When you hear Chelsea Bain belt out a song – be it a beautiful ballad or rousing rocker - you know it comes straight from her heart. Chelsea is not just one of the most impressive new singers to take the stage in recent years. More than that, every word she writes and every note she sings proves her strength, her passion, is born from experience. Or, to borrow from another female dynamo, maybe she was just born that way.
The truth is, it takes a great singer to conquer a great song. And it takes a woman of rare insight and strength to become this great a singer this early in her career.
Chelsea harbored two great passions as she was growing up on an Arizona farm. When not listening to Shania Twain or the Dixie Chicks, Chelsea picked up a love for horses from that cowboy culture in which she was raised. As young as 4 years old, she was trying her luck at barrel racing. Later she graduated to doing breed shows. Sometimes her two interests intersected -- on one occasion, with embarrassing results.
"One of the classes I was competing in was right after the break where I'd been asked to sing the national anthem," she remembers, picking through a seared tuna salad at a favorite lunch spot near her current digs in Nashville. "After I sang, I hurried back toward the stall, holding my chaps up. My horse was ready to go. They're throwing my jacket on me and saying, 'You're next! Are you ready?' I'm like, 'I don't know!' My horse trainer was like, 'Oh, my gosh, child!'"
She laughs, and then observes, "I guess I get it in my head sometimes that I can take on the world. I can do everything at once. And it'll all be fine."
It's easy to see why. In addition to winning more than 10 world and national titles in the American Paint Horse Association, this determined young woman won notice around Phoenix by singing at rodeos, giving vocal recitals and performing in grade-school productions of Chicago, Les Miserables and other Broadway shows. "I was extremely competitive about it," she recalls. "There were some interesting moments between some girls and me, battling it out for solos."
Still, Chelsea didn't have many opportunities to perform her first love, country music, in her hometown. And so, like so many other hopefuls, she made the move to Music City. Just 19 years old, she recorded her debut album. "I call that my 'growing album,'" she reflects. "that was me figuring out who I am."
Much of her learning process came from an arrangement that has booked her since 2013 on nearly 30 weekends per year at NASCAR and NHRA racing events. "NASCAR taught me everything about getting up onstage and being in front of a crowd," Chelsea says. "The people aren't there for a concert. They're there to see Dale Junior. To play to thousands of people in those circumstances is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. Every single weekend, I've had to win them over and share my music with brand new people. Luckily, and I'm thanking God for this, they loved it and I've built an entire fan base from it."
“But now I feel that the next album is exactly what I want it to be - Chelsea Bain, through and through.”
Always a songwriter, Chelsea’s creativity, heart and outright boldness were ramped up to an entirely new level when she befriended singer/songwriter Rachel Farley. The two began collaborating, and Farley helped pull out emotions and attitudes Chelsea wasn’t even aware she possessed. The two co-wrote all five songs on Chelsea’s upcoming , and songwriter/producer/instrumentalist Jordan Sapp joined them on four of tracks.
Having learned, matured, reexamined her roots without letting go of the high-energy throttle, Chelsea emerges completely and candidly on her next project. “This new music really showcases who I am as a writer and an artist,” Chelsea explains. “I grew up around actual cowboys, and I always thought there's a Southwest country that people don't get. I love that I can represent that. I want to bring that to the table. Even as a little tot, I made the decision: That's what I'm going to do.
"I've gone through so much in life since I was a kid," she muses. "It's taken a long time to figure out how I wanted to put all that I've experienced together and incorporate it into my music. But now I feel that the next album is exactly what I want it to be -- Chelsea Bain, through and through."
She smiles, having spoken as she sings, with the power of truth, assurance and total confidence.