Kelsy Karter. Rebel. Runaway. Hollywood singer. Music’s newest star? Perhaps. But don’t look for this young lady to fit the manufactured “mold” dictated by mainstream record labels and agents. Or to catch her on any of those ridiculous TV shows like American Idol or The Voice. Yes, of course, she’s talented. Oh, so talented. And such a beauty. However, this singer prefers switchblades and greasers to frilly designer dresses and makeup. A self-proclaimed tomboy, with gorgeous eyes and hair, she very much resembles a young Angeline Jolie. And this gal belts out her own tunes, throwing her bluesy soul into every song. Look out! We see big things for this one. Photography AlexanderThompson. Makeup James Vincent. Hair Ahbi Nishman. http://www.kelsykarter.com
PONYBOY: Kelsy, we read that you were born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, and that you now reside in Los Angeles.
KELSY KARTER: Yes, I sure was. My dad is from the U.S., so I am one of those annoying two passport people. It’s awesome.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your upbringing as a young girl in Australia. What was life like for you?
KELSY KARTER: Life was always weird, and always wonderful. I come from a family of very creative and intense people, so life was never boring. And I have a special needs brother, so even though I’m the baby, I would often play the big sister role. But life was great. I was a theatre kid, and the biggest tomboy ever! So by day I would get dirty with the boys and by night I’d do my thing on the stage.
PONYBOY: What brought your move to America, primarily Los Angeles. You pretty much ran away at the age of seventeen?
KELSY KARTER: I’m an impulsive person. Some may say I’ve done a lot of stupid shit, and I’m among those people. Ha! And ‘running away’ to America was one of those things. But it was possibly the boldest and most beautiful thing I’ve ever done. Most people spend their lives feeling less than satisfied, wishing they’d lived more, or fulfilled their dreams. I refuse to be one of those people! I never really felt like I fit in, living in Australia (although it is my home and I love it). I always felt like an outsider, spiritually and creatively. America was always the plan. It was always my path. Los Angeles? Well, it’s a colorful, strange city. And, listen, I still don’t really feel like I belong. But I’m cool with that. I like that feeling now. It’s exciting. My next victim is New York!
PONYBOY: Tell us about Kelsy Karter’s music.
KELSY KARTER: I was brought up on so much great music. Soul, Motown, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, the kind of stuff that isn’t always popular with my generation. The music I make reflects that. My music is my own little mix of musical wonder. And, lucky for me, it’s coming back around. Real music is ‘in’ again, at least getting there. Ha! Rock & Soul is the best way to put it, I guess. I sing with my soul. It’s my first language.
PONYBOY: Tell us about your most recent EP release, Kiss the Boys.
KELSY KARTER: Yes! So, I just released my first official EP “Kiss The Boys”. I’ve never been so proud in my life. I finally get to call the shots, make the music I was meant to make, and this record is a depiction of that–stories, entries from my life and my soul. It’s not what you’d expect. It’s all about rebellion, love, heartbreak, breaking hearts, loss–very theatrical and colorful. And, it’s pretty heavy at times. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through this process, it’s that I was born to sing the blues!
PONYBOY: Do you write all of your own lyrics?
KELSY KARTER: I do. I refuse to sing anything I didn’t write. There’s something phony about that to me. I wrote this record with some wonderful, talented people. It’s hard for me to trust other people with my work. But, when you can find people that do get it, and get you, then collaborations can be magic.
PONYBOY: You’re a bit of rebel. What are you rebelling against?
KELSY KARTER: I don’t know–myself, society. I hate the thought of being ordinary. But it’s not like I’m on a constant mission to do what I’m not supposed to. It’s just instinct. Growing up, I would find myself getting into a lot of trouble, and I sort of loved it. It’s almost therapeutic for me. It heals me. I like doing what most people wouldn’t. But I wouldn’t call myself a rebel, I just have a rebellious spirit. But, people like to label you, and apparently I’m a rebel. So now I use it to my advantage. I’ve made it ‘my thing’.
PONYBOY: You’re very much into the 50s aesthetic, though you don’t really dress or sound like it. You love greasers, switchblades and Ponyboy.
KELSY KARTER: My voice was 100% made for another time. Give me any Elvis or Stevie song and I will crush it. Gimme a Britney or Selena song and I won’t know what I’m doing. My whole life I had people telling me I sound like an old singer, and luckily that’s what I am into. As for fashion, I consider myself a female James Dean. I’m a greaser. I’m an outsider. I live in jeans, a white tee, and leather jacket–always has been me, and always will be. Don’t get me wrong, I like to get girly now and then. I’ll throw on a babydoll dress and some lipstick, but then how am I supposed to jump fences? Ha!
PONYBOY: If you could only pick one musician to name as your ultimate idol, who would it be?
KELSY KARTER: Sam Cooke and Amy Winehouse.
PONYBOY: How would you describe your personal style?
KELSY KARTER: James Dean meets Anna Karina meets Joan Jett.
PONYBOY: Do you have plans to tour?
KELSY KARTER: Yes! Big plans. I couldn’t be more ready for that life.
PONYBOY: And our last question for you, what kind of musician do you not want to be?
KELSY KARTER: A forgotten one.