Earlier this week, I sat down with Kelsey Bovey to find out a little more about her Disney preferences, what she’s been up to during this lockdown season, and of course – what made her country.
Let’s start with a bit about Kelsey Bovey, in her own words:
I do music, obviously. I write original music myself based on my own personal experiences, so, I was bullied in school so I write about that – and the lovey-dovey pop songs, the heartbreaks… I started when I was eight years old, started with the piano, got into singing and songwriting and then I picked up the guitar.
And then in my personal life I’m just a bit of a Disney freak!
So, who’s your favourite Disney princess?
Oh, that’s a tough one!
Like picking your favourite child?
It really is! I like Rapunzel quite a lot.
Are you Frozen or Tangled?
Tangled, I think!
Okay, let’s start with your songwriting process.
When I write songs, it’s either I fancy writing or I’ve got something to write about, it depends on the situation. So if I’m feeling some kinda way and I wanna get it out then I’ll song-write, I feel like that gives the most authentic result in the end. So in terms of that I just pick up my guitar and sing whatever comes to mind, say what I’m feeling and write stuff down that I’m thinking of and just slowly turn it into a song and a structure and it kind of works itself together, I guess.
But if I’m just writing a song in general, I usually just do the melody first then the lyrics. That’s a very common question that people ask, what’s the first thing you do – mine’s melody, but I know it’s different for everyone else, but that’s my personal one.
So, as you write about your experiences, how would you say your songwriting – and your music – has evolved since your first song?
My first song that I wrote is Lady in Red which is on my current EP; from about the age of 12 I was writing songs but it was about 12 year old boys and it wasn’t really anything, but then I had a change of heart and thought ‘could I songwrite to help me get through that experience?’ and it really helped and it came out as a really authentic — how I actually felt in that song and how it came together. So that’s how I started songwriting. And ever since then I’ve had something to write about, my past experience with bullying; sometimes you have to go into a different headspace to write it down and make it the best version of the song it can be. But it’s incredible to watch songs you’ve written in your bedroom from such rubbish experiences be turned into such a positive experience when it comes to recording and producing and all that stuff. And then watching it go out to the real world and seeing the love and attention it gets, especially when it’s such an emotional song to me, personally – about my bullying – and to see it get into the charts, into the singer-songwriter charts, you just can’t quite put the two together, it’s like something I’ve done in my bedroom is now out in the real world and loved by so many people.
Who are you listening to right now?
I really like Sam Hunt at the moment. I’ve been getting more into Luke Combs and Rascal Flatts now and I’ve been listening to Carrie Underwood and Catherine McGrath, I really like at the moment as well.
Do you have a dream collaboration?
I would’ve said Ariana Grande, but now I’ve steered a little more country I think Kelsea Ballerini would be a good one. She writes similar to me and I think both of our skills would compliment each other quite well.
What is your favourite song to perform?
If it’s my own it would be my new single Magnetic because it’s quite fun. As for covers, I love doing Talk of the Town by Catherine McGrath. That’s a solid one to do. I get a lot of compliments on that one as well.
Let’s do some quickfire questions.
Pineapple on pizza:
Best biscuit in the tin?
Tea or coffee?
The laughing one, it’s a classic!
Cats or dogs?
That’s such a hard one because I’ve got two cats but I want a dog! Let’s say dog.
What colour is your toothbrush?
If there’s a spider in your house, do you kill it or set it free?
Set it free. But not me!
First thing that comes to mind when I say…
WHAT MADE YOU COUNTRY
What was the first country song you remember hearing?
I’ve always had some country on in the house, my dad was quite country, he liked that sort of music so I did have Shania Twain and all the country Train stuff – to be honest it’s probably Bruises by Train, I know they’re not solely country artists but that one song they did with Ashley Monroe is probably the first song I remember that got me into that kind of music.
So would you say there’s one song or artist that made you want to make country music more than anything else?
My mum’s best friends are both massive country fans so they used to take us to all the music and I loved to see different genres of music. So I went to see Catherine McGrath live and that was probably the night where I was like ‘this all makes sense now’. I was in the process of recording my EP at the time, that was already sort of country because I was working with a country recording studio Puzzle Maker at the time, and Danny McMahon who is a producer and artist there, we work really closely together and write together – so I played him my first song and he was like ‘I love it’ and then he made it country because that’s what I think it needed. So it was kind of pushing that way anyway but I never really saw myself as a country artist, really. I just wrote songs. But then that night was when it all made sense to me.
Five songs that you grew up with – or that defined you as being a country fan?
A pretty nice selection of some classics and some more contemporary country – do you have a favourite style of country?
Country pop is what I listen to most, it’s kind of what I do because it’s the kind of music I listen to it’s the kind of music I wanna make, it goes hand in hand.
So what’s next for you?
My new single will be coming out at the end of May and my EP will be coming out at the end of June, but in terms of everything else, festivals have all been cancelled now so I don’t have anything like that to look forward to, I’m just excited for gigs to get back up and running again. Make new music, write new music, I guess that’s all I can focus on at the moment.
Have you been writing much during the whole quarantine era?
It’s been quite a successful time actually, because usually as an artist you have to go out and gig to gain some kind of following, but I’ve been doing live streams and that’s been really helpful and it’s grown me quite a lot. So, it’s been quite good for me as an artist in terms of developing my career, but I do miss all the gigging.
I’ve heard that a lot – obviously, a lot of artists are doing live streams and online shows, I just wondered – have you found writing has been easier during this period?
It’s just – the thing I struggle with is finding something to write about. If I’ve got something then I find it easier to write than I would normally, but I feel like it becomes more natural if there’s something to write about emotionally. Obviously now we’re in lockdown we haven’t really got much to write about, nothing’s really going on, it’s just more difficult to find the concept and start – but then after that I’m more free-flowing than I would normally be.
And finally, a message for your fans?
Thank you for all this love and support especially during this lockdown time on my livestreams, it’s been mind-blowing to see the amounts of support, and also on my EPs and stuff and the excitement everyone’s bringing for my new release, it’s incredible. I’ll just say: keep your head up during this time, it’s not a great time but everyone can get through it and it doesn’t ‘define you’!