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Features

Kelsey Lu, Musician

Jan 31, 2019
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Kelsey Lu, Musician

PHOTOS BY : TYLER BROOKS

Human energy is made up of ions, both positive and negative, that alter and engage with the universe around us. Humans who engage in enlightening activities thus tap into a gift they can share with the world are often the ones bursting with powerful ions, inspiring those around them look inward to tap into their own magic. This is the air of artist/musician, Kelsey Lu. She walked on set magnetic, with a glossy sheet of black hair and a cozy outfit straight from the streets of Japan. Lu embodies worldly energy, an acute awareness to her environment, and myriad of esoteric melodic influences making her a forceful element in the music world.

Where are you from?

My formal artists’ name is Kelsey Lu, although when addressing me casually I prefer to go by Lu. I am a southern lady born and raised in North Carolina that ¬†channels most of my emotions through music.

 

When did you start playing instruments?

I started playing instruments at a very young age, mostly due to them being around the house. My mom played piano and my dad hand percussion, not as a means of living by the time my sister and I were born, but as a means of giving life to the home around us. I started taking violin lessons sometime around the age of 5, transferred over to piano at some point then back to violin due to my craving of wanting to be in an orchestra. One day in my violin lesson (which before you think by me having private lessons at all meant we could afford them, let me set it straight that we couldn’t, but that we were able too due to my dad trading his art work for our private lessons), I saw this big ass instrument (cello) laid up against the window all sexy like so I kept looking back at it. My teacher called me out and asked if i wanted to take it home. Which I did, obviously, and we were partners ever since.

I saw this big ass instrument (cello) laid up against the window all sexy like so I kept looking back at it. My teacher called me out and asked if I wanted to take it home. Which I did, obviously, and we were partners ever since.

How would you describe your sound and style?

My sound has since evolved through years of studying and training classically into what is now my lane. As I got older, I was exposed to new sounds, those sounds both consciously and subconsciously shaped what it is I make today. When I dropped out of art school, I found myself playing cello with local underground hip hop musicians and then eventually singing became more of an extroverted expression through all a that.

What are some of your earliest music inspirations

What I make today is influenced by several genres and several sources but to go back to the root of it in my childhood is where I’ll start and end. Rachmaninoff Prelude in C Sharp Minor and Coltrane’s Giant Steps Steps were my first romances because of their ties to my parents. Etta James made my hair stand up when I was 10 and I knew I wanted to give that same feeling with my voice. Around the same time through into my teens, Joni Mitchell made me want to crawl out of my skin while also keeping me warm within it and write about it while fantasizing about a life in California along with Led Zeppelin which led into the road of wanting to be a “hippie”. Sade always did me right, as well as Maxwell. Buena Vista Social Club taught me many things, as did the Cuban/Dominican restaurant/club my friend’s family owned that I would go dancing at on Friday nights as a teen. And of course all the oldies at the skating rink. Sting grossed me out, but I was into Roxanne. Pretty Woman soundtrack was tight, it brought me Bowie. Mariah and Whitney told me I could do it. Riding to high school with my older sister while she played Three6Mafia made me feel like I could disrupt my virginity through music. KISS 95.1 gave me the pop hits. Radiohead came later at just the right time in my life, but gladly before I was shown the real G.O.A.T Julius Eastman.

 

I relax in myself even more so that the world can continue to relax into me while also eating out of my hands to nourish themselves with the vitality of their own minds.

Your music can be described as healing, what rituals do you do to heal yourself?

My rituals of healing come through music, art, film, performance, eating, drinking, smoking, drooling, dancing, taking shits, and making love and as the year comes to an continuation of another cycle of seasons my goals are to continue to live my life with these things in mind, and relax in myself even more so that the world can continue to relax into me while also eating out of my hands to nourish themselves with the vitality of their own minds.

 

Photos by Tyler Brooks