Stepping into the spotlight and
becoming Chelsea Berry
Singer-songwriter Chelsea Berry has always kept faith, family and country music close to her heart. This Maryville, Tennessee, native grew up singing in her church choir, but never imagined embracing the bright lights of stardom. However, that all changed when a Sunday church solo left everyone in tears. Now, this 30-year-old couldn’t imagine her life without country music at the helm.
Chris Blue: Have you always been interested in music?
Chelsea Berry: I grew up around music. When I was a baby, my mom would come up to my room and there my dad and I were, just listening to music. As I got older, my dad would take me to bluegrass festivals. In my older years, I never wanted to sing in front of people, but it wasn’t until my music director, Wesley Brown, said, ‘Chelsea, you’re going to sing a song this Sunday,’ that I thought, okay maybe I can get used to this.
It’s safe to say your dad, your choir director, God inspired you to jump all the way in. What artists would you say inspire you now?
I grew up around bluegrass. I remember listening to Ricky Scott, Alison Krauss, and John Denver. My dad would play those records, and I knew every word to every single one of the songs. Being from East Tennessee, Dolly Parton. And currently, Carrie Underwood. She kind of taught me how to sing. I would listen to her voice and say, ‘I want to sing like this.’
And how would you describe your sound?
I just got into the studio last year and recorded my first EP with Travis Wyrick, who produced it. When I first started writing that summer, I knew that I wanted to write music that told a story; that’s country music. I knew I wanted those country elements because it’s where I’m from. It’s what my voice tends to go to.
What is your goal as a country music artist?
The Grand Ole Opry. If I get to that point and sing on that stage, what a dream come true. The next step is getting to Nashville, singing at The Listening Room, Whiskey Jam, The Bluebird Cafe. As a country artist, those are places that stick out. I also want to start co-writing, to get better as a songwriter and expand my creative process.
And if you could collaborate with one artist in 2021?
Dolly Parton. She’s just legendary. I want to be the kind of artist she is. I have a lot of energy, and I want to bring that to my shows.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts about being an artist?
Singing is my number one love. My favorite part is when people come up to me afterward and say, ‘That song really touched me,’ or ‘Did you write that?’ or ‘Where can I buy that?’ Those kinds of things mean a lot. I’m still getting used to the late nights, so what’s going to be hard once I start doing a lot of shows is just keeping my voice healthy.
What’s the best advice you’ve received so far?
When I was in the studio,Travis always said to me, ‘Fear not,’ because for me fear was one of the things that stopped me from pursuing things. Once I realized God had given me something, I just had to get over that because God was going to help me through it. Now when I start to get timid about something, I remind myself to not let fear get in the way of my dreams.
And what advice would you give to the next generation?
Persevere and don’t give up. Some things have happened for me this past year because I didn’t give up, I kept reaching out to people. If you really want it, if you really want to pursue your dream, whether it’s singing, acting, teaching, whatever, don’t give up.
Very positive and very true. So tell us what’s next for Chelsea Berry.
I think that I’d like to get back into the studio. I’ve had the opportunity to write more music and grow as a writer, and I’d like to record some of those songs. And going to Nashville, performing and promoting my music. You know how this industry is; it’s just people. One door opens another. I feel like I’ve been very blessed to have so many people that want to help me. That’s what’s so humbling about it. You can’t do it on your own; you have to have people who believe in you.
If you could say anything to those people who have believed in you from day one, what would it be?
Thank you for having faith in me and my music and encouraging me to chase this dream. There are days that I think, I don’t know if I can do this. But really it’s those stable people in my life that keep me going and remind me why I’m doing what I’m doing.