Burns, who is Iowa-born and now Nashville-based, has been writing songs since she was a wide-eyed adolescent. Inspired by the love of her high school choir and passion for piano and poetry, she quickly fell in love with songwriting, which inspired her to pursue her craft under the shimmering lights of Music City.
“I Miss Being Me” is a song Burns wrote while in quarantine, and later had produced by Dan Swank. With her creative vision in mind for an accompanying video, Burns secured the talents of Nashville-based dancer Kylie Koeppen and videographer Austin McMains. The result is a dramatic, artistic, and emotional video that brings the song to life.
Burns was kind enough to answer some questions about the new single, the music video, and much more.
So where did you grow up, and what led you to Nashville as opposed to say NYC, LA, or another big music market city?
I grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa, then moved to Chicago to study music at Columbia College Chicago, and lived there for 7 years before choosing to move to Nashville. I chose Nashville because it was a smaller, more affordable city, and I wanted a change of pace after living in the Midwest my whole life. I didn’t know anyone when I moved here, but I’ve met so many incredibly talented people and friends since moving here that have helped me to grow so much as a musician. It really is one of the best cities for making connections in music.
I was hoping you could talk about your new single “I Miss Being Me”. What’s the inspiration and influence behind it?
I wrote “I Miss Being Me” during my pandemic quarantine time in 2020. I’d been experiencing a lot of writer’s block and realized a lot of that had been coming from other people’s ideas of who I should be as an artist or how I should write. I completed The Artist’s Way, and started doing the morning pages (stream of consciousness journaling) suggested in the book. One day I sat down and wrote three pages worth of what I missed about being a musician when I was younger. I ended up writing “I miss being me.” I sat down at my keyboard to write the song shortly after that.
Is it a standalone single or can fans expect to see it on an upcoming EP or LP?
I released two other tunes, “Blue” and “Same Old Thing” that were also quarantine songs. “I Miss Being Me” is the third and final song of the three that I recorded post-quarantine. I chose the three songs that I thought showcased who I was as an artist during that time and chose to release them as singles. I have yet to decide if I want them to be a part of something bigger or have them stand alone as singles, but they’re the first songs I’d recorded since 2020, and am so happy to finally have them out in the world.
How did you get hooked up with producer Dan Swank, and how do you feel he elevated the song?
Dan reached out to me through Instagram shortly after he’d moved to Nashville and started working here as a producer, and we’ve worked together for the last few years. I recorded “I Miss Being Me” as a piano demo, and wanted it to be more of an epic, anthem-style song. Dan has a good ear for knowing what layers to add to the song to help build it, while still keeping the song’s original integrity intact.
And can you tell us a bit about the making of the music video and the creative process behind it? How does the video correlate with the song?
I wanted “I Miss Being Me” to not just be about me, but inspiration for all artists. So I thought what better way to translate that than by asking other artists to help me interpret the song? I sent the dancer, Kylie Koeppen, the song and lyrics and asked her to choreograph the song however she wanted to interpret it. I sent videographer/producer Austin McMains a couple video examples, then watched both of them bring their ideas to life. It turned out better than I could have imagined, and I love that it’s able to tell the story of the song in its own unique way.
What does a day in the life of your songwriting process look like?
Most of my songs start with a lyric idea. Usually a line or two that I quickly wrote down in my notes app or in a journal. From there I usually like to clear out time in my day to just sit down at my keyboard and write. I typically write whatever lyrics/melodies come to my mind first, so I’m not able to get in my own way or be overly critical of myself. I like to complete most of the song, or at least a solid outline during that time. From there I’ll record a simple piano demo and play around with lyrics, melody and arrangement a bit more until I find what fits the song best.
What does a dream gig look like for you?
I love writing and playing slower songs, so my dream gig is something a bit more mellow/chill where the audience is really engaged in the performance. I love any gig that I can walk away from with new connections.
What might fans expect from Chelsea Burns as we begin the New Year?
“I Miss Being Me” is the first release of 2022, but also the closing out of the three songs I’d recorded in 2021. I’m still in the process of deciding what the rest of this year will look like in terms of releases, but I am looking to create and launch merch and redo my website. I also hope to perform more this year as well.