COMMENTS

Jersey girl Chelsea Carlson is ready to rock Bradenton

/
Chelsea Carlson 2

Award-winning New Jersey rock musician Chelsea Carlson performs Sunday at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer benefit, which is also the grand opening of Soma Creek Side in Bradenton. Courtesy photo by Jean Fordyce of Fordyce Studio.

Yes, the young woman with the dark, blond locks has heard she looks like Taylor Swift. The 21-year-old Chelsea Carlson has even been mistaken for the slightly older superstar. But when Carlson makes her Florida debut Sunday at Soma Creek Side in Bradenton don’t expect to hear any of Taylor’s country-pop tunes; or anything that falls neatly into the “modern country” or “pop” categories. Carlson is a rocker. She loves Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and has a rich, sultry voice that blows away Swift’s puny singing.

“I’ve heard the Taylor Swift comparisons way too many times,” Carlson says by phone from her New Jersey home. “Everywhere I go people think if it’s a girl with an acoustic guitar and blonde hair it must be a Taylor Swift wanna be. In the spring I was in New York City walking and would hear ‘Taylor, Taylor.’”

Acclaimed chef Dave Shiplett’s Soma Creek Side restaurant will celebrate its grand opening in style with a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer benefit featuring a performance by Carlson, who has a substantial following in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Aunt Sharon Carlson, a local breast cancer survivor who lives in the Bradenton area, gets the credit for booking the talent. Chelsea will be performing solo, accompanying herself on guitar and piano, Sunday in Bradenton.

Chelsea Carlson 1

Award-winning New Jersey rock musician Chelsea Carlson performs Sunday at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer benefit, which is also the grand opening of Soma Creek Side in Bradenton. Courtesy photo by Jean Fordyce of Fordyce Studio.

“Aunt Sharon does the event every year and has been trying to get me to come down to Florida for a while,” Chelsea says. “I really wanted to be part of the event and this year it just worked out perfect.”

After honing her songwriting skills for a few semesters at the venerable Berklee College of Music in Boston, Chelsea returned home to New Jersey to start her music career; first with bands and then as a solo act. In April, Chelsea won Top New Female Act at the 4th annual JAM (Jersey Acoustic Music) Awards. The long-list of nominees included previously Grammy-nominated musician Samantha Aurelio.

“It was so cool because I was just happy to see I was nominated, I didn’t expect to win,” Chelsea says. “It was a really cool event with a red carpet and local TV show. I was the first acoustic performance of the day. I played my song and they started to say my name and I blanked. There’s video of it I still haven’t watched. I know I said something about the award being so shiny.”

A couple of Chelsea Carlson originals can be heard on her website. The first, “Ain’t Done Yet,” finds her singing with assured power over a propulsive rhythm section, hot guitar licks and churchy organ. Chelsea sings from the perspective of her 80-year-old grandmother, a concentration camp survivor, recalling her life. The results are chilling.

“We released the song as a single in April and it’s been our most requested,” Chelsea says. “It’s cool my song could touch that many people. It’s my favorite song I’ve written.”

On Sept. 28, Chelsea recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to record her debut album, which will be filled with original material. As of Thursday morning, 41 backers had pledged a total $2,870. Carlson has more than a month to reach her now highly-attainable goal.

“I've chosen to record my album independently so I can stay true to myself, but I'm not going to be able to fund this project without your help,” she says on her Kickstarter page. “I've set myself a goal of $3,500 and with your donations, we can make it happen!”

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer featuring Chelsea Carlson
6-9 p.m. Sunday; Soma Creek Side; 1401 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton; $15 (includes hors d’oeuvres); 567-4001; chelseacarlsonmusic.com

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer featuring Chelsea Carlson
6-9 p.m. Sunday; Soma Creek Side; 1401 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton; $15 (includes hors d’oeuvres); 567-4001; chelseacarlsonmusic.com

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: October 9, 2013
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.
COMMENTS