Thursday, August 4

Center Stage - Kelsey Lewis

2016 Belk Southern Musician Showcase Winner and the 2016 DFW Icon Grand ChampionKelsey Lewis, (born on December 31st, 1994) a singer /songwriter from Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, has been singing and performing since she was 6 years old. From “The Palladium Ballroom” in Downtown Dallas to “American Airlines Center” in front of the “X-Factor” judges to performing live for KTXD47 Station’s “The Broadcast TV,” Kelsey has performed on many stages and venues.

It was at the age of 13 when Kelsey truly discovered her love and passion for songwriting. She has since then written a volume of different songs ranging from love, life, and the lessons learned along the way.
In December of 2012, she left for Nashville to pursue her debut album with 2V Productions. Producers Richie Biggs(recording engineer for The Civil Wars, Amy Grant, George Strait, etc.) and Mark Hill(bassist for Reba McEntire and previous band manager for Keith Urban) came together with Kelsey to create “Beautiful View,” a 10 song album with 8 originals from Lewis, a song co-written with Mark Hill and then a 1950’s cover of the classic Perry Como hit, “Catch a Falling Star.” Beautiful View is said to be an album “that has to be savored in its entirety, because it is meant to delight and fill the listener with felicity, through lyrical storytelling by the singer.”
Since putting out her album, she has been coined with the title of “Vintage Futuristic,” when describing her unique style and sound. She loves the art of taking the new and infusing it with the old. Inspired by artists such as The Civil Wars, Joy Williams, Adele, Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat, Kimbra, Taylor Swift, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Etta James, and Patsy Cline, just to name a few, the range of personality and character in each song can most definitely be traced back to some of the artists listed above.
She is currently out performing and finding inspiration for future albums/projects to come. “I just really hope that in some way or form that through my stories they will be able to connect with yours . That’s the beauty about music…it’s a language of it’s own.”
Her song Ruby Red Shoes was selected as one of the Top 10 Winners in Radio Airplay's 2016 Summer Song Contest. With it's youthful and infectious quality, the feel-good tune has captured the ears of Jango listeners far and wide. 
Get to know Kelsey, what she's been up to, and what she's got planned for the future in our latest Center Stage feature and Q&A below-
Describe your sound in one ramble-on sentence...
I am an Indie/Pop Singer Songwriter with a playful,jazzy flare

What's your earliest music-related memory growing up?
Standing on my grandma's fireplace mantel singing bible songs.  I would get up and fully perform for my family at the age of 3 and on.  I really liked the attention...and I guess I still do!! :)

What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Can't remember an exact tune, but growing up my family listened to all types of music...Country, Pop, and Gospel Hymns and Contemporary Christian music too!! I picked up my love of singing at a very early age and my mom said that I would be constantly singing or humming music that I had just heard.  I knew for sure in the 2nd grade after performing my first talent show, that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!! 

Do you write/compose your own songs? Briefly describe your songwriting process.

Yes I do. I wrote my first song at the age of 13 yrs old and the love of songwriting stuck!  I love to tell my stories through clever lyrics and melodies. I usually start a new song by hearing a melody in my head. I then will hear usually the verses first and then the chorus. Sometimes it flows really smoothly I am finding the right words pretty quickly and at other times I am only getting a portions of the song at a time.  I have a lot of half written songs that I have to go back and complete because the inspiration stopped flowing.  I usually do a voice memo on my phone and have lots of little notes of lyrics written all over notebooks and such.  I do not play an instrument proficiently, so most of the melodies are made up first in my head then sometimes I will pick up an instrument( guitar or piano) and try to find the matching chords.  My entire Beautiful View album came from melodies in my head and lyrics from my life experience.  My producers helped form the music in the studio as I sang the songs to was an incredible process.    

If you were to cover another artist's album, which would you pick and why?
Oh my gosh this is so hard for me.  I love so many amazing songwriters and artists.  I would probably say my top artists would be...Sara Bareilles, Norah Jones, Kimbra, Joy Williams, Taylor Swift, Gabrielle Aplin, Ed Sheeran, Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Caillat, Michael Jackson, Etta James, Reba McEntire, Adele...this list could go on and on!! I love all of these artists and so many more for not just their songwriting, their amazing talent, performance ability, but also how honestly they share their heart with the world through the art of music!! I do covers of almost all of the artists mentioned above and a ton more...because I love all that they do!! :) 
What was the highlight of 2015, either for you personally or for the band? What was the low point? 
2015 was a harder year for me personally and professionally.  I didn't do as much writing or creating as I would have preferred, but I did spend a great deal of time out performing and building stronger connections with other artists and venues in Dallas/Fort Worth area.  2015 felt very much like a building year for me, but I can honestly say I was glad to see 2016!!

What is 2016 looking like for you? Upcoming projects?  Can you give us a little hint, on what we can expect for this year?2016 has been a great one so far.  I was lucky enough to be chosen this year as one of the 5 Belk Southern Musician Showcase Winners...I was in the POP Category! 
 I was also selected as the Grand Champion at this years 2016 DFWIcon...  I have a new single coming out this September..can't wait to share it with my fans!! I also have some touring with Belk and many local shows as well that I will be doing through-out the remainder of 2016.  

Any embarrassing on stage moments you'd like to share? C’mon, don’t be shy. 
Well...this is a pretty regular occurrence with me because I get so tongue tied when I speak during a performance.  I am getting so much better, but in the beginning, I had to pretty much write out a script of what to say during my sets so that I would not ramble on and on and make an awkward mess of myself.  So I have said some really dumb and embarrassing things during my sets, but I just chock it up to "that's my charm"!! :)
What do you enjoy doing outside of music? Does your hobby rejuvenate their creativity?
I absolutely love anything creative.  I love to sketch, draw, paint, dance, act.  I love all forms of art.  I am a part-time makeup artist and a part-time party princess for little girl's BD parties.  So I have a pretty busy schedule of creativity to thrive in!! :) 

What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
I love the exposure to new fans that Radio Airplay offers it's artist.  It is an awesome resource to share your music! It help me connect with listeners that I would in no way have access to other than through Radio Airplay. Thank you so much for all you do to support indie artists!