This stripped back song by Kelsey Coockson makes you stop in your tracks.
Her second single is anthemic. Vocally, Kelsey has buttery vocals that are lovely to listen to. Her lyrics are beautiful and the balance of the track is so perfect.
Somewhere on the third and fourth floor of a small apartment in a nice Amsterdam neighbourhood a whole lot more is happening than in a modern recording studio with ten times that size. Of course, Kelsey Coockson must occasionally push the couch aside to make way for the equipment for recording her debut EP Shadow Box, which will be released later this year. And yes, every now and then the kitchen or bathroom needs to be evacuated for a photo session. Everything is possible with a little bit of improvisation. The single Nude is the first proof of that.
Compared to her debut single California, released in March 2019, Nude represents a significant step forward artistically. The share of electronics on this catchy pop song has increased considerably, making it a real contemporary pop song. In fact, this also applies to the lyrics which uncover a current theme that directly affects many young people, but that is rarely mentioned. We may live in the age of social media, but who really dares to expose themselves? Well, Kelsey does. For the artwork she literally took a bath. In all discretion of course. It’s only a metaphor, you know.
‘Nude is all about exposing yourself completely to someone else, both emotionally and physically,’ she explains. ‘From this vulnerability I’m trying to get a deeper connection with someone.’ There is also a touch of mindfulness in it. She is worth loving just like everyone else. And as it is such a beautiful song with a nice sing-along chorus, so much the better, you’d think.
Exposing yourself, that’s the main theme of the upcoming Shadow Box four track-EP. With each single that will be released, she’ll show a bit more of herself. ‘It feels a bit like peeling an onion,’ she says. ‘That’s an Amsterdam expression to say that with every song I get a little closer to myself.’
It shows both her vulnerable and her powerful side. ‘Love and trust are important. For yourself and for the other person. And being able to surrender completely and feel completely “naked” is the most beautiful thing there is.’ The second single Not Scared will lift another tip of the veil.
The EP Shadow Box owes its intriguing title to the fact that Kelsey on the one hand is fully showing herself and on the other hand she’s fighting with herself like a skilled shadow boxer. She enters the ring with her boyfriend Maurits Huijgen as her partner by her side. They do everything fifty-fifty with just the two of them. Whereas she’s the main songwriter, he’s primarily the producer who creates the right circumstances. They have already recorded many songs together, but for reasons of quality they have thrown some away as well. Only the best is good enough.
Shadow Box is a concise collection of the best they have created so far. Her 2018 debut single California did very well with an electronic and an acoustic version on Spotify. Approximately 300K streams is quite a bit without a label behind you. Now she intends to take the next steps with Nude from Shadow Box. Now that Kelsey has been picked as one of the five vocal talents within the Talent Academy run by famous Dutch actress Chantal Janzen, her chances look better than ever.
Both Kelsey and Maurits hail from the world of bands with guitars, bass and drums, but have gradually adapted themselves to a more electronic approach. That does not mean that they deny their origins. In each song you can hear a crispy layer of acoustic guitar. ‘That’s the basis of everything,’ Kelsey explains. ‘If you can't perform a song acoustically, it's usually not that good anyway.’
As true DIY people, they do everything themselves: writing, recording, taking photos and making videos. All that you can do on your own nowadays, they do. Once a song created in such a modern way is finished, they first test it in an old-fashioned way, in the car. If it sounds good there, it sounds good everywhere. That’s the naked truth.