This singer-songwriter cut her teeth as a busker and is using that experience to write evocative and character-fuelled pop folk
Name: Chelsea Williams
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Style: Folk/Americana with a focus on characters
Look out for: Her debut album Boomerang
Chelsea William’s musical career began to take shape while busking on the streets of Los Angeles. A hugely successful street performer, she wasn’t just earning the occasional nickel but was able to sell over 100,000 copies of her recordings whilst playing on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.
Such experience must seep into her songwriting? “I have met so many characters while busking,” says Williams. “It is inevitable that some of them end up in my lyrics. Whether it’s a lady that reads tea leaves on the corner, or an old man with a cane and sailors cap that sings Frank Sinatra to me as he passes by, there are an endless amount of stories to be told there.”
“IT’S FREEING NOT TO BE LIMITED BY MY OWN CHARACTER TRAITS”
It’s these pure and character-driven songs which make her debut album Boomerang such a riveting listen. The record combines elements of pop, folk and Americana and each song highlights Williams’ ability to paint a picture with her lyrics. “One of the songs on Boomerang was written by a fellow busker called Eric Kufs that I met in Santa Monica,” she says. “It’s called Don’t Want To Die Alone and it’s an ode to a lonesome misfit.”
Her ambitions don’t end with her own albums. “Over the years, I’ve done a couple of projects where I’ve written for someone else,” says Williams. “I quite enjoy that process. It’s freeing not to be limited by my own character traits. I would like to do that more and maybe even write music for films.”
Whether with her own music or her writing for other artists, we’re confident that Williams is someone we’re going to be hearing a lot more from. Those Santa Monica streets have certainly served her well.
Interview: Duncan Haskell
To find out more, head to chelseawilliams.com