Chelsea Williams Releases “Beautiful and Strange”

Hailing from the City of Angels, dynamic artist, Chelsea Williams, released her title-track, “Beautiful and Strange” from her upcoming album. Produced by her husband, Ross Garren, Beautiful and Strange will be her second album from Blue Élan Records, following 2017’s Boomerang. Self-described as “kaleidoscopic,” the sultry vocals of this track are backed by an eccentric orchestra that blends traditional Americana with West Coast Pop. The light, airy tone contrasts sharply with the investigative lyrics that explore heavier subject matter. 

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“Beautiful and Strange” was the first song written for the record. Following the release and tour for Boomerang, Williams found herself uninspired. “I don’t want to call it a dry spell,” Williams said, “I wasn’t writing new music, I was just floating in space. Then this song came out one night, and it sparked some inspiration for the rest of the record.”

“The general theme of the record is finding beauty in oddities,” Williams remarked. “We have some saw and all kinds of harmonicas, just odd instruments you wouldn’t think to find on a Country-Americana, kind of Pop album.”

An early transplant from Ohio, Williams grew up in LA with her vocal-coach mother and sister. She drew inspiration at a young age from her mother’s record collection, including the likes of Patsy Cline and Neil Young. Williams began crafting her music based on those familiar sounds at the age of twelve, writing songs, and performing at open mic nights. At fourteen, she joined a blues band with a group of men, at least forty years her senior. In her early twenties, she became a figurehead at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, busking there many days of the week. 

Williams’s sound weaves into the unique fabric of LA. Collaboration with fellow-buskers led her to perform gigs at Hotel Cafe. The growth of her sound has been slow and organic. She honed in on distinct parts of her music as she rose through the ranks of the LA music scene that she described as “constantly in flux.” Continuously introduced to new groups and cross-genres of music has influenced her ever-evolving sound. 

“When I was younger, by necessity, it was a small sound, almost like a confessional singer-songwriter sound,” Williams explained of her sonic growth. “I have more tools at my disposal now that I have the label backing me. Like if I feel like having a saw on the record, that is now possible.”

Previously, Williams had a deal with a major label where she was feeling steered in more of a hip-hop/pop direction. Signing as a Blue Élan artist has elevated her as a musician, allowing for much development on her own path. “Blue Élan prides themselves on being artist-friendly and staying out of the artistic process,” Williams explained. “They come in after the creative part and help you market what you have created. It has been such a breath of fresh air to be part of a label that values artists and values real musicians.”

Listen to Chelsea Williams’s title track, “Beautiful and Strange,” below. This single follows, “Red Flag,” and the announcement of her album, out on May 8th. 

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