Exclusive Artist Interview: Chelsea Paolini | Performing June 3rd at Bar Nine
Chelsea Paolini is the lead singer, guitarist,and songwriter of Portsmouth, New Hampshire's riff-rock trio People Skills. In addition to her acoustic adaptations of the songs she writes for the band, she plays brand new originals - including songs off her new solo album, "One More Before The Therapy Kicks In". Her style blends rock, funk, blues, psychedelic, jam, pop, and the melodic riff-rock style of People Skills
In anticipation of her live show with us on June 3rd at 5PM, Chelsea was nice enough to email from her home base in New Hampshire to discuss her new album, her musical influences and to discuss what inspires her on a day-to-day basis
BAR NINE: What type of band are you?
CHELSEA PAOLINI: I play solo-acoustic rock, indie-pop, and psychedelia
BN: Tell us the brief history of your band
CP: I've been playing in bands since I was 14 years old and am currently in a 3-piece psychedelic rock group called People Skills. I started playing solo acoustic shows once in a while for fun until I got a loop pedal which allowed me to expand on the material I could play live as a solo artist. Using the loop pedal I can record live segments on stage with my guitar so that I can play lead guitar over my rhythm parts. I started playing solo shows more frequently as it became more interesting and fun for me to play live. I have done two tours as a solo artist and my stop at Bar 9 will be a part of my third and longest solo tour. Last winter (2017) I recorded my first solo album, "One More Before The Therapy Kicks In"
BN: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
CP: My musical influences include The Who, Nirvana, Phish, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Neko Case, The Clash, Streetlight Manifesto, Ween, Eric Clapton, The Breakfast, The Supremes, The Beatles, Lady Gaga, Wilco, Amy Winehouse My Non-musical influences include Marilyn Monroe, BK
BN: What are your dreams and goals?
CP: My goals are to spread my music as far as I can to reach audiences that can connect to my writing and to continue traveling to play. I want to reach people who have feelings that they can't voice themselves hear their thoughts, problems, and ideas communicated in an artistic fashion. I want to help heal those suffering from mental illness, trauma, abuse, and anything else that can be interpreted through my writing by creating a connection
BN: Who writes the songs, what are they about?
CP: I write the songs and they are inspired by real-life situations that I've experienced personally. I write about relationships- friendships, romantic situations, and family- and the bliss or turmoil that can occur within or because of them. I have common themes that I write about such as mental illness, insomnia and sleep in general, rejection, social situations, love, heartbreak, bliss, and paranoia
BN: How do you promote your band and shows?
CP: I use social media platforms to promote my shows like facebook, instagram, twitter, bandsintown, snapchat, and tumblr. I also use print-out flyers and posters. I send press releases to newspapers and online periodicals about upcoming shows and new releases of music. I am on spotify and bandcamp where you can hear my music for free
BN: Describe your show, visual and musically
CP: At my solo shows you can expect a wide range of genres, from rock to indie-pop, to psychedelia, blues, folk, funk, soul, and garage. I play both rhythm and lead guitar, and sing as well. My voice is tender compared to the way I aggressively play guitar. Visually I tend to dance around like a bit of a dork, wearing something absurd- either vibrant colors, black, or very little at all
BN: What do you think about downloading music online?
CP: At this point, downloading music can't be fought, and while it hurts artists, we just have to be more creative about how we make our money when we can't count on record sales
BN: What's your outlook on the record industry today?
CP: The record industry itself was never great to artists, and so the decline in the record industry just means that independent labels are the way to go. Either self-releasing music or using an independent label that gives you freedom and the money you're entitled to is necessary to stay afloat in the industry. People don't want to buy music because they don't have to- but artists need to keep releasing music, which isn't cheap. This puts a lot of strain on artists to come up with the money to release their music to their fans without being able to expect to break even with the profits of the record sales. Sales in other merchandise have become more important, like t-shirts, stickers, and anything creative that artists can come up with
BN: What's your claim to fame?
CP: I wear a bow in my hair almost every day.
BN: Tell us a story about a day in your life
CP: One day I went running, as I tend to do, when all of the sudden my hands felt itchy and my ears felt full of sand. My throat was dry and it became hard to breathe. I started sprinting in the direction of my parents' house. When I got home, my mother approached me and looked horrified when she saw my face. She told me I must be having an allergic reaction. We didn't make it to hospital before stopping at the nearby fire station and hopping in an ambulance where they gave me the epi-pen and an oxygen mask. It turns out I'm allergic to my own sweat. No joke. About 2 percent of the population has this rare thing where intense cardio causes anaphylactic shock! I still work out. I have my own epi-pen now
BN: What inspires you to do what you do?
CP: I am inspired simply knowing that there is nothing else I want to do with my life other than play music. It is my one and only career choice. But I am also inspired by several things every day, whether it be an encounter with a stranger, a song I hear, or a social catastrophy.
BN: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
CP: If you're playing with other bands on the same bill and there is a band after you, be quicker about getting yourself and your gear off stage.
BN: What are some of your pet peeves?
CP: When bands take a really long time to pack up their gear and get off stage when you're waiting to play the set after them.
BN: How does music affect you and the world around you?
CP: Music is a powerful platform where one idea can turn into millions. A song can be interpreted in infinite ways, so many people can connect to one song despite all their different backgrounds and situations. This connects people and also causes discussion. It can bring people together or tear them apart depending on the content. It can be purely artistic or political, objective or subjective.
BN: What's new in the recording of your music?
CP: I just released a music video for a track off my solo album. The track is called "I'll Have Money Someday" and you can check it out here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40dkFthsOx0
BN: What are the biggest obstacles for bands?
CP: I'm going to answer 18 and 19 together because they go hand in hand. Two of the biggest obstacles for bands/artists is playing clubs and gaining fans. These go hand in hand because clubs don't want to book you unless you can bring in a solid group of fans, but you can't gain any fans if you can't get the exposure of playing live for people who will want to come back next time. There are ways to gain fans like an online presence, but playing live is the best way to showcase what it is you really do. Another obstacle is recording as it can be expensive and there isn't much of a profit margin on selling albums, as I explained in number 10
BN: What's the best and worst thing about playing clubs?
CP: I already said the worst part which is getting the gig, but the best part is enjoying that club's unique atmosphere and getting to play for the fans that frequent the club. Every club has its own niche and it's fun to experience the diversity of different music venues. Also, people in the audience of a club are going to be more receptive and attentive than the audience of a regular bar
BN: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there
CP: I am taking off on a three-week solo tour spanning from New England to Denver. I'll be in CT, NYC, Baltimore, DC, Asheville, Kansas City, Denver, Bufffalo, and Burlington VT. It's my longest solo tour yet and please check my website and tour schedule and tell your friends in each area!