“I always try to look like a schoolgirl version of Harley Quinn. I actually get most of my fashion inspiration from fictional characters,” says Chelsea Collins. Upon first glance, Chelsea Collins resembles a cross between an icon of TRL and the starlet of a ‘60s exploitation film. Her sex and swagger are turned up to at least 11 and she kicks out breakup bangers inspired by late ‘90s teen pop that would be fit for the most epic sleepovers ever… whether you’re a gang of tweens in your parents’ basement or twentysomethings in need of an extra cozy afterparty. She’s signed to LA Reid’s HITCO and has already released collaborations with Swae Lee and 24kGoldn. Earlier this month the 22-year-old released the second single from her upcoming debut EP, “Open Your Mouth,” a bubblegum anthem about an ex that resembles early Britney, accompanied by a music video that looks along the lines of the trailer to an adult parody of Mean Girls… And I mean that in the best possible way.
However, during our recent phone chat, the ineffably endearing Collins proved to be far more complex than the cartoonish supervixen she plays on the internet… I ask her about some of the highlights of the two years or so she’s been making her way in the industry, half expecting to hear about limo hot tub parties on the Sunset Strip, but she tells me, “Just hearing the songs that I make in my room is a huge highlight. And then to have people tell me it changed their life is so weird, because I’m just a sad kid making music in my room [laughs].” Yes, in addition to her skills as a burgeoning pop icon, Chelsea Collins also writes and produces her music. While this is important to know about her, she also emphasizes the fact that it is full-on “pop music” that interests her.
“I feel like the most interesting thing is that I make all the music from my room. And a lot of people do the whole lo-fi bedroom thing, but I wanna inspire girls to produce their own music from home and make a pop song. I produce it, so I can inspire girls to do the same. I wanna see women take over the industry!”
Chelsea tells me that her all-time top five are, “Britney, Gwen Stefani, Taylor Swift, Max Martin, and Avril.” And when I ask her if there are any songs that she thinks are so good she wishes she’d written them, she mentions “Yesterday” by The Beatles and “Blinding Lights” by the Weeknd, in addition to “Bohemian Rhapsody, which speaks to her as a former “musical theatre kid,” and “good 4 u,” by Olivia Rodrigo, “which is tacky, but so iconic.” However, she tells me that it is the aforementioned songwriter and producer best-known for his work with Britney, Christina, and the Backstreet Boys that is likely her biggest inspiration as a songwriter: “I wish I wrote every song that Max Martin ever wrote. Everything he wrote is gold. I just wish I could be him, but I can’t because I’m a girl, and I’m not Swedish [laughs].”
There’s not yet a release date for Chelsea’s first EP, but she tells me you won’t have to wait much longer: “All the songs are pretty much done. I hate the word ‘soon,’ but soon [laughs]. I wanna drop a few more singles before the EP comes out.” She’s also hoping to spend some time on the road and bring her music to the stage in the near future: “I’m so anxious to perform. I grew up being a theatre kid and doing all that stuff.” She also tells me that the time feels perfect for her throwback to late ‘90s/early 2000s sounds and that her early fans already seem to have the same obsession with the era: “That was so fun and colorful, and everything’s been so sad and depressing recently that people want something that’s fun and colorful… In general, that vibe is coming back. And my fans are really into that because they’re pop culture fans, not like cool, edgy hipster kids, which I love, because I’m not a cool, edgy hipster kid at all [laughs].”