Interview: Stacey Kelleher
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I’ve always loved to sing - I remember singing along with the radio when I was really little. My parents started me in piano lessons at age six and from then on out, I was hooked. I started guitar lessons at age nine, then I joined my middle school’s band and chorus programs, then jazz band, a capella groups, marching band…everything musical I could find, I did. If I didn’t do music, I would probably be an English teacher. I always loved writing and reading and dreamed of teaching since I was young.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing music, I love to go running. Being creative can be exhausting - I pull from my personal life for a lot of my songs and diving deep into that stuff can be a lot. The adrenaline rush from getting outside and moving often generates new song ideas for me, but tt also just clears my mind and usually after I run I feel refreshed and ready to be creative again.
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been releasing music since 2018, but feel as if I’ve finally found my sound and who I am musically in the past year and a half or so. I feel like I tested out a lot of genres and styles of music, but the music I’ve released in the past year really feel like “me”.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Nashville, Tennessee and moving here definitely gave me a lot to write about. I released my EP “Songs So Far” last November which was made up of the songs that I’ve written since moving here that I feel like describe who I am. A lot of those experiences that I wrote about happened here, and so they gave me a lot of inspiration for that project.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
For the longest time, I thought about coming up with a different artist name, but in the end I decided to stick with my given name and I’m really glad I did. Hearing my name be announced right before I go onstage or before my song is played on a radio station gives me a sense of pride - I’ve heard my name be said so many times in my life but each time that it’s said in a setting like that it humbles me.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I headlined an iconic venue in East Nashville called The Bowery Vault for my “Songs So Far” EP release show last November and it was so lovely. It’s a small room but it was full of friends and family that came to support me, which meant so much to me. It was also my first time playing the project with it being released, which gave me some special memories of the first time that I got to showcase those songs with them out in the world for people to listen to.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite place to play is The Basement here in Nashville. I’ve played there twice so far with my band and both times have been so much fun. I love attending shows there so whenever I get to play there it’s been such a dream come true. I really want to play at their sister venue, The Basement East. Hoping that will happen someday soon too! As far as larger venues, I’d love to play at EXIT/IN here in town - I love attending shows in such a storied room there.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Definitely Miley Cyrus, Holly Humberstone, Stevie Nicks and Harry Styles. Phew! I don’t think I’d make it out on two feet if I saw all of them in one night AND I was playing too!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To someone just getting into playing in a band - keep at it, don’t be so hard on yourself, have fun, work hard, find out who your friends are, and never settle. To my younger self - you can do this, you WILL do this, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Whatever is meant to be will be, and you’ll be so proud of who you become.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to play that show, or write that song, or talk to that person, or to speak up. Just do it - life’s too short and what’s the worst that could happen?
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I’ve got this new song that I wrote with my friend Dylan Rockoff called “Broke In”. No one’s heard it yet, but it’s really special to me because we wrote it about how different my voice is. Growing up and even still today, so many people have asked me if there’s something wrong with my voice because it’s super raspy, but it’s just the way that I sound. The song talks about how I’m not broken, but I’m just broke in, and it’s amazing to me that we were able to turn something so personal to me into such a relatable song. I can’t wait to finish recording it and release it!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite song to play is definitely my song “You Never Know With Me” - I love playing it with my band because they sing beautiful harmonies with me and it just feels so organic and raw. The one that gets requested the most is called “They’re Not Us” - it’s not released yet but everyone always asks us to play it, which is so sweet!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Generally my creative process is to schedule songwriting sessions and write frequently. Once I have a song that I like, I’ll go in the studio with my producer Alex Fansel and we co-produce the track together. We’ve been working together a long time so we get through songs relatively quickly. He also mixes and masters my songs. My music is really inspired by whatever I’m going through at the time, whether it be happy, sad, whatever. Music is so therapeutic for me and you can definitely tell by listening to my songs.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I think it’s important to talk about mental health, which I do frequently in my songs. I also like to say that it’s okay to not be perfect, whatever that means. I’m definitely not perfect and I don’t pretend to be in my songs.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Since I’m a solo artist, usually no, but if I have disagreements with a producer or songwriter or other collaborator, I think it’s best to just address them upfront (politely of course). It’s better to address something immediately rather than wait too long and have it blow up into something way out of proportion.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’m releasing loads more music this year which I’m super excited for and I’ll be returning to New England from July 1 through the 10 to do a small tour throughout some of the states! Super excited to get back on the road.