At ten years old Chelsea Shag decided she no longer wanted to be a professional wake boarder or pursue a pro basketball career. After being run over by a jet ski in a wake boarding completion she decided she would rather be a rock star. “I always dreamed big”, she told me when I sat down to talk with her.
Born in Kentville, Nova Scotia she traveled a lot growing up due to her father being in the Air Force. They finally settled down in Kennesaw, Georgia. “I thank Canada for my heart but I thank Atlanta for my soul,” she told me. Growing up her parents introduced her to rock n roll, soul and rhythm and blues, but listening to John Mayer was what got her interested in playing guitar. “I loved the way John Mayer strummed the guitar.” Along with his relatable lyrics she liked the blues aspect of his playing. Chelsea also fell in love with Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix around the same time. “I used to fall asleep to The Wind Cries Mary every night in seventh grade.” When you hear her play and sing all of this influences pour out of her and meld together into a soulful pop sound with just enough grit to keep her rooted in the ground.
Growing up she took some formal lessons but mainly liked to learn on her own. “I didn’t take many lessons. I was pretty stubborn. I didn’t really like to listen. I liked to learn on my own.” She started attending Atlanta School of Music when she was eighteen. “Going to school that was my ultimate learning process. I learned so much in school even though I’m still a terrible student.” Despite never graduating she has taken what she learned and put it to good use. Her upcoming debut album showcases her eclectic sound that she has been cultivating. Her arrangements include a string section as well as backing horns that help fully flesh out her musical vision. When asked about song writing on the album she said,” Song ideas would randomly come to me, if I’m driving, if I’m just hanging out with friends. I love writing in front of people. Their vibe is really inspiring to me…depending on the people.”
Chelsea Shag will be having an album release party April 29th at la maison de rouge at Paris on Ponce. Come check out this homegrown soulful singer-songwriter.
Written by Stephen Wilkins