make your dreams come true. It’s just such an expensive city. I loved it; I created such amazing memories. I love the grid system, and I love how there’s a subway system.

London is just a fabulous city. I would love to live in London, but again, another very expensive city. I feel like I learned so much in London. I went out there to write music with a couple people. It was kinda like going to school, to just write and record everyday.

I moved to Los Angeles in January 2014. Los Angeles has been great! Number one, it’s two and a half hours away from my hometown. It’s affordable. You get space, compared to New York where you get a tiny closet of a room. And also, the sunshine. I was miserable those winter months in New York. It was just so depressing. Being a California Girl, I was not used to that. It’s nice to be back home in the sun, and close to family. For me it’s just really worked out better in my career, and music.

When you can create a nice, happy surrounding for yourself, you can create magic.

I would love to go back to New York, but I told myself that I’d only go back if I can live comfortably.

Image Courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook
Image Courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook

You mentioned that you played guitar in college, but most of your studio produced music has pop & electric sounding tracks. How is the creation process different when working with one instrument on your own, versus working with an engineer in the studio?

In my early days, I used to play a lot of guitar. It all started with me and an instrument. I kinda phased more into the electronic route. I personally do not like to play guitar and sing. I do use it as a songwriting tool when I’m at home. It’s always different when I write songs based on the guitar or based on a beat. I do sometimes make some beats, and then I get them reproduced, or co-produced. I do work with a few different kinds of people. When I’m working with 83Sound, the label that I’m signed with, I work Outasight and Cook Classics. Cook Classics is a really dope producer, who’s done all these amazing major credits to his name. Outasight is a platinum selling recording artist. They’ll usually make beats, and then I’ll be in the studio with them, and write. Sometimes it’s just a beat that’s given to me, and we write on top of it. Sometimes I’ll create something, like a very generic beat just to get my ideas across. I’m in no way a beat maker, but I do know how to capture the essence using my music program. Then I can take it to a producer, and have them flesh it out. We can make it something special.

It really depends. Sometimes we’ll be in the studio, and we’ll make it from the ground up completely. I don’t actually make the beat. I’ll be in the studio while my friend will be making the beat, and I’ll write on top of it. Then we’ll record it, and by the end of the day, we have a freaking song! There’s many different ways of songwriting, for sure.

chelsea Perkins 8.jpg
Chelsea perkins 9.jpg
*Chelsea’s early music days; courtesy of her Facebook

Do you plan on adding more guitar sounds in some of your future music?

Yes and no. I actually just was in the studio last Thursday, and we created a new song, and it has guitar in it. I’m not going to be playing guitar. I don’t plan on playing it, but who knows? Sometimes my brain can’t handle playing guitar and singing, and sometimes I feel constricted. So performing guitar, not so much. But I’ll definitely be including more guitar instrumentation into my productions.

BTS of Chelsea in her video, ‘Jewel’; courtesy of her Facebook
BTS of Chelsea in her video, ‘Jewel’; courtesy of her Facebook

We watched your video for ‘Jewel’, and it was such a fantastic and well produced music video! It was like Lady Gaga meets the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella - Where did the inspiration for the idea behind the video come from?

I really wanted to make a cool music video, because the song itself is very special to me. Basically, I wanted to make a video with my friends. One of my best friends from that acting school in New York, Stepahnie LeBlac, directed the video. We were on the phone one day, just trying to think of ideas to create a treatment for it. We came up with it over a few hours. I asked two of my other friends to help me out; one that does camera work, and my other friend who has experience in production for film and TV. We just all got together, and made it happen. We filmed it all in my house, which was really cool. My housemates and I decorated our house in such a way that we put it up on we actually put it up on Peerspace. For those of you that don’t know what Peerspace is, it’s a website that you can rent out a space for photo shoots, or film shoots, music videos, etc.

I wanted to create this Marie Antonette look. I actually made that dress myself, which was really cool. We just came up with the treatment, because the song is all about letting your jewel shine. We’re all jewels meant to be displayed. No matter what society says, we just get to be our amazing, authentic selves, because we’re freaking beautiful. I just really wanted to showcase that.

The girl in the video’s name is Megan, and she’s a really awesome 16 year old actress. We even did a whole casting, which was really cool. I thought she was perfect, and so sweet. We just made it, man. It was great.

Are there any personal goals that you would like to accomplish with your music/career?

I want to basically make all my income through music. I want to travel the world, and tour. I just cannot wait until all of this is over! I am just dying to perform, and I want to be on stage. I would love to hop on a major artist’s tour, and open for them. I want to eventually headline my own tour, reach the masses, and just be that representation for mixed race girls that are not necessarily the stereotypical, sexy pop star. I just want to be the embodiment of authenticity, and expression, and just be free. Freddy Mercury has inspired me to just live my best life; just own who I am, and my body. I want to be that representation for girls, women, and men like me - all my queens!

Image by Jeremy Perkins
Image by Jeremy Perkins

If you could tour with any artist, who?

I would love to go on tour with Charli XCX. I feel like we would vibe well together, and she’s got such fun music. I feel like that would be awesome - just to be in her presence, and open for her. I think she would be a lot of fun on tour. Lizzo too. I think she would work out as well too.

What were your thoughts on the new ‘Wap’ video by Cardi B and Meg the Stallion?

I don’t really find the video that controversial. I just thought it was hot and sexy. I think it’s wonderful, because it’s liberating women. Women have no shame, and I think it’s beautiful. It was so sexy! I love them too. What I love about both of those artists is just them being their wild-ass selves. Just free, and I love that. It’s inspiring too. I’ve been inspired lately to just write songs that are a little bit nasty, and out of my comfort zone.

chelsea perkins 2.JPG
Chelsea Perkins 6.jpg
Left Photograph by Morgan Demeter; Photos courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook

The Music industry is constantly changing all the time. What are your thoughts on the future of music?

You know, that’s a tough question. I actually don’t know. Things change. Right now hip-hop and rap are really dominating pop music. There’s still a lot of EDM too. I think real instruments are never going to die. But the future of Music, that is a rough one to answer. Maybe we’ll come back to it.

Is there anything about the Industry that you would like to see change?

It’s beginning to change, but there are a lot of snakes in this industry that like to prey on naive women and men. I would just like that to change. These powerhouse producers that are now finally seeing justice; getting their time in court for sexual harassment and rape. There’s so many artists that have a story of a producer or somebody assaulting them, or trying to hint that sex is going be involved if they want to work with them. It happens way too frequently. The #MeToo Movement is pulling all these snakes out into the sun, and so I want that to continue to happen, honestly. That’s what I really want to change.

We all have a story. I have a story.

These powerhouse producers and people within these record labels are gatekeepers, and it’s not right. Maybe that’s the answer to the other question. Maybe part of the future of music doesn’t have to be about the sound. Maybe the future of music can be about how musicians operate, and the things that musicians and artists have to go through to be heard. Maybe that’s what it is.

Photograph by Morgan Demeter
Photograph by Morgan Demeter

Are you getting recognized on the street yet? What are some fun or crazy fan stories that you’d like to share?

I have one. It was a while ago, and so random too! I had a song that was put out on this indie radio station. It was called, ‘Hit It & Quit It.’ I never actually released it, but I just sent it to this indie radio station. This was maybe about six years ago. I was shopping in my hometown at these outlet stores. They didn’t recognize my face, but I was with my Mom, and my Mom said, “Oh my gosh, you have to listen to my daughter! Her name is Chelsea Perkins!” These people were like, “Oh we know Chelsea Perkins! She has that song, ‘Hit It & Quit It.’ We love that song!” It was so random!

Photograph by Morgan Demeter
Photograph by Morgan Demeter

If you could perform a sold out show in any venue in the world, where would it be, and why? What’s your dream venue?

I’ve always dreamed of playing on the main stage at Glastonbury Music Festival in England. I think it would probably be that. All my favorite artists have performed there. The vibe, the energy there...I’ve never been, but I told myself that I would go when I perform there.

Cover for Chelsea’s EP “Shine”
Cover for Chelsea’s EP “Shine”

Are there any last words you’d like to share with the world?

Well world, you are enough. Don’t you forget that you are enough. You’re fabulous, keep living your dreams! You can follow me on Instagram, @ChelseaPerkinsX. ‘Fanny Pack’, ‘Take a Bow’ and ‘Right Now’...are out now! We got new music coming out to you soon. We have a new song coming out next month, and we’re probably going to put out a new EP in a few months. So stay tuned!

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook
Photo Courtesy of Chelsea’s Facebook

A special thank you to Chelsea for taking the time to talk with us! We can’t wait for your new music, and to see how you continue to SHINE!

What are your thoughts on the future of music? What are some things that you would like to see change in the next 10 years? Tweet us @UnspokenPress!

Learn More about Chelsea:

Facebook | Instagram | SoundCloud | Twitter | Youtube