CHELSEA PASTEL INTERVIEW
Tell me who you are where you from and where your people from.
Chelsea Pastel: Okay, I’m Chelsea Pastel. I’m from Cleveland, Ohio. My people are mainly in Cleveland, I got some family in the Bahamas as well but for the most part my direct family is here in Cleveland. We kinda spread out a little bit over the country in different places.
You feel you have any influence in your music from the islands?
Chelsea Pastel: Not really, but at the same time I don’t know. I’m born in America, my dad was born in America too so for the most part I didn’t grow up around it. But, I notice when I actually see my cousins from there we have a lot of similar ways, it’s weird. Like, how? We even have similar features and it’s like ‘wait, what?’ You know, so, maybe underlying somewhere or subconsciously, you know… but not directly.
So, growing up did your parents play music from out there?
Chelsea Pastel: Nah, that’s my dad’s side but my mom she was the music person for me. My dad he played pretty much what was on the radio, you know, but my mom had the actual collection. She had an eclectic taste in music so she had everything. You know, I’m a 90’s child, she had everything from alternative rock to slow jazz to Hip Hop to RnB. You remember back in the day those slots where you could put each CD in? She had so many of those.
Ohh, like those binder things?
Chelsea Pastel: Nah, not even those binder things it was like a tower. She had multiple ones… she had a lot of them! And back then that’s when the sound systems had like 3 parts. You know, like the EQ and I used to play with that all the time and just play different songs she had or stuff she would already listen to that I liked. She would play some Dancehall, some reggae music every now and then but she really played so many different types of music. It was crazy, for real.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, it is dope. I’mma be honest, she unintentionally created a musician.
That’s what it sound like. That’s dope. So, who were your influences from hearing a variety of music from her?
Chelsea Pastel: It’s pretty interesting. So, I first started off producing. I would kinda write my own raps every now and again but I was really into production. And, to be honest, I was obsessed with Michael Jackson like a lot of kids was… you know what I’m sayin’. But I was literally obsessed, me and my best friend (she’s still my best friend to this day.) In first grade our friendship started off of both of us being obsessed with Michael Jackson. Her mom was the same way. Her mom had records and all type of stuff. Growing up, I liked a lot of old school rap. I liked the beats though… like the words was cool but I really used to like zone in on the production. I like Dr. Dre a lot. I liked some of the New York stuff like Houdini to even like the Bad Boy era. Then, I also liked a lot of alternative music and where I’m from it’s not really a thing. So, that was stuff I mostly listened to in private. I would say I started listening to Alanis Morisette, The Cranberries and stuff like that when I was younger but it was before I started going outside and got a taste of the hood, you know what I’m saying. Plus, I liked music of the time too. I remember when Houston had that crazy wave when it was like… Houston always had a crazy wave but it was at the point where it was Mike Jones, Slim Thug, Paul Wall. That era had me like crazy I’m not even gonna lie. On the production side, I love that time period - even on the rap side, I love that time period. So, I’m kinda all over the place. On the female rapper side one of my favorite rappers is MC Lyte. I’m a little younger so a lot of people look at me crazy when I say that. My mom and my auntie, my auntie used to take us to school sometimes when my mom would have to work early. You know, they’re like a year apart and they both grew up in that Hip Hop time of the 80’s where it was crazy. So, she’d play a lot of MC Lyte before I’d go to school and I would just study her. I liked a lot of Missy Elliot growing up because I just thought she was crazy. The first verse that made me want to rap is wild though. You remember Crime Mob?
Chelsea Pastel: Diamond. ‘I come in the club shakin’ my dreads!’ I was obsessed with that. I don’t know what that shit did to me but when I heard that…
There was no lady comin’ that hard.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah! Especially like 2004 or 2005 or whatever that was. That was crazy! And I was like, ‘whatever that shit is, I like that.’ She made me like, you know, girls was rappin’ but it was real slower paced and she brought back spittin’ for a second, you know what I’m sayin’. At that time I’m like 14, 15, so that made me really wanna rap.
That’s so dope (representation matters.) So, is that when you started rappin’? That young?
Chelsea Pastel: Man, I feel like I started rapping earlier than that. I wanna say probably like 8th grade but I really got into it around 9th grade. My mom got me a laptop with programs on it. She was just friends with some people who knew how to do all this IT stuff… so, she told them what I was tryna do and they hooked it up for her. who knew how to do all this IT stuff… so, she told them what I was tryna do and they hooked it up for her.
That’s too dope!
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, and it was super crazy. I didn’t know what I was doing but at the time I didn’t know how to make beats the right way. I didn’t know about Fruity Loops and all this software. What I would do is: I would take the recording software I had and I would literally have a keyboard and I would light my keyboard up and play the same loop for like 3 minutes. Layer it. Play another loop for 3 mins and that’s how I made my beats for like a year.
Chelsea Pastel: Which is nuts. I really didn’t know no better at the time. Then, my friends, when I started tellin’ people, ‘I like making beats,’ they start putting me onto Fruity Loops and different things like that. But yeah, my first rap name was C Money and my best friend still got my rap book. I don’t know how she has it but she’s holding it hostage. She sends me pictures of verses.
Maaaan, you have to get that back.
Chelsea Pastel: I know, man. But if I trust anybody with it I trust her with it. So, it’s in good hands because I might fuck around and lose it or somethin’.
When you write your story you’ll want that.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, that’s definitely true. I literally got a Build-A-Bear and it says, “Ayy, what’s up it’s your girl C Money,” so that’s really how long I’ve been tryna rap. To sum it up, ya know?
That tells an era and everything - you got a Build-A-Bear… I ain’t been to a workshop in forever.
Chelsea Pastel: Exactly, me and my mom used to take a lot of trips together. She took me to New York for my first time and there was this Build-A-Bear in Times Square, you know. That’s when they had the Toys R Us and we were there at the same time as the VMA’s and there was a red carpet there, it was crazy. But I remember gettin’ that Build-A-Bear that day.
How did you come up with your current name?
Chelsea Pastel: Okay, so, it’s pretty funny. My first name I told you was, “C Money.” I went through a few names but when I really got serious about making music I was really getting into production heavy my senior year of high school and freshman year or college. That’s when I was trying to buy Macbooks and stuff.I was going by ChelsLovesBeats which was cool but I was making all these beats and couldn't get anyone to buy my beats. It was slow for me. So, I started rapping over them and because I was rapping over them I didn’t want to go by “ChelsLovesBeats.” I thought back to something my mom always said and anytime I gotta pick something with colors or anything I always end up getting pastel colored things. My mom used to say, “you love them damn baby colors,” she used to always say this my whole life. That was just the color scheme I resonated with for whatever reason. Then I realized, my music, some of the beats I was making were real colorful and enchanted sounding, you know. I just went with Chelsea Pastel because I just felt like it was part of my life for whatever reason. Pastel was the vibe so we was rockin’ with it.
I fuck with it. That’s real cool. So, I was reading that article that came out a couple weeks ago through the newspaper about you and they were saying you play hella instruments.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, I started in band in probably 5th grade. I started where everybody started with the recorder. I went to this real strict Catholic school and I wasn’t even Catholic that’s the crazy part but I went to this school. It was super strict and got more strict every year though. So, I saw my cousins were going to Cleveland School of the Arts and I’m like, “man, I wanna go there they’re having the time of their lives.” I talked to my mother about it and she was like, “well, what are you going to to do?” My mom used to play instruments back in her day so she had a couple saxophones around the house and she had a synthesizer always in the closet… the whole time. So, I’m like, “teach me how to play to the saxophone,” she like, “for real?” and I’m like, “yeah, teach me.” I was in 5th grade going into 6th grade and the school of arts started in 6th grade. So, she got the saxophone reconditioned and whatnot, took me to get everything I needed for it and taught me how to play it. It took about 2 weeks to play it pretty good ‘cause it was similar to the recorder so I understood it instantly. I just had to blow it differently and whatnot. I auditioned for the school of the arts. I had to hurry up and learn these things so I could make the audition. I probably started playing it in December and my audition was in March.
Chelsea Pastel: I had to hurry up and learn it and I auditioned and I got in. Then I had to test in too because they were real strict about academics. I got accepted and when I got to the school it was cool but like when I played in the band I wasn’t feeling the saxophone section, for whatever reason. I was like, “I don’t wanna be over here I wanna try something different.” The teacher said he had a trombone available, 2 of them actually. So, I told my friend who played the flute to play trombone too because I didn’t want to be the only girl over there. Me and her we got into the trombones. We kinda had to teach ourselves how to play. We had a private teacher for maybe 2 days but for the most part we had to teach ourselves how to play. I was in the school from 6th - 12th grade and for whatever reason the band program didn’t have as much money unlike other programs like dance and choir. So, we had to play a lot of the same music, forever. I used to try to get out of being in band because all my friends were leaving band going into photography, visual art, digital design and stuff and my mom made me stay in band. I was like, “alright, well damn I’mma just start playing different instruments because I’m here.” I would challenge myself to learn different instruments each year or every 6 months or something like that until I graduated. That’s how I kept myself interested.
You still be playing today?
Chelsea Pastel: Nah, the only thing I still play is piano and I admit I been slackin’. Usually, I would practice for a long time and not necessarily play a song but just go through chords and exercises but I’ve been slackin’ just because I’ve been gettin’ back into rappin’. It’s just a lot, you know. I’ve been even out-sourcing production - I’ve just been doing a lot. I haven’t been playing like I need to but I definitely still play the keys. I don’t blow any horns anymore though. That ship has sailed… at least for now. I still play some keys.
Damn, that’s dope. It sounds like you got what your momma already had.
Chelsea Pastel: Pretty much, it’s interesting. I feel like she was me before me but in a different capacity. To this day if she go to any type of jazz club or jazz environment she know everybody and they know her. It’s kinda funny because it’s like, “what the hell?” But she really used to do that shit, you know. It was a weird time back then especially for women so she had to bounce. She had a hard time with me getting into it because of some of teh stuff she went through. She was a little scared for me at first but I always kinda did a lot of stuff myself. I always recorded myself for the most part. I started working with people later on but I used to record myself, I used to produce myself. I never put myself into too many crazy environments for the most part because I did it at home. When she realized that and once she came to my first show she was like, “oh okay, bet. You really doing this shit.” It took her a little second though. She liked my music a lot. I remember she came to my apartment and I was living a couple hours away for college. One of my songs came on and I definitely went old school with it; it was all 808s but used to old school regular 808 kit. I made this beat called, “Trippy Times” and I used to love rapping on it. I used to exercise on the beat. I would just freestyle for a couple hours and get lost in it. I finally recorded on it and the song happened to come on when they came to visit. And I told you, my mom and aunt they really used to listen to MC Lyte and all them people. They listenin’ and like, “this cold, who this?” and I start laughin’, they like, “this you?” I’m not known to do this publicly. I’m kinda know to be shy for the most part on a timid side. They was like, “man, stop playin’.” So, I did it in person and they were like, “omg, this is crazy.”
That’s dope AF. That is so dope!
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, it was crazy. I felt like they had to see it to believe it.
It sounds like you really multi-talented as fuck when it come to this music shit.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, I really like making music just as simple as that. I like writing music, I like rappin’, I like playin’ music, you know what I’m saying. I like producing music, I like engineering music. I just really like it and it’s crazy because I tried to fight it for years. I even said that in the paper like I had to go to a lot of music programs and band camps that I really wasn’t too happy about back in the day. You know, you’re 16, 15, 17, you tryna kick it with your friends. I was in these programs and a lot of them were jazz music based and I used to hate jazz, to be honest. I didn’t wanna hear no more jazz. It was like, “yo, keep that shit away from me, do not play that shit around me.” I was in these programs 6th-12 grade, you know, every summer, after school, the whole 9. I don’t regret none of it now, you know, but at the time I was burnin’ out. It kinda ended up happening this way. I kinda didn’t have a choice. I done did so much music shit all these years it’s like, “how would I not be into music like I am?” The crazy thing is I went to school for pharmacy, you know. I ended up switching my major to pharmacy just because of the scholarship I got at this school. It didn’t work out because I was a musician. I was skppin’ out on class to make beats and doing all kind of ill shit. Making beats in class and just doin’ stuff like that where it was messin’ me up. But yeah, I really just like making music. I like playing with sound and I don’t like genres. Right now, I put out some rap songs but you’ll see a little later on that I don’t like genres.
I feel it because the few songs that I’ve heard are hard as fuck but then you’ll hear something that’s just alternative. It reminded me of the era in the mid-2000’s, you know, like Donnis and B.o.B. They’d have these beats and they’d have these eclectic moments where sometimes it would sound like a video game sprinkled in that shit and that’s what I be hearing in yours sometimes.
Chelsea Pastel: Thank you, I appreciate that. I like that because that really what’s influenced me though: TV, video games, all that. I ain’t nothin’ but a nerdy girl that make music. I like goin’ to nerdy shit and somehow that shit translate into what it translate to. I like video games and I done remade a lot of video game beats. Just for side projects and nothin’ to put out.
You probably should put them out because I’m sure you’ll come across artists who’d want to rap on that.
Chelsea Pastel: That’s very true. It’s interesting, I was putting out a lot of my beats. Before I used to put out my music I would just put out beats. A few people hit me up and this one person hit me up and they wanted to rap over a lot of the beats so I had taken a lot of them down and from there I had produced for him for a second and eventually transitioned into producing for myself; started getting sounds from me instead of beats. I used to put beats out on YouTube and at the time that I did it there wasn’t no women doing it and I would get all these crazy views because wasn’t anyone doing it for real. I was really into electronic music because that was like when Dubstep and all that kind of stuff started coming out. I tried to go that route with it and jus tryin’ to do a lot.
Do you have any skills you’re trying to develop right now?
Chelsea Pastel: Right now, I’ve definitely been experimenting with my keys. I like having my keyboard with my rap sets. That’s the thing that I’m really trying to get great at, you know. I can do it when it comes to certain chords but I’m really tryna shred that shit while I’m up there too. A lot of the songs that I’ve got lined up are more, like, they got a lot of shit going on. I’ve been tryna get good at just running my set from my laptop with the assistance of a DJ versus just playing the song as far as the track going and rapping over it. I’m trying to give you the vocal effects, I’m trying to give you the keys, I’m trying to give you the whole thing. A show, show, you know. And, how’s that coming along?
Chelsea Pastel: It’s coming along good. It’s pretty hard, I’m not even gonna lie. It’s hard because I’m just now starting to get help as far as a team goes. For the longest, when I was doing this I had no help so I had nobody checkin’ to see if the venue could support this… it was just a lot on me. I stopped doing it for a second and I got a lot of expensive equipment and if the shows aren’t paying me that much yet I’m putin’ myself at a risk bringing all this equipment out. I’ve been trying to condense it but now I feel like we’re at a good pace depending on the show. I’m getting some pretty good shows and depending on the show I can bring that out and they’re better equipped to support that kind of performance. But that’s definitely something that needs to be arranged it’s not just something I can pop up with.
That’s true, that is a risk and that shit sound overwhelming… that’s a lot to account for by yourself.
Chelsea Pastel: It’s a whole bunch then you’re trying to make sure that it sounds right too on top of all the actual hooking stuff up, you know. A lot of the times I used to practice my sets at home and same hookup but depending on one minor thing and the venue said it can change everything. It’s like, you just wanna make sure everything sounds right, you wanna make sure you got everything memorized as far as, “what starts when, what ends where.” You wanna make sure you have your stuff labeled to a certain degree. There’s a lot, I mean people have sound people and stage producers and I’m tryin’ to do it all and rap. It’s a lot. Well, I’m glad you’re getting a team together because that’s good.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, me too. I ain’t gonna lie… it feels great. It’s been a long time coming.
I already know. The Universe aligns that shit when it’s supposed to be.
Chelsea Pastel: Exactly, exactly, and that’s how everything has been coming along. People I’ve been working with I didn’t search for them and they didn’t search for me - it kinda just happened. I like it, I love it actually.
That’s good to hear. So, you’re from Cleveland - who would you consider your musical legends out there?
Chelsea Pastel: Bone Thugs N Harmony.
It’s crazy though because a lot of people don’t think that they’re from Cleveland. A lot of people be thinking they from the West Coast.
Chelsea Pastel: They be thinkin’ they from L.A. Yeah, because they came up with Ruthless. But nah, Bone, hands down. There’s a couple people that deserve flowers from here too. One, Machine Gun Kelly, for sure. I watched Machine Gun Kelly the whole time and I seen it with my own eyes. It’s different when you see that.
People love to hate though.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, they love to hate but I’m not gonna cap… this dude went from performing at the rec center over here to XYZ to being the #1 rock act in the country right now. You know what I’m sayin’, it’s crazy. Yeah, he got in on the rap but he’s like the top rock act right now. He cleans up at the awards; he cleaned up at the Billboard Awards in the rock category. I always thought he was dope but it took me to see him in person and a real good live show and I was like, “holy shit, this dude is crazy.” So much energy on the stage that you can’t help but to feel it when you leave. He deserves his flowers. Kid Cudi, definitely because I feel like he’s the grandfather or uncle of all these little dudes poppin’ up. As far as like that sound that different shit that people are doing.
Yeah, that emo/Hip Hop type shit.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeaaaah, that’s him. Those are 2 people I would say are young legends. Kid Cudi is still young in a sense but he done influenced Kanye West. That 808 Heartbreak and My Dark Twisted Beautiful Fantasy, you know what I’m sayin’. Kid Cudi played a part in those and a lot of the sounds we hear today; the Travis Scotts, the Trippie Redds. All of them will be the first ones to tell you. Yeah, those are my legends.
He’s still droppin’ shit.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, and he’s droppin’ with these dudes and that’s the way to do it. A lot of these people get to a certain status on a goat side and they get real weird about working with the younger generation. I love to see the fact that he’s working with Travis Scott and he’s working with younger acts because he’s still young enough to do it.
But he’s also just timeless. I can really see him in his 60s and 70s really doing the same shit. I don’t know about albums but I still see him featured on all these new artists.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, I agree. He’s like one of those alternative but that’s definitely someone else I’d say is an influence, for sure. As a black kid and you tryin’ to get into Hip Hop but you got your own twist to it, it’s hard. Especially when you ain’t doin’ exactly what everyone else is doin’ it’s real tough out here. So, you got someone who opens that door for you and he’s definitely one of the people who opens the door for acts like us who want to go the alternative route and try different things.
That’s real, that’s real… So, what does your Hip Hop community look like out there in Cleveland?
Chelsea Pastel: It’s interesting to say the least. It’s a little split, you know, you got different scenes. We got a lot of talent out here like a whole lot of talent but we don’t have as much cultivation. It’s like, you got this talent but it’s very few people cultivating the talent so a lot of the talent leaves. You know, that’s our scene pretty wrapped up. We had some really dope acts, we have some really dope people but like anywhere it’s a big popularity contest too. Cleveland is interesting, we done got under dogged so much to where we got a mentality a little bit to where if you ain’t outta here people don’t believe you on almost. It’s weird, it’s kinda a band-wagon thing that happens. A lot of big acts are here but because they aren’t clouted out people don’t give them the same respect and whatnot and that same act can take off real big somewhere else.
That shit be confusing me because in cities like yours (Cleveland) or I’m out here in Memphis… I’m not from Memphis but I’m out here, I’m from the West Coast. Even cities like Memphis too, there’s a lot of talent here but people ain’t checkin’ for Memphis or they feel like they gotta go to Atlanta, they gotta go to L.A. You don’t really gotta do that… you can make a hub in your own city.
Chelsea Pastel: You definitely can and we got the internet! It’s crazy, just work and work with intention, you know what I’m sayin’. A lot of stuff that’s been working for me I always intended for it to happen I just didn’t know how it would exactly happen. I just kept working towards it. When I first started droppin’ my songs it was late 2015/2016ish and I was received well for the most part but I just got into a lot of different managements and stuff like that that kinda slowed me up. It was learning lessons for all of us and I still got love for everybody it just didn’t work out and just kinda tripped time up a little bit. I noticed when I first started putting out music all the blogs that were covering it were from out of state but they were big blogs and that’s actually when my city started getting involved. It was kinda weird. I was here the whole time, I was trying to work with people and reach out to people… all types of stuff but nobody took me serious until they saw it somewhere else.
Yo, I see that happen all the time. I ain’t that big of a platform, yet but I’ve been seeing that happen. People down in New Orleans weren’t getting covered so I covered a couple artists from down there and now there’s these platforms that are poppin’ up, you know what I’m sayin’. I just don’t know why people aren’t checkin’ for people from where they’re from already.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, it’s all about clout. It’s a lot of clout game at the end of the day. One thing I’m noticing where I’m kinda in this spot where I’m in the mix right now where if stuff is usually happening’, I’m in the room. I’ve never been a clouty type chick. I’ve kinda always been myself and people learn eventually how to rock with it and I’m not necessarily out at every single thing either. You ain’t bout to see me all the time and every weekend around here. You see me when I’m out, I’ll pop up at certain things, I’ll do certain stuff but I look at it a lot different than when I was younger. At this age and at this point in my life I just wanna be able to make a living for myself and actually make some shit shake thru dope shit. I wanna make shit to make my inner child happy. So, I don’t really care about all the extra shit that seems cool ‘cause at the end of the day I want my shit to be amongst the best. Wherever that is in this country and not even limiting myself to a city. I don’t necessarily think about where I’m at as a person. I had someone tell me the other day that I’m too barred up basically.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, she was like, “yo, you lowkey gotta be intellectual to understand your music,” and I’m like, “no, you don’t.”
And even if that’s the case, oh well.
Chelsea Pastel: Even if that’s the case, oh well. Then I had to think about it like this and this ain’t even on the city side… we just talkin’ bout rappers. A lot of rappers have a role that they play. Like maybe that’s just my role, you know what I’m sayin’. There’s a lot of female rap acts coming out and there’s a lot of different tastes and a lot of different flavors and maybe that’s just the cup of tea that I need to be. So, I’m not mad at that because I’m given’ people options. I can still chop on any beat, any type of style, trap beats, whatever I can still eat on them and I can still bring my own flavor to it. I’m not going to dumb myself down or water my lyrics down just because somebody is rappin’ about whatever. Because at the end of the day you gotta look at the spectrum; you got a Kendrick, you have a Drake, you got a 2 Chainz, you got everybody, like, everybody plays their own role. You listen to these people for different reasons.
That’s so interesting because when I interviewed Vega she was sayin’ a lot of people were sayin’ like, “hey you can’t be sayin’ too much as a woman… bein’ a woman is already a lot to digest as a rapper,” and basically they were sayin’ to her to dumb down what she was sayin’ too and to make it more simple for people.
Chelsea Pastel: And see, that’s the thing though… I don’t know about a lot of girls but I watch my analytics. My fanbase is mostly male so I ain’t playin’ by the same rules. I’m just keepin’ it a buck, I’m not, I look at things a lot different. My fanbase is a lot of guys, some girls and they get their friends, sisters, and cousins hip. A lot of guys and a lot of people listen to my music and they tap in because I come with a different approach. Why would I dumb it down? I’m going to still get fans and it’s crazy because the female fanbase still shows up at the end of the day. It’s just different, it start with males and a lot of the time it starts with female then trickles down to the males but mine is the opposite. With that being said I think I’m doing pretty good because I know there’s a lot of guys that will play a female artist and they’ll want to change the song. They got a problem with it and they instantly get irritated by it. I just watch it (that’s a whole different conversation,) but the fact that I’ve watched dudes that listen to my music and don’t know I made the song and I watch how they respond and I’m like, “oh shit, they vibing out to it.” Sometimes I rap about things from a woman’s point of view but at the same time I just rap about relatable shit. If you a human you pretty much going to relate to it. That’s my whole thing… so when she said I was too hard I don’t know about all that shit and I’m just like, “oh well, whatever maybe that’s just what I’m supposed to be.”
Sometimes shit just be envy and sometimes people just say shit to slow down your progress.
Chelsea Pastel: I think a lot of times people who are real close to you they see you everyday and they see you differently than an actual rap business. As an artis
t. They see me everyday so they’re comparing me from a different space. I think she’s just comparing me from a different point of view versus are you actually somebody that don’t know me personally and listens to my music they’ll chop you up. A few people chopped her up when she said it. She said she gotta listen to my songs too hard, that’s the exact words. Certain songs, yeah but certain songs it’s a vibe. “Stop Askin” is a vibe but you happen to catch the bars when you’re listenin’ to it. It’s going to take some folks close to you to see it on TV, to see you in the same nominations with their favorite artist to be able to get it and understand what’s going on. It be like that sometimes.
It do be, everyone is on their own time. What’s your proudest moment so far?
Chelsea Pastel: Shit, recently, opening up the newspaper and seeing that big ass article. You know, Cleveland, we’re a pretty big city for the most part and that’s our big paper out here. That’s a really big paper in our state. So, when they hit me up I thought I’d have a nice write-up. But, don’t get me wrong I expected it to be pretty small, you know what I’m saying, I expected it to be a little paragraph or something but when I opened the paper I’m liking taking over a large chunk of the page and I was shook, for real. That’s crazy, and I’m at this weird point in my life where I still work and I still do a lot of things. So, I’m on the clock and I see that shit.
Yeahhh, affirming some shit.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, and it’s just a crazy paradox. That’s one of my proudest moments and performing at the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. That’s one of my proudest moments. I used to work there and I used to see a lot just from working there and seeing a lot of acts, a lot of big acts, legendary acts come in and I’d see a lot. So, to perform there and not an employee is crazy.
That’s real cool. When did you do that?
Chelsea Pastel: Last August, yeah, it was crazy. And, you know we got the only Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in the world - so, that’s nuts.
Wow, I ain’t know that.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, there’s just one. One here in Cleveland, Ohio and it’s here because a radio host named Alan Freed (and I just remember this from working there.) But yeah, radio host Alan Freed back in the 50’s was one of the first ones that coined the term “Rcok ‘N Roll” here and he had a lot of earlier acts back in the day. Chuck Berry and all them people coming in and that’s why we got the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame.
Woah, one of the godfathers. That’s hella dope. I’mma have to check that out for real.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, if you ever in Cleveland definitely check it out. I used to write all my music in there, like, for real. I used to go there and I used to look forward to work just to write. It was something about that shit. It’s kinda like, you ever been to a Hard Rock? It’s kinda like that. We got a lot of artifacts and things they wore and actual belongings of different artists. So, I’m in that shit looking at Michael Jackson’s shit, Quincy Jones shit, Biggie Smalls shit, like, you get what I’m sayin’? It’s hella vibes, for real. That shit used to turn me up as an artist and then I would hear different music all day. So, I’d come home with all these ideas on the production side.
I can only imagine. Do you go there still?
Chelsea Pastel: I haven’t been there in a minute. I’m going to go back pretty soon. They got like the Super Bowl Hall of Fame with all the players bandaged up and stuff up there… so, I do want to check that out. But I’m actually going to tap back in with them in a minute. I’ve just been tryin’ to knock out more music and just knock out more things so I can have a great summer.
I feel that. So, you got Pastel Vision coming soon?
Chelsea Pastel: It’s Pastelevision, like television. I’ve been working on it for a minute but I keep making more songs so that’s the problem. At this point it’s just like what’s going to be on here and what’s not. But pretty much everything is done aesthetically for it. I already got the cover art and all that but I made more songs than I planned to. I’m just trying to figure out what I want to keep. It gets tough at this point.
Man, that sound like a good problem to have.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, it’s a great problem and being someone who went through creative blocks and all that stuff. It’s a great problem. Just trying to figure it out. I already got a lot of content that’s already created that’s just not out yet. You know, just trying to get everything ready for release and whatnot. Got videos and all types of stuff shot and ready to go.
Does the person who takes your pictures also do your videos?
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, she’s super cold. Her and I met like in February and been rockin’ ever since. It’s certain people that you meet that are part of your soul tribe, you know. Y’all just hit it off and that’s kinda how we did. I didn’t have any intention on meeting her exactly at the time that I did, you know. It just happened when it did. She came to one of my shows and she was taping the show so that’s how we pretty much met and it’s been workin’ ever since. She shot a lot of my work that’s coming out now.
Dope, hella dope. When are you thinking it will be out?
Chelsea Pastel: I don’t know… I’m thinking, like..
Or when are you hoping for?
Chelsea Pastel: I’m hoping for the end of the summer and leading into the fall. Like back to school time period. That’s what I was hoping. I tried to do a lot of this stuff last year in 2020 but the pandemic… you already know. The pandemic is the pandemic.
It did what it did.
Chelsea Pastel: It did, so a lot of stuff just didn’t happen the right way and a lot of things got cancelled and a lot of stuff just got put on the back burner. Right now, I’m in a different situation where I wasn’t where I was last year. Now, I got a little more access to resources and a little more access to help. I got people who are helping me now. So, I'm trying not to take too long to put everything out but because I have different resources help ing me now. So, I”m trying not to take too long to put everything out but because I have different resources helping I wanna make sure we get everything right. We have it now when we didn’t before.
Yeah, progress for real.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, it’s crazy. Last year, around this time, the only thing I was trying to do was lose weight. I had gained pandemic weight. I sure needed to lose a few pounds. I gain and lost 30 pounds.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, and nobody saw it because we were in the house. I gained hella weight, we was just in the house and we was eatin’, you know what I’m sayin’. Eatin’, drinkin’ all that. Like we just kickin’ it and my boyfriend’s a chef so it ain’t helpin’.
Oh shit, so that’s just double trouble.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, so we just eatin’ and eventually it got to a point where my clothes started ripping. So, I’m like, “oh shit, this for real,” and it’s crazy (R.I.P. to my Uncle Bob,) I had walked out of this room and he didn’t know I heard him. He was like, “oh man, Chelsea been eatin’,” and I’m like ahh shit. After that, I hit up a trainer and was like, “yo, you gotta lock in now, I can’t do this.” You don’t even know it’s happening because you see yourself everyday. I definitely put them on and put them off real quick.
It be hittin’ you outta nowhere. I feel it though because I went through a little something. This summer different though because I’m outside and having to get my body right.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, that’s that natural too… you on the move, you outside.
Yeah, I got a regular job still too and I work in parks so I be walking like 5-6 miles a day.
Chelsea Pastel: See, you good. I work from home so I be sittin’ around for the most part at a desk. It’s easy to get caught up. We went to L.A. to shoot some videos and when I was out there for 3-4 days I lost all this weight just ‘cause we were movin’ that much.
Movin’ and the heat.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeaah, and as soon as I got to Cleveland I gained it right back. It just goes to show when you movin’ around and you live an active lifestyle the weight kinda just falls off.
Eventually, yeah. Ayy, so my last question for you is where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Chelsea Pastel: Man, I see myself real big in the next 5 years. I see myself on some “Best Female Artist” aware, nominations, you know what I’m sayin’ and on some big ass reputable platform. I see myself on songs with some of the best of them. I see myself producing something for like a soundtrack to something really dope.
I saw that you got a connection with Issa Rae’s Raedio.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, I just did some work with them over the spring. They did a collaboration with Viacom where they are their library for a certain amount of their content now. Well, they’re their direct library for their content. I did a sync agreement with about 6 songs.
Chelsea Pastel: Yeah, it’s gonna be hella dope and then I got some stuff coming out on Love & Hip Hop too. I don’t know what episode. I don’t know when but it’s comin’ out.
Ayyo, that’s big as fuck, congrats for real. That’s huge and it’s only gonna get bigger. I’m definitely excited to see and will for sure be tuned it more now.
Chelsea Pastel: Thank you, thank you so much. Yeah, definitely tune in. I don’t know exactly when everything is happening. I know Viacom had me send some press pictures and a bio and all this stuff so I’m pretty sure they’re going to start doing something soon. They have a lot of channels: VH1, MTV, BET, Showtime, Nickelodeon, they have a lot of stuff.
Get put into hella rotations.
Chelsea Pastel: I don’t know where I’m going to end up exactly but I wanna be on somethin’.
So, did they reach out to you?
Chelsea Pastel: No, I actually reached out to them a long time ago. I reached out to them when they first became a thing and I just kept in touch, you know. When I was about to put out “Stop Askin” I put out a private link and sent it to people who I would consider tastemakers to check out a few days before it came out and that’s how that conversation got started.
Oh okay, that’s cool. You takin’ your shots.
Chelsea Pastel: Hell yeah, because who else gonna take ‘em?
You right, that’s what’s up. You got anything else you wanna share?
Chelsea Pastel: Pretty much just follow me at Chelsea Pastel and find everything, my music, my videos, I got some merch coming out at www.chelseapastel.com and just stay tuned man. We got a lot of good content coming out. A lotta good merch coming out. Just a lot of good things in the mix for the next few months. Stay tuned and tap in.