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An Interview with Chelsea Ursin – Creator of Dear Young Rocker

Photo by James Singleton

Dear Young Rocker, a podcast aimed at deciphering the human condition at it’s typically most awkward, is the progressive conversation Chelsea Ursin has been having with herself for a long time. Utilizing the universality of managing teenage stress & relief, there came a birth of honesty in shedding such candid experiences for all of us to hear. This is a platform for understanding, like any other, by only someone who understands; a girl pissed, looking to play & sick of faking it.

A while back in whatever might consist as the definitive meaning of the word “time”; maybe April or in this century, I got a chance to have a chat with Ursin. In a dawning moment of self reflection & inwardness, Ursin found time in their uprooted routine to share the inner workings of that process & give us a glimpse to what’s on the horizon. Being a busy creative person requires a full time attention to adaptability, if not malleability to how an idea can evolve outside of itself. It felt refreshing to talk to someone equally able to disengage from the digital world but reach out with the same vigor as before.

Alyssa Vautier: What are some ways you like to maintain your presence in your body?

Chelsea Ursin: Mostly getting off of social media whenever possible. That’s when I lose my body and my creative spirit too. I try to put my phone away from me and do breathing exercises – I post some of those on my Instagram too! Sometimes just picking up an instrument and noodling helps if I can’t relax enough to meditate or breathe. Going for brisk walks is also KEY – it resets my brain and body.

What acts of self care would you recommend to your Young Rocker fan base?

It’s so easy to get sucked in for too many hours a day especially now in stay at home mode. And it so easily leads to self-comparison and judgement even if we are viewing people with good messages.

Engage with physical pieces of creativity whenever possible – read old paper books, listen to vinyl records from front to back, make music on a wooden instrument or with your voice, dance around your room to what you listened to in middle school and ignore the whole world while you do these things so you can explore your own intuition and connect with yourself. I’ll note here I recently wrote an article for the Talkhouse about this idea:

https://www.talkhouse.com/something-you-do-alone-in-a-room/

Talking to your younger self, sitting in the comfort of your hindsight, is easily something we’ve all done. Ursin cultivated this memoir, analyzing that dialogue & addressing her old self with peace & pace, for their MFA in Creative Writing, gradually evolving into this wonderful podcast we get to enjoy. Hearing Ursin’s life play out in rewind easily offers relatable feelings that we’ve all gone through, but maybe just never said out loud:

“I feel lost.”

“No one understands this feeling I have.”

“Will I ever be good enough?”

These are easily all too applicable & undeniably mutually felt. And sharing that is fucking bold, if not imperative for all of us to hear.

As a ULowell alum, was there a defining moment for you as musician you’d like to share?

Funny enough I really didn’t engage musically while I was actually attending UML. I was so wrapped up in my own issues and trying to pretend I was giving up music for the rest of my life that I missed out on a really great scene and great people. I just thought there was only like crappy cover bands and the kind of metal I don’t like going on and somehow missed all the bands that were up my alley, although I think most were younger than me. BUT when I moved to Boston after graduation I started getting into DIY shows by reading the Boston Compass and I ended up going to the Wilder Zangcraft to see a show when I was like 25. It was the most fun, chill but wild show I had been to. It was the first show where I didn’t feel self conscious or worried I was dressed cool enough or whatever for the people around me. I was like THIS IS IT and wished I had discovered the Lowell scene when I was younger. At that show I met and re-met a bunch of people I had went to school with and had been too shy to talk to and had an amazing time. I went to a ton more shows there and other small venues in Lowell after that and simultaneously got into some Worcester scene stuff which also gave me the “it’s OK to be a dorky weirdo vibe”, which I got sometimes in Boston but not as often. I love the smaller scenes and Lowell will always have a place in my heart!

What other writing projects are on the table for you?

I haven’t started anything quite yet. Using my stay at home time to dream and experiment. I have a few ideas in mind, all of them for a young adult audience. I’d like to do some fictional work either a novel or a screenplay and possibly a kind of fun illustrated self-help book too. At this very moment for some reason I don’t feel the urge to start another podcast but that could change quickly.

What can we expect in Season 2 of Dear Young Rocker? Have we seen most of her uphill struggle or is Chelsea still treading water?

Season 2 takes Chelsea through some strange years of college and then out into the world. There is a lot of self-exploration and more mistakes made and lessons learned. She eventually puts it all together and finds her focus at the end but can’t give too much away.

Do you already have guests in mind?

Not really. There are a couple people who I didn’t have time to fit into Season 1 but I am open to seeing who else might be interested.

What albums have you recently been bopping to? Any new releases that have your ears perked?

The new Fiona Apple record Fetch the Bolt Cutters! Oh my god it is SO GOOD! For an album later in an artists career I was so happily surprised with how actually raw, weird, and not overproduced it is. Fiona is a punk! I’ve also strangely been very drawn to 80’s new wave and post punk lately. There’s so much incredible older music to explore I hardly ever listen to what’s coming out now.

Any shoutouts to local artists, charities, coalitions, projects or just plain good ass folk we should know about?

Yer Scene! Great group of kids from all over the place coming together online making zines and podcasts, reviewing small DIY bands, putting together shows and caring about their communities.

Be on the lookout for Season 2 of Dear Young Rocker on all available streaming platforms coming later this year & give a listen to Ursin’s grunge band Banana while you’re at it! They’re taking time, like the rest of us, away from any recording or live show antics but give them some big love! Buy a tape and melt your face! Right now is so imperative to support local communities, especially the creators who help drive culture. Donate, donate, donate! Whether it be your money or your time, offer part of yourself to a creator’s growth. It’s more mutual & shared than you think; it’s part of everyone’s right now & that inevitable tomorrow we face.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dear-young-rocker/id1372294005

https://open.spotify.com/show/6JYzdPV6KZopP5Nu1GMSyo?si=GJwWBqIHSiGDIGmRbLChCg

https://www.iheart.com/podcast/256-dear-young-rocker-31080040/

https://www.instagram.com/ch_ch_ch_ch_ch_chelsea/

https://www.instagram.com/banana_shreds/

https://bananama.bandcamp.com/

-Alyssa Aileen Vautier