[EXCLUSIVE] Chelsea Cutler Speaks Her Debut Album And How To Navigate Life In Your 20s
Navigating life in your 20s isn’t easy, and Chelsea Cutler is quite accustomed to it. She takes on the uncertainty our 20s bring in her debut album, How To Be Human, with such raw honesty that it isn’t hard for us to relate to. It feels like a friend confiding in us, and that we can do the same too — isn’t that what we all want?
Chelsea started making music at a young age, and started posting it online since 2014. Since then she’s had a steady rise in fame and had no problem adjusting into the limelight. “Honestly, I think it’s pretty gradual. So it’s been really easy to adjust to just cause it didn’t happen so drastic at any point,” she said when we caught up with her. And when it came to the pivotal moment of realising that music is her thing Chelsea said, “I got the offer to go on tour with Quinn XCII and it was kind of a no brainer. It felt like the right thing to do — to leave school and to pursue music full time.”
Can you tell us a little backstory about How To Be Human?
I wrote this song “How To Be Human” in a hotel room, and I kept talking to myself like I don’t really know how to be a person or how to be human and that phrase, “How To Be Human” really stuck with me. And it felt really fitting to be the title track because everything I was writing really revolved around figuring out how to be a person and how to be in your early 20s and all that stuff. It’s a very confusing time for us.
The album seems rather personal, so did you find yourself approaching making this album different from your previous EPs/albums?
I think that in general, I’m not afraid to be vulnerable with my lyrics and to be honest. I think more than anything the biggest difference it just that I’ve matured a lot so my writing had matured a lot, so I don’t think I had a cautiously different approach to this album.
Your new album, How To Be Human, explores navigating through life in your 20s. What do you think is something we overlook when figuring life out?
I think we overlook how important it is to be present. We’re always on our phones, we’re always wondering what’s going to happen in the future and always thinking about what’s happened in the past, I think it’s just remarkably important to be present and to enjoy who you’re with and y’know experience the feeling that you’re feeling at any given time. And y’know, just basking in that experience.
Your collab with Jeremy Zucker was amazing, did you ever expect that response?
No, we definitely didn’t! We kinda wrote the songs, we wrote it just for fun and to just do something special. But we had really no expectations at all. So it was a real surprise to receive all that love.
How was it like working with him?
With Jeremy? He’s the best, like we’re really good friends. And it’s so easy for us to write with each other. We’ve just got this really intimate friendship, like we’re honest and real with each other and that’s why we’re able to write so organically. And uh, it’s just special, it’s special.
What’s your song writing process like?
I don’t really have a set process on what I like, because it kinda keeps it fresh. Y’know what I mean? Like it’s nice to not have a set process because everything comes at the right time. It kinda happens when it’s supposed to, so yeah, my process really varies. I think sometimes there are times when I’m on an airplane or in another country or I could be in my bedroom. There are times where I get inspo when I’m in a taxi, singing to myself like a crazy person because I don’t wanna forget an idea. But yeah, it really varies.
Who are your biggest inspirations when it comes to making music?
I think definitely The 1975 have been a big inspiration for me. I just love Matty Healy’s writing, I think he’s just so incredible. And I love how genre bending they are because they don’t put themselves in a box. Post Malone is another cool artiste because of the same reason, he kinda creates whatever he feels like creating. He doesn’t adhere to only one genre, and puts out something a little bit outside of what he generally releases so I don’t know, I just really like that.
Do you have any advice that you can give to those who are struggling to figure life out right now?
I think it takes a lot of conscious practice to be present, it’s not something that just happens overnight, it’s something that you are attentive in and are discipline. They work like muscles so it’s something you constantly have to work at and will get better over time.
The album’s been getting amazing responses, so do you think the raw emotions/honesty/relatability played a big role in its success?
I think so! I think that the more honest you are, your listeners really like that because it establishes a relationship almost. Like we’re friends. There’s an intimacy to that, that I think is very special and very important. I think honesty resonates a lot more with people. Just tell your own story, it’s like a friendship.
What’s your favourite song off the album? And why.
“nj” is definitely my favourite. It just feels the most powerful to me. It was one of my favourites to write.
You’re on tour right now which must be really exciting, but what’s the most memorable moment you’ve had on tour?
I think the most memorable tour moment, is playing Lollapalooza. That festival was so special and was a dream come true and it couldn’t have gone better. One of the best days in my life.
If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would it be?
3 words? Hmm, I think I’m nice. I am witty. And I’m pretty authentic/genuine.
We know you just dropped How To Be Human but what can we expect from Chelsea Cutler in 2020 (or beyond)?
Honestly, I don’t really know. I don’t know what 2020 is gonna hold. And now I’m just kinda focusing on enjoying the album and the tour and living in this moment. So yeah, I’m not really sure on what’s gonna come next. I think we are definitely trying to get this tour to Asia so yeah. But I’m not really sure what’s gonna come next. [are you gonna come to malaysia?] I think so! This summer. Zoe (Chelsea’s assistant) correct me if I’m wrong but if I have it my way (we will)!
Listen to ‘How To Be Human’ here;