Musicians spend everyday seeking validation; whether it be a new audience on stage or validation from home – the struggles are beyond what’s amplified or written in poetry. As fans, we sometimes forget that they are just normal humans like us. They fight with their loved ones, friends, family and even their own thoughts but continue to put on the best performance for their fans and pretend like nothing is wrong. They hear your stories and give you the best advice they can to keep you going.
But, who’s listening to them?
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and we’re switching things up: Substream is going to share stories of your favorite heroes that they’ve never told before. This is an ode to let them talk to us for once; we’re on the other side of the merch table listening to how much they need us, as much as we need them. Welcome to their diary.
Our first story is about Kelc Galluzzo, known as Jetty Bones. Kelc was a friend before I knew her music and I’ve been blessed to see both sides of her life in the most blissful way. We spent the day together in Los Angeles in March while on tour with Mat Kerekes.
Dimmed lights and thick, humid air fills throughout The Echo but there’s a bright light in the back sitting on the bench; it’s more than just Kelc Galluzzo’s custom-green hair.
As I walk to the back and sit next to Kelc, she grabbed my hands and turned her body to sit indian style and talk to me face-to-face.
“‘She held Wanda’s hand as they worked out a plan, and it didn’t take ’em long to decide that Earl had to die, goodbye Earl’..wait, do you not know that song?” said Galluzzo with an inviting smile on her face.
“My mom always listened to that song growing up.”
Kelc then went on to tell the story behind the song but as she went on to tell the details and the correlation with her childhood, I watched the smile get smaller and her eyes become distracted with the world around her. She turns her head towards the crowd in the green room, quickly looks at me and asks if I want a red bull.
Her distraction turned into conversation about her outfit, followed by showing me polaroids she has taken while on tour. I watched her transform her own sadness in to optimism in a matter of minutes, as if it wasn’t important.
But, that’s Kelc. She’ll always put everyone’s safety, love, happiness and even sanity before hers.
Kelc, also known as Jetty Bones, has become more than an anthem for every underdog: from the soft spoken to the hurt, she has become an extra voice to make them feel accepted and whole through headphones or at a concert. Her poetic lyrics hit a core that will find you dancing in your room, forgetting the pain you feel. Kelc focuses on the importance of recovering from any traumatic experience one has lived with; mental health or a toxic relationship, recovery is the most important thing – something that Kelc reminds audience members every show.
You’d never be able to guess that Kelc is anything close to hurt, sad or discouraged on the bad days. In fact, most would think she never has a bad day – but “it’s all part of the recovery process,” as Kelc explains.
She’ll interact with audiences personally from the stage and ask them about their day, share personal stories, laugh and dance with you. You’re never alone and you’ll never leave the show alone because you’ll find a friend in her.
However, she’s human – and so are all musicians.
Maintaining a relationship of any sort on the road is immensely difficult but looks easy thanks to social media. Wrong timing for phone calls is more than different time zones and spending day-after-day entertaining others can leave one removed from their phone and loved ones left waiting at home.
It’s a double-edged sword to be a musician; You know that you’re sacrificing and taking on the role to make others happy but you lack the power to make those at home feel happy.
Not everyone is able to figure out the perfect routine; even those who seem to portray THE perfect dance and note on stage.
Kelc found herself glued to her phone more than usual one day in Boston. She was spending her day fighting with her significant other while trying to load-in quickly as the Jetty Bones crew was already running late.
There was a gas station near the venue that was enough to walk away from her one world so that she could tend to her other world. With a red bull in one hand and her phone in the other, she sat at the edge of a curb trying to fix the problems.
“I remember being in deep conversation with frustration and then I was being pulled from my other world who needed me to go on stage.”
Kelc recalls feeling discouraged and upset that she wasn’t able to finish the conversation. She felt a sense of doubt and questioning why she was a musician; to know that someone she loves is hurting, hurts her but she had to go on stage and perform to people who want to see her.
But, that’s Kelc.
The show must go on and Kelc knows that. She put her happy face on and finished her routine- one that she’s too familiar with – prep, perform, meet fans – but this day was a little harder than usual due to the events prior to her performing.
As she met with fans, she found struggle in keeping a smile. Until, one of the fans she was meeting stood out the most: JJ.
JJ is a chaperone for a group that takes care of struggling young women in the Boston area. As he stood in front of Kelc, he was surrounded by a group of women from the home*.
“He told me they came to see me and it was something they were looking forward to doing; these girls have been waiting a while to see me and it was then that I was reminded why I was meant to be exactly where I was.”
Kelc remembers hugging the girls for a while, while also crying. As usual, she listened to their stories of how her music helps them – whether it be to dance or not feel alone – and how much they admire her.
“I think about those girls everyday. They have so much courage and power and we still stay in touch. One of them shared with me their accomplishments and seeing how excited they were was encouraging. They were there for a reason and they didn’t even know the impact it was for me.”
After she spoke with them, her emotions seemed to overtake her. She recalled having to sit alone and talk with Aubrie, her bass player in Jetty Bones.
“I just couldn’t get over how powerful their message and story was. I really felt so helpless in life and them visiting me reminded me my worth and what I have to offer.”
Even if Kelc felt like she didn’t deserve to be away from her phone, loved ones and home, she was reminded her worth and reason to continue her fight. As much as she was the answer to those girls’ reason of life, they were her answer to why she needs to continue being a musician and that she is doing the right thing.
Kelc continues to meet thousands of people who have shared stories of empowerment and strength – something that Kelc exclaims with the emotion in her songs. However, she still finds the struggle to maintain her strength when the bad day’s take over.
“I’m so thankful that I can meet people everyday that share their story with me, but it’s still hard. I hear their stories and wish I could do more; I just want to make everyone happy but recently I’ve discovered that I need to make myself happy too.”
During her set, you’ll be sure to dance away your pain and worries and walk away smiling with her, reminding yourself that you will find happiness. Her newest EP, ‘-’ (hyphen), include songs of leaving an abusive relationship and finding happiness with yourself while also sharing love and happiness to those around you.
“I just want everyone to know they’re not alone. We’re all fighting our fight and you’ll never do it alone. I know what that was like and I want to make sure no one ever feels that way again. I’m their friend if they need one.”
You can listen to Jetty Bones’ “-“ on all streaming sites, as well as her previous EP’s Old Women and Coasting States.
*(For safety reasons, the school and home are left unnamed.)