As part of our on-going commitment to helping undiscovered musical and video talent get exposed world-wide, sleepingbagstudios will post interviews regularly with in-depth Q&A’s and pass them on to YOU – the music lovers. Take some time and read about a couple of great artists you might not have ever heard of before – this week it’s singer/songwriters Missy And Chelsea from the USA!
They have grown up quite a bit since the picture above, and they play music that is composed still beyond their age now. Missy has an incredible emotional tone in her voice that can connect to the soft spot of even the toughest of characters. Combined with Chelsea’s steady bass and backup vocals – this is a pair of girls that, while they might still technically be “getting started” – there’s little doubt that they will be doing this for the rest of their lives.
Interview with Missy And Chelsea
SBS: The first thing to hit people most likely is your age. At 15 and 17 – you are writing at a level far beyond your years. Are there still “normal” girls in there? Do you still have time to just be kids or do you consider yourself adults already?
M&C: We’re not sure about normal, but we’re definitely still kids! We still go out with friends, play sports, watch tv, and do what kids do. The only difference is, when we get home, we sit down and work on music together.
SBS: Give us your perception of the music industry at your age – what draws you to it and do you think there will be anything you need to avoid?
M&C: So far, we can tell the music industry has a lot of people out there ready to take our parent’s money without providing anything useful in return. We try to be careful to avoid the scams. We are, however, drawn to the possibility of making it big. The idea of success in the music industry excites us!
SBS: Tell us about where you live in Sault Ste. Marie – what is the support level like for you in your home town?
M&C: The support level from our little town is GREAT! Because it’s so small, it’s easy to get a lot of recognition. Our school treats us like local celebrities, and we’re known around town for our music. A couple of months ago, we were crossing back into America from Canada, and the border patrol even recognized us from a show we played over the summer.
SBS: When did the two of you start playing music together and whose idea was it?
M&C: We’ve been playing music together basically for our whole lives. We have an older sister and we’d all three make music together, whether it was on violin, piano, guitar, or singing. Our mom is the reason behind that; she came from a very musical family herself.
SBS: What is the most important part of your songwriting? Is there something that you feel like your songs must have to become an official Missy and Chelsea track?
M&C: We think the most important elements, when it comes to writing our songs, are that they’re clean and have universal appeal. Those are really the only guidelines we follow when writing songs. Other than that, we try to address a variety of topics.
SBS: Has there been anyone that has told you this is a risky move to make with your life? Like, as in going after a musical career? What makes you girls go for after it despite that?
M&C: People have told us the music industry is a tough business, although no one has ever told us anything we haven’t already thought of. Of course, if we were to make a career out of our music, we’d leave behind a more comfortable and predictable lifestyle, but comfort and routine aren’t necessarily what we’re after. Despite the risks of a musical career, we continue chasing after it because we LOVE to make music. We also have a supportive family, which makes it a lot easier for us to keep going.
SBS: Who writes the lyrics to the Missy and Chelsea tracks? Is that a shared responsibility?
M&C: Missy has been writing song lyrics since she was seven years old. She continues to do the song-writing for Missy and Chelsea.
SBS: Do you plan to always go by Missy and Chelsea? Are there any plans to expand past just the two of you?
M&C: As of right now, we’re trying to stick with Missy and Chelsea. We would love to have a band playing behind us some day, but we don’t have any intentions of expanding yet. A lot of people like our simple, “raw” sound. Sometimes, after playing at festivals, people say our music was a relief for their ears.
SBS: Now – I’ve already mentioned that I’m a believer in your music. There’s a tone in there that I think will translate to many people. But at 15 & 17 – if this is the future – well….are you ready for it? How do you know for sure?
M&C: We are ready for it. There’s really no way to know exactly to expect, but we do know we’re strong and ready to face obstacles.
SBS: How important are the lyrics in your songs? Do you find yourself re-writing much?
M&C: The lyrics are the most important part of our music. There are so many songs out there where the lyrics aren’t very well thought out and seem kind of meaningless. Missy strives to write lyrics that are relatable, diverse and coherent. We don’t find ourselves re-writing that much… maybe swap a word or two.
SBS: We’re based out of BC Canada – have you ever been up north across the border?
M&C: Sure have! We go into Sault Ste Marie, Canada fairly often. We haven’t gone as far as BC!
SBS: If you were to choose someone outside of your genre to work with, someone making entirely different music than you, who would you choose?
M&C: As strange as it may seem, we’d choose a rapper to come in maybe at the beginning of our songs and then tear it up somewhere in the middle. That would be so cool!
SBS: We can see from your YouTube video collection that you like to cover songs – what is it that you look for in another artist’s work when choosing which song to cover?
M&C: We look for something that captures our attention, as well as most everyone else’s. We want to cover something catchy and popular, so people can recognize it and sing along.
SBS: Being underage as far as bars are concerned – where are you two finding places to play?
M&C: We play just about everywhere in Sault Ste Marie. The bars typically let us in as long as we have a parent with us. We play at bars, coffee shops, restaurants, on sidewalks downtown, nursing homes, schools, festivals, and even on tour boats going through the Soo locks.
SBS: You’re coming up to your second album. How has the music grown in between this record and the last?
M&C: Personal and musical maturity, style/sound variety, and greater use of Chelsea’s vocal harmonies.
SBS: When we talked with each other last, you mentioned that you “want others to understand that there’s no reason singers need to constantly swear and talk about sex, drugs, and arrogance to create a ‘good’ song.” We do agree with you, but we’re curious about where exactly you’re sending your message to?
M&C: We are trying to reach out to everyone! Every age, every gender, anyone who will give us a listen. We think good, clean music is appropriate for everybody.
SBS: How important is the fame and stardom aspect of becoming a musician to you both?
M&C: It’s not as important as the music itself. We just want to be able to write and perform our music for a living… a decent living. We believe in our abilities, so widespread recognition is part of our goal. We’re going to continue to chase our dream, and as long as it’s fun and productive, we’re happy.
SBS: How do your motivation levels compare when it comes to making music? Is one of you always asking the other to write or is it fairly even between you two?
M&C: Chelsea never has to ask Missy to write. Missy never stops writing.
SBS: Being sisters – how connected do you both feel in this journey together? Has that bond you share been tested at all along the way?
M&C: If we make it anywhere, we want to be together. It’ll be tough when Missy goes to college next year because she doesn’t know what to do and where she’ll go. That will really test us, because we want to stick together no matter what.
SBS: Along with the bass and guitars you play now, there’s also piano and violin in your musical background – what other musical aspirations do you two have? Are there specific goals for Missy and Chelsea for their long term career?
M&C: We’d like to incorporate other instruments into our music, and we will at some point. For now, there’s only so much we can do with just the two of us. It’s kind of hard to play guitar and keyboard at the same time (ha). Someday, we’d like the support and versatility of additional band members.
SBS: You’re at an age where you’re born connected to the internet, whereas a lot of the old time industry musicians we’ve been listening to for years are still catching up. Do you spend a lot of time filling people in through the internet’s social media? How important is it for you to stay connected that way?
M&C: Social media is a really big factor, especially since we live in a small, isolated town. We try to stay connected with our fans and make sure they know they’re important to us, because they are! We also spend some time promoting our music online and entering music competitions.
SBS: Alright, here’s a random scenario – a HUGE, HAIRY, TATTOOED biker lookin guy in his late forties wants to support Missy and Chelsea, but he’s just not certain what about your music would appeal to him. Though he is an incredibly HUGE, HAIRY, TATTOOED biker lookin guy – he’s also an incredibly informed buyer – and he honestly just wants to know what a gruff old man like himself would find appealing to him in your music. What might you say?
M&C: We would say our music has a wide range of sounds and topics. If he didn’t like one song on our album, he very well might like the next. Regardless of the sound, we would say he might find the lyrics appealing. Our songs convey meaning and passion… feelings that any human being can relate to. Our dad and uncles are big, hairy, and gruffy. They like our music, but we suspect they’re rather biased J
SBS: Alright Missy and Chelsea – the floor is yours – a tradition in our interviews. What would you like to communicate most to your fans?
M&C: First and foremost, we love our fans. We love reading the Facebook and YouTube comments. We love meeting and talking to people before and after our shows. It means soooo much to us! Without the fans we’d have less motivation to create new music. We want to give our fans something in return for what they give us. We want to provide them with songs that will make them feel better, give them hope, let them know they’re not the only one who feel the way they do. We believe that there’s so much music can say that words alone can’t, and we want to share that with everyone.
Finally, we’d like to thank you Jeremy for taking so much of your time to listen to our music and offer thoughtful and articulate questions. You are very, very thorough. On behalf of independent musicians everywhere, we truly thank you. We’d love to meet you.
Missy and Chelsea
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