Kelsey Wild
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Kelsey Wild

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Featured Artist"

Rock featured artist. -

"VIBE Review"

"...performances were outstanding, especially the young Kelsey Wild. This 16-year-old has the stage presence of someone twice her age.....Keep Your eyes on this talent, eveyone. Should she choose, Kelsey Wild could go places."- Vibe - Vibe

"We Like: Kelsey Wild"

As a freshman at Northwestern, I quickly learned that there was a lot of musical talent on campus, but not a true "music scene?."

Yes, the music school put on performances at the end of each quarter, but save for a spontaneous show in the basement of a frat, student bands rarely played locally. A few months into school though I started hearing rumblings about a girl named Kelsey Wild, an apparently AMAZING freshman singer/songwriter.

Well, let’s be honest, I can be a little judgmental when it comes to music. I went to her MySpace page figuring she would have a decent voice, only to be absolutely blown away. This is not a girl from the local music scene, this is a girl bound for stardom. She is a mix between Regina Spektor and Emily Haines, yet she makes you feel as if she is singing something completely new. Wild also has a look all her own to add to the magic: flowing dresses, billowing red hair, and an undeniable charm.

The girl is unsigned. Seriously. If you are not shocked now, listen and you will be. Hurry up record labels, because she is going to go fast.

If you live in the Chicago area look out for her November 12 at Space in Evanston and if you want to make the trek down to Texas (I do!), she will be at South by Southwest on March 19.

Monday 11.09.09
We Like: Kelsey Wild
Written by: Darrin Bedol -

"Kelsey Wild: Astounding Talent"

"Somebody somewhere must know who Kelsey Wild is, considering she gets at least 600 Myspace plays a day, but I can’t figure out who. There isn’t much about her online, and when I attended her one local show a few months ago at a tiny piano bar in a hipster neighborhood in Wicker Park, there were five people in the room - - that’s counting myself and two of my friends. Maybe this is because she isn’t old enough to drink. Who knows?

Pretty disappointing considering what an amazing show it was. So who is she? She’s this ridiculously cute seventeen-year-old girl with an astounding voice, impeccable piano skills, and the cutest stage demeanor. I’m convinced this girl is a major label’s wet dream. Her songs are mature and well written, and her voice rocks you into deep thought.

Listen to 'Meaningless' and remind yourself that this girl isn’t even old enough to buy a pack of smokes."

-Limewire Music Blog
- LimeWire Music Blog

"Talented Freshman Balances Class and a Fan Base"

Hidden away down a long hallway in downtown Evanston, there is a small concert venue called Space. The room, which is bathed in low purple and orange lighting, is filled with small tables lit by candle light. As the room slowly begins to fill, one may begin to notice a trend. The crowd mostly consists of hip-looking Northwestern freshmen. They don’t seem out of place: after all, this concert venue hosts a wide variety of indie performers. But last Thursday, Space hosted one of their own.
As a girl wearing a white stocking cap makes her way through the audience, the crowd suddenly bursts into applause, and Kelsey Wild takes the stage with a gracious smile and many “thank yous.” Flipping her bright red hair to the side, she begins to play, alone on the stage except for her keyboard.

Her confident, yet shy, stage demeanor suggests Wild is no novice. With a smooth voice that sounds like the lovechild of Cat Power and Regina Spektor (both of whom Wild cites as inspirations), Wild does not leave any doubt of her that she belongs on the stage. Between songs, she mentions her new EP which she says will be on iTunes soon. What Kelsey Wild does not mention is that in the back of her mind, she’s still worried about midterms.

Wild is a Communication freshman at Northwestern University, as well as an active member of the Chicago indie music scene. For the past two years, Wild has been balancing music and school quite successfully.

“I love it. I really really like Northwestern a lot. I have a really easy schedule right now,” Wild said.

Born in Hawaii, Wild moved briefly to California before spending most of her life in rural Byron, Illinois, a town of about 4,000 people. She is not used to the support she has received at Northwestern.

“People have been so supportive here, which is a lot different from where I’m from,” she said. “There, music isn’t a big deal. People aren’t really interested.”

A Jones resident, Wild says that a combination of concentration, a relatively manageable schedule with only three classes and the facilities at her dorm have made the balancing act between writing and practicing music and keeping up with schoolwork manageable.

“I thought it was going to be a lot harder than it is. It’s about keeping a lot of things in balance.” she said. “I spend a lot time studying, but I still have a lot more free time [than in high school]. I just can’t do a lot of activities here.”

Wild has been a finalist in several songwriting competitions over the past two years, including the 2007-2008 International Songwriting Competition, but her interests in school lie in other areas of the arts. An RTVF major, she is not currently in any music classes.

“I’m in Radio, TV, Film because my main thing is playing music, but I don’t have a huge passion for music theory,” she said. “I can’t say that I won’t end up taking music theory and composition down the road, but I just feel like film and music intersect so much.”

While many aspiring musicians will move off to L.A. or New York the first chance they get, Wild chose to continue her schooling, and she feels her music has actually benefited from being at Northwestern. Other than offering Wild more time to practice and a better place area to rehearse, the school has given the singer people who inspire her on a daily basis, and her songwriting has reflected that recently.

“I’m inspired from a lot of things. Definitely real-life experiences, but also from a lot of people I know. If I just wrote all my songs about me, they’d be kind of boring,” Wild said. “I’ve met a lot of people, especially here, that just have really great life stories.”

For Wild, a month into college, things are going well. She likes her classes and says she’s doing well as far as grades go. The self-described “average freshman” should release her first EP within the month on iTunes.

You know, average freshman stuff.

-Kevin Sullivan

"SXSW 2010 Preview"

Each year, the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, TX showcases hundreds of artists from around the globe. There, artists, industry experts and music lovers get the opportunity to meet and connect — creating bonds that can further music careers for years to come. Many deserving, indie acts are give the chance to showcase their talent for people who can help them hone their skills. One such artist, Kelsey Wild, has been making her own way in Chicago for years now. Though only 19, Wild’s voice is timeless — think Cat Power or Regina Spektor. Her sweetly haunting melodies caught the eye of SXSW back in ‘09, so Wild has had some time to prepare for this year’s event. With kind eyes and an unbridled spirit, Kelsey Wild is sure to take Austin by storm in March. OurStage caught up with Wild recently to discuss the upcoming conference and her preparations for it.

OS: When did you first find out that you’d be playing SXSW?

KW: I actually found out I was playing SXSW 2010 when I applied for SXSW 2009. They emailed me telling me they liked my music, but weren’t sure if they could squeeze me in. It didn’t end up working out, but they told me to consider myself invited to SXSW 2010 early. So I’ve known I was playing since last spring.

OS: What did you do when you found out?

KW: I’m pretty sure I screamed when I found out. Playing at SXSW has always been a little dream of mine.

OS: Have you played there before?

KW: This will be my first year there.

OS: What does playing SXSW mean to you?

KW: To me, playing at SXSW is a fun affirmation of why I work hard at playing music. I play music because I love it, but it’s really nice to be rewarded with a great festival after you have put a lot of time and effort into being a good artist and musician.

OS: What can fans expect from Kelsey Wild at SXSW?

KW: I want to put on a great show for everyone. Fans can expect lots of new material and hopefully an excellent performance as well.

OS: What are you doing to prepare?

KW: I actually just got out of the studio, where I recorded five new songs. I plan to release a limited-edition, handmade EP for fans at SXSW. I am also, needless to say, spending a great deal of time honing my act and perfecting my songs.

OS: What other acts are you looking forward to seeing there this year?

KW: There are so many great acts this year! I’d love to check out Julianna Barwick, Blair and the Watson Twins, definitely.


"Interview with Kelsey Wild"

Kelsey Wild is not just another college singer-songwriter-pianist - she's a college singer-songwriter-pianist at your school. Marvel at how her soft-spoken voice transforms into a strong, assertive alto devoid of jejune collegiate aloofness once she's on stage at Evanston venues, such as Bill's Blues. The Communication freshman, who's been playing live since high school, shares her feelings on performing, being compared to Avril Lavigne and how it feels to play in front of classmates.
The Weekly: What kind of songwriter do you think you are?
Wild: That's a hard question. It's hard to look at my own music from an unbiased perspective and say exactly what it is.
The Weekly: What would you like it to be?
Wild:What would I like it to be? I would like to be considered ... I don't know, I guess the easy genre would be singer-songwriter or like, indie or something, but I don't even think indie is a genre. You can be metal and be indie or you can be anything … it's hard. I guess I would just like to be looked at as an artist (laughs).
The Weekly: Do you ever try to pattern yourself after an artist?
Wild: Influences are great and you can write a song with certain influences in mind, but then you want to go back and change it as much as you can to make it your own, because you don't want to draw too many comparisons to something else, or otherwise you're just going to be "the girl who sounds like..." Ideally I would like to be someone who can create my own sound, whatever that may be, and I'm still figuring what that is.
The Weekly: What's the worst review you ever got?
Wild: I haven't gotten any harsh reviews, really, but then again I'm not that well known (laughs). I'm not well known enough to incur the wrath. There was one, I was like 16 and someone compared me to Avril Lavigne and I was embarrassed by that. For the most part things have been fairly positive.
The Weekly: How do you reconcile being a student versus being a performer?
Wild: They're very separate, but it's always been that way. When I was in high school it was separate, and it was even more separate, I think, because everyone had known me for so long. I grew up in this very small school where everyone knows each other, and as soon as something changes it's very noticeable. Up until when I started playing music, I was just like, "book girl." I was very shy. When I started playing, that became my thing. "Piano girl!" Again being labeled. Coming here, I don't know if it has to be this way, but I'm just very private about writing and stuff. I get squeamish (laughs) if people are there while I'm writing because it's kind of hard to sort through things. I get distracted easily. I have to have a little bit of time during the day to practice and get in the zone.
The Weekly: What about seeing classmates at shows? Does that ever happen?
Wild: It's definitely a different dynamic. During a show you just get in the zone because the expectations of your behavior are different. You're expected to go entertain and put on a show, and it's a lot of fun. Shows are great because it's where the two worlds are allowed to intersect. Coming back into the classroom actually is a little awkward because I'm not up on stage. I'm not performing … for me, performing is not my strong suit. I enjoy it and I would like to get better at it, but it's not why I play.
The Weekly: Are there things that you find uncomfortable?
Wild: Especially starting out, I was not comfortable at all playing piano in front of an audience, but also on some level it was rewarding to connect with these strangers, these people in the audience, which is why I kept doing it. I've gotten better; you start looking at things you need to improve on because you want to make yourself a better performer and musician and part of that is being personable. I've gotten better but I'm not Elton John (laughs). I'm not putting on a Broadway show. It's hard. It's hard but it's fun. It's probably easier for other people. - Northwestern Daily

"Featured Artist"

Selected featured artist. -

"Introducing Kelsey Wild"

Introducing Kelsey Wild
Posted by: Lydia on: March 2, 2010
In: Uncategorized Comment!

Hey guys, I just wanted to take a minute and let you know about Kelsey Wild who’s going to be playing at South by Southwest this month (March 17-21). She’s a really talented musician and I had the pleasure to profile her last year for a journalism class. The article is little dated at this point but you can still read it a play with my multimedia components: Talent in Reserve.
I bring this up now Kelsey did a SXSW Preview interview last week that I wanted to share with you. Also be sure to check out her website, her Twitter, and her music on iTunes.
And of course, here are some of my favorite Kelsey Wild songs:
- Up to Our Ears

"Kelsey Wild Interview: SXSW 2010"

Kelsey Wild, currently a student at Northwestern and an emerging singer-songwriter, started her music career at band camp during her freshman year of high school. Inspired by Cat Power and Nina Nastasia, Wild's songs ring with a powerful honesty that charms the back rooms of many of Chicago's clubs and bars. Since the age of 16, she has released two EPs and is currently completing a third short album, which will be released this year at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Just before SXSW, Spinner caught up with Kelsey to discuss her first celebrity crush, her career aspirations and the contents of her festival survival kit.

How did you get started in music?

I got started playing music when I was a kid. I went to music camp my freshman year of high school. It was kind of like the movie 'School of Rock.' One of the camp counselors, who still supports me, helped me set up a MySpace page and got me started recording. I played a lot of small shows at coffee shops and birthday parties before I started playing in college towns. Then, when I was about 17, I started playing in Chicago. Now I'm playing almost exclusively in clubs in Chicago. I'd like to go on a small tour this summer, but I don't have any big plans now, mostly because of school.

What are you studying in college?

I'm a Film and Sound Design major at Northwestern. It's really cool how all of the principles I'm learning in school relate to my music career.

If you had to come up with a band name, what would it be?

Oh wow. I have no idea. I'm actually really bad at naming things. I'll often have my friends name the songs I write because I just have no idea what to call them.

Using your own words, describe your sound.

It's pretty sparse and low-production. It's singer-songwriter-esque and honest.

Who are your musical influences?

One of my biggest influences would have to be Cat Power. I love Chan Marshall. I also really like Bob Dylan. I find myself listening to a lot of female singer-songwriters, like Nina Nastasia.

Beatles or Stones?

Oh that's hard. I'd have to say the Beatles.

What's your musical guilty pleasure?

I really like Lady Gaga, more for her fashion than her music. It's the complete opposite of everything I would ever play or want to play--it's just kind of fun. She has an amazing vision, so that's always good.

What was the first record you bought with your own money?

It was probably something really embarrassing. It was either a sound track to 'Men in Black' or a Celine Dion CD.

What's your biggest vice?

I'm kind of a foodie. I love to eat food, so I guess my biggest vice would probably be food. I also really like coffee. Even though it kind of makes me sick, I still like to drink it.

Who was your first celebrity crush?

I think the very first crush I had was on the magical cat in the musical 'Cats.' Besides the cat, because that's really weird, my first human crush would have to be Toby Maguire.

What's in your festival survival kit?

I'm gonna take huge, tremendous jugs of water, sunglasses, sunscreen because I will burn to a crisp, my iPod and my phone.

Darci Spiker is a contributor from Learn how you can contribute here. - (AOL)


EP in progress



Kelsey Wild is a Chicago-based songwriter and musician.
She was an official selection for South by Southwest.

Her music has been featured in the TV series HawthoRNe.