Kelsy Karter is unapologetically herself. She gave me a glimpse into her life as we talked about how she got into music, what’s she learned about herself since moving to the US, her single “God Knows I’ve Tried,” what she nerds out about and so much more. Keep reading to see what she had to say.
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
I grew up in a really musical family so I played instruments from a young age and was a theatre kid, but I never thought I’d be a singer. I always sang in the theatre, but acting was my dream.
Was there a specific moment or person who made you realize music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
When I was a teenager, I discovered rock & roll. I had grown up learning how to sing from jazz and soul music that my Dad introduced me to. It was only when I found Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury, that I got a real desire to be an artist.
You were born in New Zealand, moved to Australia and eventually moved to LA to pursue your music and other opportunities. What have you learned about yourself both personally and as an artist since you’ve been in the states?
I’ve learned that I’m kind of like a pirate. I feel like I’m not really from any time or place, a nomadic spirit of sorts and home is just the people I love and doing what I love.
I know your sound is a combination of soul, pop and even rock, but how would you describe it without using genre names?
Blue-eyed rock & roll is what my music is called and my objective is to introduce a new kind of rock & roll to the kids’ ears.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
My Dad, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Queen, Bowie, James Brown, Sam Cooke, Elvis. And MY FANS. They inspire me every single day.
I honestly really enjoyed your new single, “God Knows I’ve Tried.” What is the story behind the song?
It’s a confessional. I’ve spent my life living by my own design and a lot of the time people label that reckless or rebellious, but it’s just me. I’m not a bad person, I’ve done some bad things, but I’m not a bad person. GKIT is my apology, but also my way of finding peace in who I am.
What was your writing process like for this song in particular? Did you write it by yourself or did you collaborate with other writers?
I wrote this one with two other writers – Michael Morgan and Anders Grahn – one afternoon in Los Angeles. I cried the whole time. It was a therapeutic session for sure.
You are still very new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
Touring is really all I want to do right now. I want to experience my fans and I want them to experience me. Be on the road with my band and make music and spread love and inspire kids around the world and beyond. If I could take my pick to tour with anyone it would be Harry Styles.
Musically, what can people expect from you for the rest of 2018? Any chance of more new music this year?
Yes. I’m working on my record right now. Probably a couple more singles, then hit ’em with that record top of the year.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something, besides music, that you nerd out about?
I’m a big poker player. Been playing since I was a kid. And I love old cars. That’s probably what I’ll spend all my money on [once] I win in the World Poker Tour. [laughs]