Did you watch Hallmark’s Countdown to Valentine‘s Day on their channel this year during the month of February? If you did, you may remember the film All Things Valentine. In the opening credits, there is a rather catchy, but haunting song, and that is where I first heard the stylings of Gelsea Mae. This girl is multi-talented (as you will soon learn), and she is also insanely busy. But Gelsea took some time recently to answer a few questions about her music, her upcoming album, and even a brand new project on her horizon.
RH: What inspired you to become a singer?
GM: I’ve always had a massive love for singing since I was very little when I would hide in my room and sing karaoke. However, I don’t think I ever thought of becoming a “professional” singer. It wasn’t until about a year ago, when I was going through a heartbreak, that it kind of happened organically. There were so many things that I wanted to say that I had a hard time saying through words, so I turned those words into lyrics in the hopes that other people would relate to my music. I ended up writing original songs, released it to the world and the rest was history! I love turning a negative situation into a positive one.
A lot of people seem to have a huge interest in your love life. What would you like to say about this?
It’s so weird that people find my love life interesting. I’ll let my lyrics speak for themselves.
What kind of musical training have you had?
Growing up on the island, I studied classical piano at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and graduated with First Class Honors when I was very young. I was a bit of a nerd and played the clarinet in band throughout elementary and high school, and I also taught myself how to play the guitar a few years ago when my Dad surprised me with one for Christmas. I’ve never had a singing lesson in my life, however I did grow up doing musical theatre.
How would you classify your sound/style?
Most people tell me that I have a very unique voice, with a soft and sexy appeal to it. My mom thinks that I sound a bit like Ellie Goulding, while others keep telling me that I have a similar sound and vibe to Taylor Swift. As I continue to write more and grow as an artist, I am quickly transitioning into the artist that I want to be and be known for. My music is definitely in the top 40’s, pop/EDM category.
Please tell us about your upcoming music?
I am currently wrapping up in the studio with Ryan Stewart, a Juno-award-winning, multi-Platinum-selling songwriter & producer of Carly Rae Jepsen and many established artists. I have worked extremely hard on my new music, and we are prepping to release my first “official single” out to the radio stations across Canada this Summer. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of anything that I’ve ever done, so I am very anxious to share it with everyone! It’ll definitely be hard picking just one song for now.
How did you get involved with Hallmark and All Things Valentine?
I had originally auditioned as an actor for the film and had a callback, but I didn’t end up booking the role. Time went by, and I had received an email from Gary Harvey (the director) during Christmas break, asking if I’d be interested in having him pitch my song “Bae You and I” to the network to use in All Things Valentine. I was obviously ecstatic, but didn’t think too much of it because I honestly didn’t think it would happen. After the New Year, I had heard back that the producers and network loved my song and wanted to use it to open up the movie. I am so grateful for the opportunity as it has given me huge exposure to millions across the U.S. If you’re a hopeless romantic like me, you’ll have to catch the next air date on July 30, 5pm/4c!
Where does the inspiration come for your songs?
My inspiration comes mostly from love and heartbreak. When I was in Asia performing, people called me the “Asian Taylor Swift” because of that similarity, which I found quite amusing. However, my inspiration also comes from death, viewing other people’s situations and just life in general.
What do you find is the best and most challenging thing about being in the music business in this day and age?
The best thing about being in the music industry is being able to be free and open with my thoughts and feelings. I can say whatever I want and feel whatever I want, and I honestly don’t care what other people think. Every artist strives to reach out to as many people as possible, which can be a struggle, but I’ve been very lucky with social media. I’ve been able to reach out to people from all around the world with a positive impact. I think the one big thing that separates me from many artists is that I don’t just sit around waiting for an opportunity. I truly believe in creating your own destiny, and I feel that I’ve done so.
Any more upcoming works you can mention?
I’ve recently joined the cast of the new TV series The Arrangement, which has been described as a modern day Cinderella story with a complicated Hollywood twist which airs in early 2017 on E! Network. I also start shooting a fun-filled romantic comedy feature film The Fusion Generation this summer, and I’ve also signed on to work on the soundtrack as well. It’ll be a first that I’ll be acting in the film as well as have my music featured in it at the same time! We already have theatrical distribution for the film in Australia, UK, North America, Middle East and India, which is extremely exciting. I look forward to heading to Mumbai next year for the premiere!
Any advice for your fans trying to pursue the same career?
I receive messages everyday from young fans asking for advice, and I say the same thing every single time. Only pursue it if you’re in it for the right reasons because it is not worth all of the rejection and heartache that you will face on a regular basis. I honestly believe that success all comes down to passion, love and drive. I always tell people to “risk everything with no guarantee–that’s sacrifice.” Life is too short to regret anything, and the worst feeling would be to look back and wish you could have done something when it’s too late.
Your fan base has grown immensely in just less than a year. Do you ever get scared of fame?
People ask me that all the time, and if you had asked me this question a couple years back, I think I would have been afraid that I wouldn’t ever even be noticed. But now that I am slowly getting recognition, I get a little nervous thinking about it sometimes. With my family, friends and management team behind me, I do think that my head and heart are in the right space, and I think I will be able to handle whatever comes my way.. I just try not to think about silly stuff like that.
What do you do in your spare time?
I don’t have much “spare time” these days.. I am either busy in the studio recording, at home writing, on set, auditioning, or shooting (photography)/editing. When I do get extra time, though, I am either at the dance studio taking a sexy jazz class, cooking, hiking or at the gym, but my favorite thing is spending time with my family and friends.
All I can say is, DO NOT underestimate Gelsea. To be honest, all I knew of her was that one song from that Hallmark film. But what drew me to her was her unwavering devotion to her fans and her unmitigated resolve to stay true to herself. She understands what this business requires, and she is prepared to make whatever sacrifices necessary to accomplish her dreams. As I got to know the “person behind the artist,” I was astounded by how much she innately comprehends in spite of her youth. What she seems to apply on a daily basis is something that numerous people in the business don’t learn until ten or twenty years of hard knocks and failures. While I’m sure Gelsea has her share of disappointments and grief at times (who doesn’t, right?), she has latched onto that timeless truth of turning a tragedy into a triumph. This woman is grounded, authentic, fierce, but still immeasurably sweet. Oh, and did I mention extraordinarily talented? Be sure you follow her at the various links below as we all cheer her on in her blossoming career. Moreover, be sure you watch out for her upcoming album, television show, films, and more that are yet to come!