I was finally a Disney princess. My first gig as a singer was opening for the Jonas Brother’s on part of their Radio Disney Summer tour. The first show was in front of a thousand people at Six Flags in NJ. I was fifteen years old. I signed autographs, took pictures with fans and even got to skip to the front of the line on every, single roller coaster. I was experiencing the high life. It was on this day, I decided with absolute certainty that I would make my music career my life’s mission. My purpose. My sole focus. But I never would have guessed that decision would lead me on the actual wildest ride of my life.
It was early spring in my freshman year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. I had since retired my Mickey Mouse ears and started my band, Kelsey and the Chaos. My band mate and I were sitting in the common area of my apartment booking our summer tour. By tour, I mean five shows at local VFW halls in New Jersey. We were stoked. We felt “punk”. We would pack up the van (which was really more of strange looking short bus) and roll down the highway blasting New Found Glory. I would be living my childhood dream. This is when I received a call from our manager that would literally change everything. We had been solicited for and (much to my surprise) booked on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour. The tour was a game changer for the band. The next two years thereafter were a whirlwind: record deals, tour busses, MTV features, big tours, write ups in Alternative Press Magazine, music videos, Warped Tour BBQ’s and singles on top 40 radio. The highs were surreal. I felt as if I was on top of the world.
Life in a band wasn’t always so sweet, though. In the midst of all the chaos (sorry) , there were major trials and tribulations. I made big mistakes. I lost faith. I faltered. There were band fights, breakdowns and break ups. I fell in and out of love on tour. I hustled, busted my ass and had my heart broken by the industry on a number of occasions. Most of the time, I was the only girl navigating a sea full of band guys. I had to learn how to hang with them, defend myself and most importantly, figure out how to survive on a bus with 12 men (ew). Being a girl on the road isn’t particularly easy.
The band dissolved in late 2009. After almost a decade in the music industry, I am still singing, writing, recording and touring. I was fortunate enough to be booked on Warped Tour as a solo artist for the sixth year in a row. Needless to say, I’ve got a whole lot of fight left in me. So, whether you’re an aspiring musician or just want to hear the nitty gritty details about life on the road, I’m here to share my experiences. I’ve got plenty of stories to tell and advice to give. Hopefully some of which will make you laugh and keep you from making the same mistakes I made in music and beyond.