Photo Credit: Chris Villa
22-year-old Bay Area-born and LA-based producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chelsea Collins released her latest single “Hotel Bed” with Swae Lee back in late April. The intimate offering written from her bedroom floor following a breakup serves as the lead single from her forthcoming debut EP coming later this month.
Collins shared with Beyond The Stage (BTS) more about the projects and her career from where it started to where it’s headed.
BTS: Why and when did you start making music?
I started making music around age 10. I did piano my whole life, so it helped a lot with understanding where melody notes go when writing. I started writing because when I was 10, I was in love with my best friend’s boyfriend and I needed to tell someone – and it ended up resulting in my first song.
BTS: Who are some influences (musically or not) that inspire your art and persona?
I am very inspired by Max Martin; he is the king of music forever. I could say a long list of all my music idols, but two that were really evident in my life were ironically Kanye and Taylor Swift. Visually, I love Tim Burton, Britney Spears and Harley Quinn. I love blending cinematic and theatrical elements into my music, but also visual. Always a theater kid at heart.
BTS: How would you describe your music?
I describe my music as vulnerable, organized chaos. I tend to write about a series of unfortunate love events, but I can never take it too seriously. I’m terrible at expressing my feelings, so I usually just get manic and hide from them behind chaos, humor, and ruining my life. I hope my music captures that.
BTS: What does your creative process look like? Is writing music spontaneous?
My creative process is honestly very 1950s. I like to sit down at my piano or guitar and just write campfire style at first. Then, after sitting with the song for a few days, even a few months, I eventually start producing it and then either finish alone, with my brother Nico, or another producer who I think could enhance everything. It’s really dope when a song can have magic when it’s raw. Music can be very spontaneous – personally I don’t like structure and forcing creativity if I’m uninspired, and I think the best songs come from you and someone you trust just enjoying life together. Sometimes it’s just fun to find someone not in music/with no intention of being in music and create with them. There are definitely some hidden gems out there.
BTS: What did the creative process look like with Swae Lee for “Hotel Bed”? Was It something completely new?
The process for “Hotel Bed” was honestly so interesting. I was writing with my homie Nick over Zoom just on our guitars, and we had an acoustic demo for a while. Once I started to produce the song, one of my producers played it for Swae and he was down to hop on it! I got to go to the studio and finished the demo with Swae which was super scary because I never leave my house, but it ended up being so inspiring and fun. He is so talented!
BTS: What inspired “Hotel Bed” and when did you begin working on it?
I started working on “Hotel Bed” around the beginning of quarantine. It was inspired by events that happened last summer. I was in a long distance relationship and it was difficult. I completely shut him out eventually because he started to feel distant, and I blamed myself for everything going wrong. I then started traveling shortly after I broke up with him, trying to live my best post breakup life and stay distracted, but I just felt empty inside.
BTS: When did you and Swae Lee decide to work together?
Swae and I started working together about two months after my part of the song was written. One of my co-producers was working with him as well and ended up connecting us. Super grateful.
BTS: What kinds of thoughts and emotions does “Hotel Bed” bring up?
I feel like the emotions “Hotel Bed” makes you feel are regret, loneliness, emptiness, confusion, love and shame. I think that sometimes, in life, we undervalue the power of love. We focus on trying to be super independent and secure, but at the end of the day, love is what matters universally.
BTS: Is your upcoming debut EP complete or are you still working on songs and finalizing?
My upcoming EP is mostly finished! Everything just has to be mixed. The songs are pretty much picked; I’m super excited! Stay tuned!!!
BTS: What made you choose “Hotel Bed” as an EP single?
I chose “Hotel Bed” as my first single from the EP because I saw the way it impacted the people around me. I genuinely don’t really know which songs I make are good or bad. I just try to spill my guts and then see how other people react/relate to them.
BTS: What was filming and co-directing the video like? Which role did you enjoy more?
I loved coming up with the storyline for the “Hotel Bed” music video. I was a little nervous to execute it, but I would say I loved both equally. The crew was amazing and definitely helped me break out of my shell on set!
BTS: Did you come up with the plot?
My creative director Dom and I came up with the plot. I tried to envision how I would see this song if I was writing a screenplay and then cut it down to a short film.
BTS: Do you have any teasers for what’s next with the upcoming EP?
I’m super excited for this EP because I feel like my heart always resonates with what I call “crack-pop,” which is super fun, catchy ear candy music. I’d call the majority of this EP “crack-pop” too, but I haven’t released any of these songs yet, so I’m excited to have fun with it and make some iconic visuals to the crack-pop!
BTS: Do you plan on doing live shows in the near future?
I would love to do shows in the future. Whenever you perform, it’s like your brain goes into this whole other dimension. Plus, being able to meet people who resonate with your music and experience their reactions is such a beautiful moment.
BTS: What is the best way for people to keep up with you?
I would say the best way for people to keep up with me is to follow my Instagram. That’s probably where I post the most and am most myself.
Make sure to also check out Collins and Lee’s brand new lyric video released on May 6 below!
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