Chelsey Danfield – Bathtub
ARTIST NAME: Chelsey Danfied
SONG TITLE: Bathtub
ALBUM TITLE: At the Time
RELEASE DATE: 4-5-19
Hot off the release of her second full-length album “At the Time”, it’s safe to say that this is the time for 26-year-old singer/songwriter, Chelsey Danfield.
Originating from her family’s cash crop and hobby farm in Maidstone, Ontario, Chelsey draws inspiration from her rural roots to create honest to goodness alternative country music, “I realized quickly growing up that country music told my family’s story. It was who we were and what we did.”
Compared to the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, and Alannah Myles, Chelsey has cultivated a sound that incorporates elements of current and classic country, rock, blues, and a pinch of pop.
Debuting at the age of only 6 years old and continuing throughout her high school years, Chelsey played predominantly throughout Ontario and parts of Michigan both as a solo act and later on in experimental punk bands.
In 2012, while working as a guitar and vocal teacher in the sleepy lakeside community of Belle River, Ontario, Chelsey was introduced to Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit producer and former Iggy Pop/David Bowie lead guitarist Stacy Heydon, kick-starting her professional career.
Their collaboration has led to an EP release “All We Ever Do” in winter of 2017, her debut album, “Cowboy”, in spring of 2017, and her most recent release, “At the Time” on AMG Records.
Over the span of her 20-year career, Chelsey has performed all over Canada and the US, sharing the stage with acts like Kenny Chesney, the Zac Brown Band, Little Big Town, Dwight Yoakam, Mark Chesnutt, Lone Star, Justin Moore, and Blue Oyster Cult…and has no plans on stopping there.
From the red sands of Prince Edward Island to the heat scorched earth of the Mojave Desert, Chelsey brings a presence to the stage that commands the kind of attention that spans multiple genres and unites her audience in the shared woes of the overworked, underpaid, and broken-hearted.
Discuss your recording experience with your producer.
Recording albums with my producer has always been a really great experience. Especially during mixing, he really pushes me out of my comfort zone. At this point, we’ve been working together for so long that it’s an old hat.
Discuss what comes first and last while creating a song.
I generally start with a phrase that I like or a story that I want to tell. That generally leads to some rough guitar work and then it naturally flows from there. I’ve never been able to write just the music or just the lyrics first.
Tell us the piece of advice you will give to a new artist.
Especially when you’re first getting started, play wherever you can, whenever you can. I have a really vivid memory of playing a homeless kitten and cat fundraiser with my first band when we were trying to get onto the scene. We got paid in cupcakes.
Discuss your worse experience in the music business.
Even the worst experiences turn into learning experiences. I know that seems trite but it’s something I’ve learned to kind of embrace.
There are a lot of gigs where your music is a weird fit for the crowd or you’re just having a hard time connecting for whatever reason.
I’ve taught myself to enjoy those shows because I’m really playing for my own enjoyment.
I find I can really listen to the music I’m making and appreciate it by taking a step back and thinking about the lyrics that I’m singing and the story I’m telling.
You can almost form your own little bubble where you’re untouchable.
Tell us how you deal with rejection.
The history of rejection as part of the human experience has always sucked and will continue to always suck hah. Whether it is rejection from someone you love or a record label. It sucks to put everything you are out there and get shot down but it’s the risk you take to make advances. Dare greatly.
Tell us what you are doing to impact the people around you.
To impact the people around me, I’ve always tried to represent myself musically in a way that is true to who I am.
I used to teach guitar lessons to little girls and it is still a priority for me to give them a strong female role model that doesn’t take any crap.
Even though I haven’t taught in years I still try to not use “big swears” or over-sexualized things because I want them to listen to them and be proud.
Tell us the music that makes you happy.
I mostly listen to older pop and rock-based stuff; Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA (makes me insanely happy), Talking Heads, Donovan, Dire Straits, that sort of thing. More current stuff would be Primus, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Gogol Bordello.
Tell us how you make instrumentation to your song.
I wish I could say that I’ve had years of technical/classical training that contributes to my instrumentation but I haven’t. I usually just noodle around until something sounds right which usually means inadvertently ignoring keys and proper counts.
Tell us how you feel when you sing and your fans sing along to your song.
Like I’ve accomplished the goal of writing music in the first place – The best part of writing music and having people enjoy it is having that opportunity for connection i.e. connection to total strangers.
I think my understanding of this comes from being a regular concert-goer.
Hearing your favorite song and singing it back to the person that wrote it really provides a unique opportunity for spontaneous and simultaneous reciprocation.
Tell us the goals you aim to achieve when creating a song.
I want to connect and I want to make music that people can either already relate to or music that they incorporate into their own story. I want to write that song that people drag their bashful boyfriend onto the dance floor to dance to or the one they turn on when they need to deal with and get through some sort of sadness they have in their life.
Discuss your approach to writing.
Voice memos are my best friend. I turn off the radio when I’m driving and I force my brain to come up with something.
I sing random lines and tap rhythms on the steering wheel until something jives.
That then turns into a cringy voice memo that I have to sort through and make sense of after.
Tell us how you plan to develop a unique music style.
I think that having diverse artistic influences and not forcing myself to just write pop or just write country helps me to develop a unique music style.
I don’t sit down saying, “okay I need to do a dancey country song”, and the songs largely write themselves if the intent isn’t forced.
I write when I’m on top of the world, I write when I’m depressed, and I think writing to complement my emotional state leads to the natural synchrony in the song and subject matter.
Tell us how to record a song.
I think to a lot of musicians, the recording process seems intimidating.
A lot of my stuff stays as a really basic voice memo recording on my phone up until the day it makes it to a studio session.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with super professional and skillful individuals in the studio so that’s forced me to step up to the plate and bring everything to the table as soon as we’re recording.
Tell us if you are collaborating with other songwriters or you write alone.
I always write alone. I’m very easily distracted so when I sit down with other people, it usually gets off track within seconds and spirals out of control.
Discuss your experience with fans.
Some of the best fan experiences I’ve had have come from the release of the song “Cowboy” and I’m excited to see what connections come out of the new album.
I’ve had so many people come up to me with tears in their eyes sharing similar experiences they had had with loved ones.
That song has given me so many beautiful and intimate moments with total strangers, many of which I stay in contact with on a regular basis.
Discuss your experience with booking gigs and shows.
Booking gigs can be frustrating. You deal with a lot of characters (some good and some bad).
It’s a tough balance between gigging enough to get out there and still have enough time to develop your sound and write your own material.
Tell us if you consider a song placement in TV or Film.
Absolutely, I think a lot of my music is really mood-heavy, making it a good fit to accentuate emotionally charged cinematic moments.
Elaborate on the song.
‘Bathtub’ was written as the female counterpart, not surprisingly, to Johnny Cash’s Cocaine Blues.
There are too many “wrecked your truck” or “took your dog” revenge songs so I liked the idea of a traditional 50’s house-wife type just completely losing it, killing her cheating husband, and fleeing to Mexico to become a drug lord.
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
Chelsey is my actual first name. Danfield was invented to have something kind of close…
“At the Time” was chosen as the album title and title track because as I was getting the tracks together, it felt like each song was tightly linked to a very specific time or chapter in my life.
This album really chronicles a lot of the events and people that shaped my idiosyncrasies.
I feel like what we become is largely due to the people we encounter and regardless if we’re aware of it or not, we pick up a little piece of them and incorporate it into the fabric that makes up who we are.