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Life & Work with Chelsee Foster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsee Foster.

Chelsee, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My story? I started as a skater, which nurtured my love of music and expression. My single mom kept me in anything I could do: ballet, gymnastics, and acting. However, singing stole my heart. Especially when we didn’t have the means to keep me skating. I lived in many different states growing up and performed in all of them – theatre in Colorado, opry houses in Oklahoma, horse races in Texas, and of course the Voice and American Idol auditions. I’ve sang in several different trios, quartets, and girl groups over the years, collecting experience wherever I could – even yodeling!

When I moved to Los Angeles, I went to a performing arts high school and eventually attained a music business degree from CSUN, which included classical vocal training. Singing in other languages was so fun! I still utilize a lot of those skills and pass them onto my vocal students today. As an alto/mezzo-soprano, I love to perform a wide range of genres including rock, blues, country, and soul. I’m so grateful to be doing that for a living now! Every single performance has led me to the artist I am today.

Alongside my day job at a music licensing company (and coaching skating of course), I owned and operated my own karaoke business for private events and local venues. What a fun way to share the love of music and hone my skills for shows with my band! My favorite place to play was the sunset strip. You could definitely call me a Viper Room rat, and I loved performing at the Whisky a Go Go and the Troubadour as well. Such historical stages!

Networking has given me amazing experiences and friends wherever I go. In 2019, I seized a wonderful opportunity to sing on a cruise ship for six months! I packed up my life and hit the Caribbean. Shortly after, the pandemic hit and I saw my chance to take another leap of passion. Last year I moved to Nashville and I couldn’t be happier!

Congruently, I began writing my own music and found a wonderful producer to collaborate with, which unveiled my true identity as a vocalist. Since then, we’ve released an EP and are working on more music together remotely. I feel that I’ve really found my sound as a blues-rock artist, exemplified in my new single, Break these Blues! I’m looking forward to whatever the next chapter in my music career brings.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
My road was full of trials and tribulations, like any other artist, but I’ve found that my path led me to exactly where I’m supposed to be. If I hadn’t gone to college and instead started a touring band like my manager wanted, I would not be where I am today. That was a tough decision that ultimately put my performing career on hold. But I knew I could be more or go about it better somehow. I realized then, as every strong woman out there will find out, that if you want to be an incredible force in this world, you must never stop learning and growing.

One important lesson I learned is that the (male-dominated) music industry is full of rejection and judgment. It takes a certain tenacity and the right perspective to trudge through those challenges. Skating taught me: If you fall, get back up and try again. Failure is a lesson!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I’ve always been a bit of a busy body! Currently, I really enjoy working at the biggest bar in Nashville: Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk. We have a double-level stage, as well as an extra balcony for audience members! I walked into that beautiful place a year ago and said to myself – that’s my stage.

Frequently, I’m also booked at the world-famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and a few other venues around town. As bandleader, I’ve acquired a vast network of musicians I can hire for shows. I’m getting booked out for private parties in other states as well!

In addition, The Honky Tonk School offered me a position teaching vocal lessons. Now, I get to help the new singers that come onto the circuit! Naturally, I picked up coaching skating again as well and enjoy cutting music and choreographing programs for competitions. Working with kids is the best.

I’m known for being a ball of energy on stage! Even doing 4 hour shows throughout the week, I always give it my all. People like the high kicks, spins and matrix moves I do while singing. I would say I specialize in connecting with people! Most of the time it’s to bring the joy of music and celebration or share my passion of skating. But sometimes, I am able connect through music on a deeper level. Everyone has hard times, and music is a natural healer. It somehow lets us relate to each other more directly than just words – hence the universal language.

I think that’s what sets me apart: I bare my soul on that stage. And if willing, people will let that into their souls. It’s a beautiful gift I wouldn’t trade for the world. I am most proud of every time someone tells me my music made a difference to them-even if it was just for a moment. I’m grateful for that brief connection.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
The most essential quality that has contributed to my success as a vocalist is sheer work ethic: another valuable lesson I learned from skating! Talent only gets you so far; determination and dedication will make a world of difference. When one door shuts in my face, I dust myself off and seek another, better door.

For example: I wanted to travel so badly after college! I started training for skating again and auditioned for Disney on Ice with no luck. I then auditioned for a cruise line as a skater and again was rejected. They do say 3rd time’s the charm, so I took a different angle and found a way into a band auditioning for another cruise line. My persistence paid off! I continue to remind myself that everything is temporary and most likely achievable. Remember, we all carve our own path in this life!

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Image Credits
Chelsea Maker, Philip Rushmore, Marcus York, Nate Milstein

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