Interview with Chellcy Reitsma

Interview with Chellcy Reitsma

Today, we sat with Chellcy Reitsma to talk about her inspiration to write music, advice for musicians and more! Be sure to check out her music below after the interview!


What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your surroundings?

My greatest inspirations are my life experiences and losses. I’ll give two examples: My most recent single ‘Happy New Year” was inspired by the one year anniversary of my cousin’s death. He died on Christmas Eve in a motorcycle accident, hit and dragged by a semi-truck on a highway in California. We grew up together and were neighbors for some years. He was only a few years older than me and his death really struck a deep chord with me.  Then I thought about all my many family and friends who have died and felt like I could end up, eventually, being the last one left at this party we call life. So I used a New Years Eve party as a metaphor for life and death. The song is my way of processing all of this and a tribute to those who have gone before me.

Secondly: My 4 track concept EP ‘Black Water’ is a narrative of my life, my anger, loss and my love from 1990’s to 2010. It ends with a poem that sums it all up.
My surroundings certainly facilitate my songwriting though. I get the majority of my ideas while driving or traveling and I do most of my songwriting in the car. Sometimes I record a lyric or melody line on my phone while driving or I pull over to the side of the road to write something down. In Malta, where I live, I also have a few places I go to park and write near cliffs overlooking the sea.

What type of music did you listen to growing up?
I have an elclectic music background. I got a pretty well rounded music education from my family. My mom was a hobby singer and a pro disco dancer competitor. She exposed my to disco, 60’s and 70’s folk, and hard rock. She also was part of many the chamber choirs and sang full gospel. My uncle who was a punk guitarist, who also happened to be my mom’s disco partner, exposed me to folk, disco, punk and alternative rock. My cousin was a well known professional guitarist and songwriter of hard rock so listens to a lot of that. Lastly my grandparents were all hobby musicians too and sang gospel, Americana and country songs. They played instruments like the harmonica, mouth harp, banjo and accordian. I personally got really into punk rock, blues, and alternative rock.

Is there someone you looked up as a hero?
Patti Smith because she is an amazing person and artist. My mom because she is strong, business minded, talented and beautiful inside and out. She has been to hell and back in her life and still keeps going.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing today?

Well I am also a visual artist and poet. I graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Art has been a passion of mine since childhood so I wpuld definitly be persuing a career in art. I love to blend my visual art and poetry too by creating short stop motion animations or simply illustrating my poetry with painting and drawings. You can see some examples here on my poetry page:

Before I started music however, I was a touring professional dancer, choreographer and teacher. Had I not been injured beyond repair at age 40 I would most likely still have my dancing career going.

What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create music?

Just do it! Go for it! I started singing-songwriting at age 40. I was terrified. My first vocal coaching session I was so nervous that my voice was quivering and I started crying! Lol! My first performance was eaqually as terrifying for me. Starting a band was also nerveracking for me. I had no education or background in music other that the little I picked up over the years solely to improve my dancing. I felt like a total imposter when I started music and sometimes I still struggle with imposter syndrome. Now I have written and released one 4 track EP, 10 singles and numerous music videos. You can listen to my music on Spotify or YouTube here:

But you know, my life experience has taught me is that most things I’ve been scared to do have proved to be the absolute best experoences of my life. So I always try to face my fears because I don’t want to miss out on potentially wonderful life experiences just because of letting fear get the best of me. So just go for it! Age doesn’t matter until you’re dead, it just means the older you are the less time you have to keep waiting to get started. Lol! Live and seize everyday until the last. Lack of skill and lack of experience doesn’t matter either because you will gain all of those and learn along the way.