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What's Up Magazine

Turning Childhood Dreams Into Reality

Dec 21, 2017 04:00PM
By Cate Reynolds

Kelsey Abbott performed her first show at the age of five. The venue, her back porch, was filled with the cheers of family and friends as she belted out the lyrics to her favorite Shania Twain songs. Abbott’s backyard shows turned into her life passion, a passion that only grew as she got older. 

At 11 years old, Abbott began playing guitar and writing her own music and that’s when she realized that music was truly her life’s purpose. Last year, she released her first single “Sorry” on iTunes. 

“I started writing songs and that’s pretty much when I realized that this is my passion and what I want to do with my life. I began doing open mics and opening for other musicians, and it’s just gone from there. – Kelsey Abbott
Now at 19 years old, the Eastern Shore native is living out her childhood dream. 

After graduating high school, Abbott made the decision to attend college in Nashville, Tennessee where she participated in the Nashville’s Music Row Songwriter’s Festival a few years prior. Abbott’s love for Nashville made the decision a no-brainer and the move has allowed her to continue her education while simultaneously pursuing a career as a musician. 

On January 4th, Abbott will be returning to her hometown of Easton and performing at The Avalon Theatre in the Stoltz Listening Room, where she will be debuting music from her new EP set to release this spring. The show is set to begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and available here.


When did the desire to become a musician start to develop? Was this always something you wanted to do and what steps did you take towards advancing your career? What made you decide you wanted to pursue music? 

I’ve loved singing and performing ever since I was really little. When I was five years old I would sing Shania Twain songs and perform shows on my back porch for neighbors. It wasn’t until sixth grade that I actually picked up a guitar and started taking guitar lessons. 
I started writing songs and that’s pretty much when I realized that this is my passion and what I want to do with my life. I began doing open mics and opening for other musicians, and it’s just gone from there. 

How did participating in Nashville’s Music Row Songwriter’s festival influence your music? Would you say this experience helped you grow as an artist? Did it change your outlook on music and songwriting? 

Being in Nashville for that time helped me see different types of songwriters, artists, and music. It definitely opened my eyes to how many different types of artists there are and how everyone wants the same thing. The experience really pushed me to work harder as a songwriter and as an artist. Being around so much talent made me want to work harder as a musician.

What drew you to the folk/country music sound? What musicians would you say have most influenced you and your music?

When I was younger I listened to a lot of Shania Twain and my dad always listens to a lot of country music, so that’s what initially drew me to that type of music. I really like Kacey Musgraves and her wittiness and storytelling abilities. 

Stylistically, I’m really being drawn to The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons right now. I also really like 60’s and 70’s music. I’m a big fan of Stevie Knicks and her artistry. Simon and Garfunkel have a great sound. There are so many different artists that have influenced me. 

You’re only 18 years old and you’re pursuing a big dream. Is it ever difficult for you to balance life as a regular college kid with your life as a musician?

Yeah, I definitely have found it difficult balancing school with music. I go to school at Belmont University in Nashville. All I want to do in Nashville is my music. I’ve kind of had to be like “Ok Kelsey, focus, you have to do your school work.” It can be difficult at times, but I think I learn better when things are difficult. It’s a challenge, but it’s good. 

Originating from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, what inspired your move to Nashville Tennessee? How long have you been living there and what has that experience been like for you? Do you believe there are more opportunities for your career to develop? 

I started visiting Nashville when I was 13. My family and I would go every year, and I would do open mics and explore the city. After continuously visiting, I realized that Nashville was where I wanted and needed to be in order to grow as an artist. 

There’s so much opportunity in Nashville. There’s music and musicians everywhere. It’s just a magical place. In the few months I’ve been there I’ve grown so much and made so many connections with different musicians. Being surround by talent really pushes you, which is what every musician needs. 

As a singer/songwriter, what do you find is the most difficult part about writing a song and then releasing it to the public? How would you separate yourself from the many other artists pursuing their dreams in music? 

I think the most difficult part is just letting yourself be vulnerable and completely express your emotions. It’s sometimes easier to sugar coat things, but I think the best songs come from being honest. Releasing music to the public is honestly always exciting for me. I like to have other people hear my music and get their reactions. Any song that makes you feel something or tells you a story is just so great. Music really has a power to it. 

There are so many people that want to do the same thing I’m doing. I think my passion for what I do and my hard work is hopefully what will set me apart. It’s really easy to just sound like everyone else, so I’ve been really working on my style and trying to make it unique. I think working hard and being persistent is really what it comes down to, and just putting everything you have into your music. 

What are you looking forward to most returning to your hometown in Maryland? What can people except to see from your show?

I’m super excited to be playing at the Stoltz because I’ve seen so many shows there over the years. I’m really looking forward to sharing my new music and the things I’ve been working on with people from my hometown. 

There will be a lot of family, friends, and familiar faces, and it’ll be great to share my music with the people I love. I’ve been writing and working with many other musicians, so I’m excited to share that new material which will be on my new EP that’s coming out in the spring.