Chelsea Nisbett
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Chelsea Nisbett

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Band R&B Pop


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"Nisbett’s 2010: an armload of awards"

Gospel singer Chelsea Nisbett released an album and won three big awards in 2010.

And one of the highlights of her year was singing a duet with Rita MacNeil at Alive on the Island II in Sydney in July.

"It was an amazing experience," the 24-year-old says, humming a few lines from the spiritual they sang, I Said I Wasn’t Gonna Tell Nobody.

"Rita MacNeil is the sweetest lady, so kind and so positive."

Nisbett, who holds degrees in French from from both Dalhousie and Mount Saint Vincent, has been busy.

In April, she released Anchored Roots, on which she wrote or co-wrote most of the songs. In terms of digital sales, it’s ahead of her first album, New Beginnings, for which she won the 2008 ECMA for Gospel Recording of the Year.

In late October, she received a Covenant Award from the Gospel Music Association of Canada for Urban R and B and Soul album and was pleased to be nominated for three of the national awards.

Then in November, the Sackville resident headed to Yarmouth for the Nova Scotia Music Awards where she picked up inspirational artist of the year and urban artist of the year honours. She was also nominated for female artist of the year and says she was incredibly honoured to be in that category, won by Juno winner Amelia Curran.

"I’ve never won two awards in the same ceremony. It blew my mind."

Nisbett says she and her band, Cory Chiasson on electric guitar, Lisa Francis on keyboards, drummer Kyle Robertson and Kenyan native JJ Ojiambo on bass, had a lot of fun playing for the tight-knit supportive Nova Scotia music community.

The Sackville High School grad is working as the band teacher at Leslie Thomas Junior High School until Christmas. She is uncertain of what will happen on the teaching front in the new year.

But on the musical front, she’s just been nominated for the African Nova Scotia Music Association Artist of the Year Award and will be performing at the awards show in the Schooner Room of Casino Nova Scotia on Jan. 8.

In 2011, she’ll also be focusing on songwriting in preparation for the next album. "I focus on one more thing I want to do on each album and this time it’s improving my songwriting and coming out with some really great songs.

"I’ll be doing some demos of songs and I hope to do a music video, something I haven’t done yet." - Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald (Top 20 Twenty-Somethings in NS) - Dec. 26, 2010

"Music Week hits right note for Nisbett"

YARMOUTH — Chelsea Nisbett won twice Sunday, collecting trophies for inspirational artist of the year and urban artist of the year during the Nova Scotia Music Week awards show.

"I’m actually surprised," said the 24-year-old from Lower Sackville while preparing to sing the title track from her new CD, Anchored Roots.

Nisbett was to perform with a host of others during the gala finale at the Mariners Centre Sunday evening.

"I’ve never gotten two awards in a single awards show and it’s a huge honour."

Anchored Roots was released in April. Nisbett wrote or co-wrote most of the songs.

"I write about life. As a result, I just give my own perspective on what’s going on in my life. . . . My faith affects my point of view on things. Every songwriter just writes from their point of view and that’s mine," she said.

"I got radio play across the country for my first single, Anchored Roots, and last week I flew out to Calgary and got an award there. The Gospel Music Association gave me an award for urban-R&B-soul album of the year."

Nisbett has a degree in French from Dalhousie University and an education degree from Mount Saint Vincent University.

"I’m actually a teacher," she said, acknowledging that right now she’s juggling careers.

"It kind of depends on the season in my life and right now the season is to focus on music and then whenever I’m not on the road I substitute teach."

Nisbett plans to spend the next little while writing songs.

"I’m also going to be hopefully planning a tour for sometime in 2011 in western Canada."

This year, 45 winners were selected by the membership of Music Nova Scotia to take home awards, according to a Music Nova Scotia news release. Eight were handed out during the gala, including entertainer of the year, which was won by the Trews.

Amelia Curran won female artist recording of the year, SOCAN songwriter of the year and album of the year for Hunter, Hunter. New artist-group recording of the year went to Three Sheet for In Circulation.

Male artist recording of the year went to David Myles for Turn Time Off. Wintersleep took group-artist recording of the year for New Inheritors.

Nova Scotia Music Week featured 82 acts in 104 performances from Thursday through Sunday at various locations around Yarmouth, said Scott Long, executive director of Music Nova Scotia.

( - Brian Medel, Chronicle Herald (Halifax), November 8, 2010

"Catching Up With Chelsea Nisbett"

Chelsea Nisbett has made a mark on the east coast music scene fusing acoustic rock, jazz, soul and R&B with her Christian values and universal message of hope. But the 23-year-old singer/songwriter is not your typical gospel artist.

“I guess people consider me gospel because I sing in a lot of churches,” says
Nisbett. “And I guess because I’m singing from a Christian perspective they put me
in the gospel category. But I’ve also heard people who don’t go to church who listen
to it and are like, ‘This doesn’t sound like church music!’”

Nisbett certainly doesn’t restrict her performances to church venues. Just off the
heels of a Montreal tour promoting her new album Anchored Roots, Nisbett cradles a latte in a downtown Halifax coffee shop, reflecting on her approach to gospel music, and anticipating a string of performances in Toronto.

“They’re all different types of events,” says Nisbett. “Friday night is at a church –
I think it’s a gospel event. And then Saturday I’m singing at a bookstore. And then
Sunday night I’m singing at a club.”

“Same songs!” she adds with a laugh. “I’ve sung my songs at churches and I’ve sung my songs in clubs and it works both ways.”

“I just feel like there are a lot of people who wouldn’t go to church to hear a message
of hope, so I’m gonna go to them.“

Nisbett’s debut EP New Beginnings won her several awards including an 2007
African Nova Scotia Music Award and a 2008 East Coast Music Award for Gospel
Recording of the Year. With her follow up album – Anchored Roots, released in April
2010 – Nisbett continues to explore a range of musical genres. And while some
songs on the new album could easily be categorized as rock, folk, or even hip hop,
Nisbett says she is a gospel artist at heart.

“I’m a gospel artist because my faith is coming out through all of the things that I’m
singing about,” says Nisbett. “So even though I’m not saying blatantly, ‘Praise the
Lord’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Church raise your hands’… I’m singing about the way I live my life, and my faith is coming through that. So the words aren’t typical gospel, but I still consider it gospel because my faith is in there.”

“Even an angry breakup song is still affected by my faith,” adds Nisbett. “One example is Mr. Unintentional.”

“You left me by the highway, left me there to die
But my God He is greater, He stood by my side
And with my bleeding heart I forgive…” (from Mr. Unintentional)

“It’s not [a song] I would sing in a church service,” says Nisbett. “But at the same
time, within the context of that song I’m singing about how I’m gonna choose to
forgive you even though you’ve hurt me. And those lines come from the fact that I
have faith that’s centered on God’s forgiveness.”

Nisbett says all of her songs carry a message of hope. She is enthusiastic about using music as a tool to spread God’s love and to let people know that “there’s hope no matter what they’re going through.”

“I think God is a part of everyday life,” adds Nisbett. “And so I write about everyday
life, and He’ll be in the midst of it.”
- Shauntay Grant, Black to Business Magazine, Issue #47 – Summer 2010

"Local crooner wins gospel recording of the year"

When Sackville resident Chelsea Nisbett discovered she was nominated for two East Coast Music awards last December, she jumped around her room.

"I think that even being a double nominee is just a huge privilege that has already opened up a lot of opportunities," she said in an interview before the awards ceremony. "I'll be happy no matter what."

Although she didn't take home the award for African-Canadian Recording of the Year during last weekend's awards ceremony in Fredericton, Nisbett did win the ECMA hardware for the second category in which she was nominated. She left New Brunswick with the award for Gospel Recording of the Year.

"Right before they announced my category I was giving myself a little pep talk saying that it is okay if I didn't win, (that) my friends and family would still love me, etc.," she recalled.

"Then they announced my name and I was so happy. My heart was beating like crazy, I was praying that I wouldn't trip on the stairs."

The 21-year-old was nominated for her debut CD New Beginnings. The Dalhousie University student describes her music as a mix of R&B and pop rock, with lyrics that would be considered gospel in nature.

"It has been really, really encouraging. The response (the debut CD) was better than I thought it would be," Nisbett said.

"People at my church (the Vineyard) and the community have been extremely supportive and I'm very thankful."

Nisbett is now planning for a tour from Ontario to the East Coast at the beginning of May. When she graduates in May, she plans to give up her part-time job [...] to devote her energies to music full time.

More information about Nisbett and her music can be found on her website at - Yvette d'Entremont, Bedford-Sackville Weekly News, February 15, 2008

"Dal student picks up ECMA"

Chelsea Nisbett wins gospel recording of the year

Chelsea Nisbett doesn’t remember how she got on the stage. But somehow she did – fumbling through her thanks and making it back to her seat, her legs rubbery and her heart pounding.

“Before the award, I remember sitting there, waiting and giving myself a little pep talk – ‘It’s OK if you don’t win.’ ‘It’s OK, your family and friends will still love you,’” she recalls.

“I don’t know how I got there, but I do have moments of clarity,” she continues with a laugh. “I distinctly remember looking out at the audience, through the lights, and seeing all these smiling faces and a couple of people I knew.”

The Dalhousie student picked up the East Coast Music Award for gospel recording of the year for her debut CD, New Beginnings. She was also nominated for African-Canadian recording of the year; that trophy went to Jamie Sparks for It’s the Music.

Even if she hadn’t won, attending the ECMAs in Fredericton will always be a highlight for the 21-year-old student from Sackville, N.S. Along with her band, she played a few shows and even performed at Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton on Sunday morning. Stunning in a forest-green dress she found at Frenchy’s, she also presented a few awards on stage – just don’t ask her which ones.

“It’s a wonderful blur,” she says.

Another winner in Fredericton was Dalhousie alumna Rose Cousins, who won female solo recording of the year for her CD, If You Were For Me. East-coast legends The Rankin Family (of which Dalhousie law grad Raylene Rankin and former Dal student Molly Rankin are members) received two honours: one for DVD of the year for Back Stage Pass and roots/traditional recording of the year for Reunion.

For the first time in more than a decade, the awards show wasn’t broadcast live nationally by CBC-TV. Facing stiff competition from the Grammy Awards, the CBC decided on a different format this year for the East Coast extravaganza. It will air an hour-long, condensed version of the awards’ performances on Sunday, March 2, with host Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies.
- Marilyn Smulders, Dal News, Feb. 11, 2008

"Passionate about Jesus — and music"

Gospel singer Chelsea Nisbett performs Sunday at Atlantic Jazz Festival

Chelsea Nisbett decided to take music seriously after a trip to Brazil in the summer of 2005.

"I went down to help people start churches in a remote area around the Xingu River, which connects to the Amazon. I lived on a boat and put on church services," recalls the 2008 ECMA winner for Gospel Recording of the Year of her two-week trip.

"It made me think about what it means to love Jesus and to follow his example to love the people around him."

Nisbett, whose music blends pop, soul and gospel, will be sharing her love of Jesus in a free gospel concert on Sunday in the Festival Tent on Spring Garden Road at Queen Street in Halifax as part of the Atlantic Jazz Festival.

The concert is connected to the Black Freedom 175 events, presented by the Amistad Freedom Society of Nova Scotia, the African Nova Scotian Music Association and others, slated to take place in August, and commemorating the 175th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the former British Empire.
The Hallelujah Praise Choir of Halifax, under the direction of Wallace Smith Jr., performs at 1 p.m.; Nisbett, a Lower Sackville resident, performs at 2 p.m.; singer-songwriter Marko Simmonds of Halifax performs at 3 p.m. and the North Preston-based Deep River Boys, a huge hit at last year’s festival, perform at 4 p.m.
Jazz Fest artistic director Lulu Healy says the festival had a big gospel concert in 2007, but had no gospel-related events last year. The timing of the gospel concerts allows festivalgoers and performers to attend their regular Sunday church services.

Like many other gospel performers, Nisbett, 22, got her start singing in church choirs at St. John the Baptist Anglican Church in Riverview, N.B., and the Moncton Wesleyan Church, where she was part of the Superkids from grades 1-5, when she got to sing her first solo.

After she got back from Brazil, she created a website hoping to get more invitations to perform. A contact she made performing at a coffee house in December 2005 set her on the road to the release of her first album, New Beginnings, in 2006, which included Amazing Grace and six songs she penned herself.

"I started writing songs in Grade 2, silly ones about staying in school or putting poems to music. I started putting music and lyrics together more seriously in junior high, but I didn’t do anything worth keeping until high school," she says modestly, noting she accompanies herself on guitar, which she picked up as a teenager.

Before winning the ECMA award in 2008 (she was also nominated for an ECMA for African-Canadian Recording of the Year), Nisbett won the Up and Coming Youth Award from the African Nova Scotian Music Association and the Nova Scotia Music Association’s Award for Inspirational Artist of the Year, both in November 2007.

"The awards definitely gave me a lot more exposure. It was real encouragement that I was doing something right."

While she was making waves in the music world, the Sackville High grad was attending Dalhousie University where she graduated with a French degree in 2008. She’s currently at Mount Saint Vincent University, studying to be a French and math teacher and expects to graduate in 2010.

Last summer she did two tours. The New Beginnings Tour traveled to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

"I loved being on tour. We did acoustic shows and met a lot of new people and I got to sing on 100 Huntley Street. I also toured with a Christian rock group called Life Support, who has a lot of energy and passion. We went to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland."

She’s honoured to be included in Sunday’s gospel concert and will perform songs from New Beginnings as well as songs she’s working on for a new album.
Also included will be her favourite tune, Soldier.

"It’s a lot of fun to play and is based on two Bible verses, Philippians 4:13 and Romans 8:37. The whole song is about overcoming problems in life and how God helps me through the hard times."

Nisbett, who cites Amy Grant and Mariah Carey as early influences and who is now listening to Taylor Swift and Brooke Fraser, is also excited about performing at Alive On The Island, a Christian music festival being held in Sydney Aug. 28-30.
She’s on the bill on the Friday night at the Cruise Pavilion with Grammy nominees MercyMe from Texas.

"You can hear them on any Christian radio station in any country. I can’t believe I’m doing a show with them," she enthuses.

While she notes she’s someone who is passionate about Jesus, she says she makes a point to make music that will appeal equally to Christian music fans and to people who have never stepped foot in church.

"They can just listen to the music and enjoy it. Everyone needs a message of hope. Hope is one of the main messages I try to get across in my music."
- Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald, July 11, 2009

"Anchored by faith"

She’s not a visual artist, but Chelsea Nisbett felt compelled to sketch a picture that was rolling around in her head: an image of a tree buffeted by hurricane-force winds, but held firm by a giant hand clasped around its roots.

That drawing inspired a song, which then in turn became the title track of her new album, Anchored Roots.

“The idea is, no matter what you’re going through, the storms in your life, there is hope and that’s what I’m trying to portray,” says Ms. Nisbett, a young Dal alum who is now finishing a teaching degree at Mount Saint Vincent University. She hopes to become a French and math teacher while pursuing her music at the same time.

Ms. Nisbett, who got her start singing in the church choir on Sunday mornings, says it’s the hand of God that keeps her grounded.

“As a Christian, (God) is the foundation for my life,” explains Ms. Nisbett, a 2008 East Coast Music Award winner for best gospel recording. “A lot of what I write springs from that.”

The new album was recorded over the past two years in Nashville and Winnipeg, with two-time Grammy nominee Rob Wilson—aka Fresh I.E.—at the controls. She wrote or co-wrote eight of 10 songs herself.

She’ll perform those songs at a CD release concert set for Friday, April 16, 7:30 p.m. at Vineyard Family Ministry Centre, 1129 Sackville Drive, in Sackville.
- Marilyn Smulders, Dal News, April 14, 2010

"'A funky good time'"

All four nominees in the Up and Coming Youth Award had a chance to display their talents, from hip-hop crew North Side’s Fynest to the sultry R&B of young vocal combos Baby Ice & Sweets and NevaeH. But it was the personal blend of soul, pop and gospel of Sackville singer-songwriter Chelsea Nisbett that earned the prize, for her debut CD New Beginnings.

"This is the first award ever in the history of Chelsea," she beamed. "God is able to do immeasurably more than I could ask."

- Stephen Cooke, The Chronicle Herald, Nov. 5, 2007, Pg. D4

"Faith, hope shine through in Nesbitt's songs"

Chelsea Nisbett would love to perform at the Grammys. The Sackville singer/songwriter admits this would be a dream come true. Then, pausing reflectively, she adds the ECMAs to the list of where she wants to perform.
"I'd love to play at an awards show," she said. She simply loves singing for others.
The idea of singing before a large crowd does not faze Nisbett. Over the years, she has sung with confidence in front of fellow students, church members and strangers.
Nisbett, who began singing in junior high school, won Sackville High School's battle of the bands in 2003 and 2004, the same year she won Cobequid Idol.
During that time, she sangand played acoustic guitar at the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Middle Sackville. She continues to sing and play guitar at the church and is now one of the worship leaders. Her faith comes through in her lyrics, where she openly speaks of God with great reverence.
Religion is not her only influence. Ever since Amy Grant's music sparked her interest in a singing career, Nisbett has been open to various styles.
"I listen to Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and the David Crowder Band (a Christian band from Texas)."
Nisbett's own style is a fusion of what she likes, regardless of genre. "I guess you could say it's soul, but there are elements of pop-rock, Motown, jazz, and R&B."
Writing her own lyrics and music allows Nisbett control over what she wants to say to her listeners.
"A lot of my lyrics talk about hope. Going through hard times and being able to get through. I'm a Christian so that influences me."
Soon, Nisbett's message will be available to a larger audience. She is expecting to have her first CD completed by October. Entitled New Beginnings, the CD is a project encompassing Nisbett's beliefs in God and herself.
"It;s related to the theme of hope, talking about falling, metaphorically, and getting up with God giving us strength to start over again. It's also my first album, so it's a new beginning for me as well.
The CD is the result of ability and good fortune.
"I was singing at a coffee house," Nisbett recalled. "Someone from Music Nova Scotia saw me. He told me about a grant through Nova Scotia Tourism and Culture. It's part of their Emerging Music Business Program. So I applied, he helped with the paperwork, and I was able to get the grant."
This gave her the opportunity to finance the CD using the resources of Slap Audio Studio in Middle Sackville. The choice of studio turned out to be convenient, as the owner, Jeff Hope, stepped in to temporarily fill the vacant role of bass player. The remaining players are permanent members of Nisbett's band. Nisbett plays acoustic guitar and handles the vocals, Charlie Marcelli is the drummer and Macio Dorrington is on electric guitar.
The CD will be available online through Nisbett is also checking music stores and Vineyard Christian Fellowship to see if they will carry it on a consignment basis.
In the meantime, Nibett is preparing for her third year at Dalhousie University, where she is working on a math degree and a certificate of proficiency in French, with the intent of becoming a teacher.
Recently, she performed before 1,500 spectators as the opening act for New Brunswick group The Jeff Somers Band at the Dartmouth Sportsplex.
Until she hits the stage at the Grammys of the ECMAs, this has been the highlight of her career. With New Beginnings, herdream moves closer to becoming reality. - Kevin Toal, Sackville/Bedford Weekly News, Friday, September 1, 2006

"Guitar Tips Feature Band - Chelsea Nisbett"

If there were three words to sum up this inspiring artist, they would have to be integrity, class, and passion. Chelsea Nisbett is a new talent recently merging into the music industry. She brings with her a refreshing outlook on life and a tremendous aptitude for music that has been refined over recent years.

Her enthusiasm and dedication are clearly evident in her live gigs. I've had the honour of seeing her live and can say from personal experience that Chelsea's current discography has something for everyone, regardless of background.

One of the most impressive aspects of Chelsea's unique musical style is her ability to add texture and depth to her music. She employs a variety of melodic and harmonic chord progressions with a beautiful mix that you can't help but listen to.

Guitarists will enjoy the work of Macio Dorrington as he takes a new approach to lead guitar that revitalizes soul. Vocalists can appreciate how hard composing music can be and the challenges associated with it. Chelsea has composed many songs and has an extremely mature voice for her age.

I had the opportunity to speak with Chelsea earlier this week and here's what she had to say about what she's been up to and where she is headed:

"I've been singing ever since I can remember and in junior high I decided to take guitar lessons to accompany myself whenever I got to sing. I was tired of depending on other people to provide music for me. I also decided to take some singing lessons for a few months in high school and a few months in university.

I always knew I wanted to be on stage as a profession but I didn't start to get serious about it until after my first year of university. Up until that point I would casually play music on the side. I definitely think the timing was meant to be because about 7 months after I started avidly pursuing gigs, someone saw me playing at a coffee house. He suggested that I apply for a grant to record a CD. I did and I got it! The funding came through the Nova Scotia Government (located in Canada), and is for the CD that I am currently working on. I'm hoping to release the CD in November. It will be called "New Beginnings," an EP featuring six songs that I've written.

My band has come together over the past year. Charlie Marcelli is my drummer. I met him through our common involvement in the music ministry at our church. Macio Dorrington is my electric guitar player. I asked him to play with me for a benefit concert last February (after seeing him play in other settings) and he's been playing with me ever since. I still don't have a regular bass player yet. I'm praying about it, and trusting God to provide one for me. For now I am having a variety of people play with me at shows.

Together with my band we've developed a style that I would describe as a mix of R&B, soul, pop rock, jazz and blues. To be honest, I never know what to say when people ask me what my style is so I've resigned to calling it "soul." I like to write songs as experiments. "Slow Down" was written to experiment with 12 bar blues and "Soldier" was written to experiment with jazz chords and rapping to a guitar. I write to challenge myself."

...Watch out for Chelsea in the future because I highly doubt this will be the last time you'll hear about her. Speaking of hearing, you can't leave your computer without checking out her website. Click here to go there now. You'll find songs you can listen to and enjoy, coupled with lyrics.

I'd like to personally thank Chelsea for her contribution to the industry and wish her the best of luck. If you're reading this and thinking, "I'd like to be a Feature Band," send us an email!

- Jordan Warford, Editorial Manager of - Oct. 6, 2006

"Chelsea Nisbett's New Beginnings"

When Chelsea Nisbett was in Grade 2, she used blank tapes and her own pictures to create imaginary albums.
In March, the Lower Sackville recording artist's childhood dream will become a reality when her first album, New Beginnings, is released.
Ever since joining her first choir in Grade 1, religion has played an important role in Nisbett's development as a musician. For this reason, New Beginnings includes an a capella version of Amazing Grace and the release party will be held at the Vineyard Family Ministry Centre in Lower Sackville, Nisbett's home church.
"They've been really supportive of this whole project, so I thought it was the perfect place," she said. "My source of hope is in God and that comes through in the music."
Nisbett's style, however, is not confined to religious themes. Her combination of soul and pop rock shines through in songs which would not be out of place oon C100's play-list. On the song Soldier, she effortlessly breaks into rap.
Apart from Amazing Grace, all songs are written [by] Nisbett, who also plays the acoustic guitar. Jeff Hope plays bass guitar and also engineered, mixed and produced New Beginnings at Slap Audio Studio located in Middle Sackville.
For the CD and live performances, Macio Dorrington plays electric guitar, Charles Marcelli plays drums and does background vocals and Chad Lucas plays piano. Lucas also arranged the choir - composed of friends - on the title track. Nisbett says he has been integral to her success.
"He was the first one to actually get me to sing up front (solo) in the church," she said.
Prior to the release party launch, Nisbett will be busy during the East Coast Music Award celebrations. The African Nova Scotia Music Association (ANSMA) chose her as one of the performers in the Black Vibes Showcase. With her bandmates, Nisbett will join six other acts at Halifax's Casino Nova Scotia on Feb. 17. This will be followed the next day with a performance at the Palace as part of the 72-Hour Jam.
"My goal is to branch out to other parts of Atlantic Canada," she said. "The band and I are working on some new material... But right now we're looking at trying to glean as much experience and knowledge about the whole process from this CD first." - Kevin Toal, The Bedford-Sackville Weekly News, Friday, February 9, 2007

"Rising star"

Dal student Chelsea Nisbett receives two ECMA noms

Dalhousie student Chelsea Nisbett stands in the midst of a whirlwind: she’s launching a music career, finishing her bachelor’s degree and working part-time in the Registrar’s Office all at the same time.

How does she keep it all straight? “I’m learning a lot about time management, you might say,” she says with a hearty laugh.

Last month, the singer-songwriter received word of two East Coast Music Award nominations in the categories of African-Canadian Recording of the Year and Gospel Recording of the Year. The recognition topped off a fantastic year for the 21-year-old university student, who released her debut album in the spring. In November, she was named an up-and-comer by the African Nova Scotian Music Association and won Inspirational Artist/Recording of the Year at the 2007 Music Nova Scotia Awards. She also got an honourable mention on the Chronicle Herald’s 2007 Honor Roll.

She’s very excited about the upcoming ECMAs, which take place in Fredericton next month.

“When I heard about the nominations, oh, I danced around my room,” she says. “When the CD first came out, I had no idea it would have this much of a good reaction.”

New Beginnings is available at HMV on Spring Garden Rd., CD Plus in Halifax Shopping Centre, and online from iTunes. (You can also hear songs on her website, and Her songs have been getting radio play in pockets across the country, including CJLU in Halifax, CKBW in Bridgewater, and other Christian music stations in Lethbridge, Winnipeg and even Denver, Colo.

With influences such as Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys and Natasha Bedingfield, Ms. Nesbitt has supple voice and an R ‘n’ B sound. She writes her own songs, drawing inspiration from her relationships and her faith. When the muse calls, she has a little beige journal handy to jot down snippets of lyrics.

She’s gained confidence performing live by getting up in front of the congregation at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Lower Sackville. But she’s getting experience elsewhere, too, in downtown clubs and university coffeehouses. (An upcoming gig is set for Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Garrison Brewery.) Other members of her band include Charles Marcelli, on drums and back-up vocals, Daryl Bourque, bass guitar, Chad Lucas, back-up vocals and keyboards, Macio Dorrington, electric guitar.

“I perform my songs in a church and I’ll do the exact same set in a bar. It works. I don’t have to change myself or the music, and that feels right to me.”

Although music has always been a part of her life, she started to dedicate more and more of her time to it after a trip to Brazil the summer after her first year of university.

“The people didn’t have too much, but when they got together to make music, you could see the joy in their faces. They just lit up.

“That was a turning point for me … It made me realize my passion for music. When I sing, I feel very alive.”

Eventually, she’d like to be a French teacher, but once school wraps, she’ll test drive her music career fulltime. A tour of central and eastern Canada is planned.
- Marilyn Smulders, Dal News, Jan. 3, 2008

"Youth on the Move: The award winning Chelsea Nisbett"

It’s just a few months since the 2007 African Nova Scotia Music Awards, and singer/songwriter Chelsea Nisbett is still excited at receiving the Up and Coming Youth Award.
“I was just walking on cloud nine,” says Nisbett. “That was my very firs award ever and it was a real encouragement that ‘yes, I can do this; I’m on the right track’.”
Nisbett’s album New Beginnings has since been nominated for two East Coast Music Awards in the Gospel Recording of the Year and African Canadian Recording of the Year categories.
At first listen, the 21-year-old artist’s blend of acoustic rock, jazz, soul and R&B might not read as “gospel music” to some. Still, Nisbett says she would definitely consider herself to be a gospel artist.
“Gospel is basically music that expresses a relationship with God,” she says. There are different styles of gospel. There’s songs based on a piece of scripture, or talking to God about a hard time that you’re going through, or praising God for something that happened. So (gospel music is about) having a relationship with God, specifically through Jesus Christ.”
Drawing on a range of musical genres has allowed Nisbett to bring the gospel ti unique events and audiences.
“I’ve actually heard a lot of people say that my music is crossover music,” says Nisbett. “My next performance I’m doing that same songs I would do at a church, but I’m doing it at The Garrison Brewery. I’m playing in churches and then I’m playing bars for charity events. That music that I do does not limit me. I’m able to be who I am wherever, which is pretty nice.”
Apart from performing, Nisbett is also booking her own shows and managing her own career.
“It’s a lot of work – a lot of paperwork and a lot of phone calls. But at the same time I’m really happy that I’m getting this experience, ‘cause when I do get a manager I’ll know how things are supposed to go. I feel like I’ll be more prepared to make smart decisions.”
Nisbett is also an undergraduate student at Dalhousie University, majoring in French.
“I’m gonna be applying to Mount Saint Vincent University to study to be a high school teacher,” says Nisbett. “The music industry is kind of unpredictable so I’m trying to be smart about this. I’m pursuing a music career, but I want something to fall back on.”
Even still, Nisbett says she’s in the music game for the long haul.
“Even if I end up being a teacher, I’m still going to continue to do music because that’s what I love. That’s what I’m passionate about.”
- Shauntay Grant, Winter 2008 Black Business Initiative publication “Black to Business”

"Local musicians playing to World Wide Web audience"

Double ECMA nominee Chelsea Nisbett, has also found the Internet to be a useful tool in promoting her CD, New Beginnings. The CD is nominated for African-Canadian Recording of the Year and Gospel Recording of the Year. The Sackville resident's recent appearances on Breakfast Television (Jan 14 and 15) have already shown up on YouTube, while her own websites continue to receive positive attention.
"I've gotten hits from people overseas," Nisbett said. "And one radio DJ from the US discovered my music on the internet and decided to add my song 'I Know' to his radio show".
Nisbett keeps her sites updated on a regular basis, aware of the potential benefits of the Internet. "For me personally it has been the most effective promoting tool I have," she noted.
"There are very few people these days that do not have access to a computer either in their home, school, work, or local library." - Kevin Toal, The Bedford-Sackville Weekly News, January 25, 2008

"Singin' for ECMAs"

Lower Sackville's Chelsea Nisbett has a debut album, New Beginnings, which is nominated for Gospel Recording of the Year and African-Canadian Recording of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards. The ECMAs are happening in Fredericton on Saturday.

She’s a university student who holds down a part-time job and still lives with her mom.

But Chelsea Nisbett of Lower Sackville is poised to bring home two East Coast Music Awards for her debut CD New Beginnings.

"I’m excited just because I did not expect to be an ECMA nominee when I first made the album, especially a double nominee — that’s just huge to me," the 21-year-old said between classes at Dalhousie University.

A singer, songwriter and musician who got her beginnings in church, Nisbett has a unique sound that’s a blend of many different musical styles.

She’s always experimenting with new sounds, and enjoys adding a bit of jazz and even rap to her music. But the one thing everyone wants to know is how she describes her musical style.

"I always tell people that my lyrics are gospel but the actual style of music is a mix of pop-rock and R&B."

This variety may make it difficult for listeners to label her music, but it also makes it easier for her to reach a wider audience.

"I’ve found a lot of reception both in the gospel world and in the secular world," she said. "I think that I’m a bit different than what people expect when they think of gospel. I’m not the typical (bluegrass) gospel."

Nisbett sings about her experiences as a Christian, but said she isn’t on stage to preach.

"It’s nice that I can be totally open about the fact that yes, this is gospel. People respect me because they know that I’m not trying to point any fingers at anybody. I’m just sharing my own story in my own life."

And while the gospel crowd comes to hear her lyrics, she said the bar crowd often comes to appreciate the style of music.

"I don’t feel like I need to change myself from one audience to another.

"I can do my songs at a church and then I can go to a bar that night and do the same songs and people will be just as receptive."

Nisbett said she’s had a passion for music for as long as she can remember, and said it’s something that just comes naturally. Her mother once ran to gather up a young Chelsea, who’d leaped from the pew to interrupt the preacher’s sermon to sing. She’s been singing ever since, she said.

But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t worked hard. Nisbett took guitar lessons in her teens and voice lessons to perfect her sound. There were countless church performances, and practice, practice, practice.

Right now, Nisbett feels her career "does seem to be building momentum."

In April, she plans to complete her French degree, leave her part-time job and start making music full time.

Her first tour is scheduled to begin in May with stops in other parts of Nova Scotia, as well as New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. She’s set to appear May 7 on 100 Huntley Street, a Canadian Christian television show, and hopes to start writing songs for her next album while on tour.

As for the ECMAs, her mother, father and stepmother, who have all been "really supportive" of her music, will join her at the Feb. 10 awards ceremony in Fredericton.

"I have four performances booked for that weekend in Fredericton, so it’s going to be hectic," she said.

One of the performances will be at a local church.

- Patricia Brooks Arenburg, The Bedford-Sackville Weekly News, February 7, 2008


- Anchored Roots - April 2010
- New Beginnings EP - January 2007

The title track to Chelsea's latest album "Anchored Roots" has received radio airplay on Christian radio stations across Canada.

- "We'll Find a Way" (song by Planet Atlantic)
- Nova Scotia for Haiti

- Ballads for Bayside
- We'll Find a Way (compilation CD by Planet Atlantic)
- East Coast Inspiration 2010




R&B/Soul Single Track Recording of the Year - 2011 ECMA Awards
Gospel Recording of the Year - 2011 ECMA Awards
Artist of the Year - 2011 ANSMA Awards
Inspirational Artist/Group Recording of the Year - 2010 Music NS Awards
Urban Artist/Group Recording of the Year - 2010 Music NS Awards
Urban/R&B/Soul Album of the Year: "Anchored Roots" - 2010 Covenant Awards
Gospel Recording of the Year - 2008 ECMA Awards
Inspirational Artist/Recording of the Year: "New Beginnings" - 2007 Nova Scotia Music Awards
Up and Coming Youth Award - 2007 ANSMA Awards


Female Vocalist of the Year - 2011 Covenant Awards
Urban/R&B/Soul Song of the Year: "Anchored Roots" - 2010 Covenant Awards
Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year: "Soldier (remix)" - 2010 Covenant Awards
Female Artist Recording of the Year - 2010 Music NS Awards
Rising Star Award - 2010 ANSMA Awards
African-Canadian Recording of the Year - 2008 ECMA Awards
Jazz/Blues Song of the Year: "Slow Down" - 2007 Covenant Awards
Galaxie Rising Star Award of CBC - 2007 ANSMA Awards
Artist/Group of the Year - 2007 ANSMA Awards

Halifax based artist Chelsea Nisbett creates a new sound infusing acoustic rock, R&B and soul. All this coupled with her soul-touching lyrics makes for nothing short of a truly captivating songwriter and performer. Jordan Warford (Editorial Manager of has commented: “If there were three words to sum up this inspiring artist, they would have to be integrity, class, and passion. Chelsea Nisbett is a new talent recently merging into the music industry. She brings with her a refreshing outlook on life and a tremendous aptitude for music that has been refined over recent years.”

Chelsea has just released her first full length album entitled Anchored Roots. This album was produced in Winnipeg, MB with Fresh I. E. (double Grammy nominee) and Byron Foster and in Nashville, TN with Otto Price and Doug Beiden. Anchored Roots has been well received by the public and has already received two Music Nova Scotia Awards and a Covenant Award.

In 2007, she released her debut seven song EP entitled New Beginnings featuring six songs she’d written herself. The CD has won three awards and received four other nominations! She has done various television performances including telethons, Global Noon, Breakfast Television, Eastlink Magazine, CBC Living Halifax and 100 Huntley Street. She has had the privilege of sharing the stage with successful musicians such as the Rita MacNeil, Gary Beals, Avalon, Newworldson and MercyMe. Radio stations have picked up on this brewing talent as she has received airplay on various radio stations across North America.

She credits most of her musical beginnings to the church, where she began singing and playing guitar and now leads worship. She knows that God was the one who has given her this gift of music and she is so thankful that she has the opportunity to impact someone’s life with her voice.

The future looks hopeful for this young, new talent. Jeremy Webb of the Daily News recognizes this at one of her live performances: “Chelsea Nisbett came next, with three songs that proved the Dal student is going places. Nisbett mastered the mike and won over the crowd.” Keep watch for Chelsea’s upcoming musical endeavours as she embarks on her latest release!