Chelsea Cutler: Finding Beauty Everywhere

For the last two years, singer, songwriter and producer Chelsea Cutler has learned to appreciate what’s right in front of her.

Having stepped away from touring, as well as having taken a self-imposed break from social media to make her latest album, Stellaria, Cutler reconnected with herself, and fell in love with the process of making music again.

“During the pandemic, it was really easy to develop really insular habits that maybe served you when you were quarantining for a year, but don’t really serve us anymore,” Cutler told Revue. “And so I think for me, making this album was in large part about breaking out of those habits and trying to, you could say take risks. In a lot of ways I didn’t want to play it safe anymore.”

For those who haven’t followed her career, Cutler started out as a teenager in Connecticut, uploading her own self-produced songs to Soundcloud. She then broke through in 2017 with a series of collaborations with the likes of Louis The Child, and later Michigan native Quinn XCII (who she played her first major show with in Detroit).

“Getting to be a part of my friend’s hometown show for my first show is a pretty special experience,” Cutler said. “That was crazy, because I think it was like a 1,500 cap room, which obviously doesn’t sound too big, but when it’s your first show... I was definitely pretty frozen up there.”

She quickly became more comfortable on and offstage, signing with Republic Records, and releasing a collaborative EP, brent, with her friend and fellow singer-songwriter Jeremy Zucker. Their songs “You Were Good To Me,” and “Better Off,” went platinum and gold, respectively, as did her own song “Your Shirt,” ahead of the release of her debut album 2020’s How To Be Human

“Music’s always been a really like warm and safe space for me,” Cutler said when asked about how her candid songs have confronted issues of mental health right from the start. “I hate saying like, safe space, because I feel like it’s such a sacred kind of thing. But it really is that. It is a place that I can go and find comfort and solace from everything else going on in the world. And I think that’s what music is for a lot of people.”

Unable to tour at first due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cutler soon found out just how much her music meant to her fans when she finally got to hit the road and heard her words sung back to her every night.

“That’s the beauty of music,” she said. “I think it can be interpreted and adjusted to fit what any individual is going through or needs to hear. They can hear lyrics and suddenly it’s everything that they need to hear in that moment. And it’s cool how flexible music is in that way. I definitely have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that anyone could listen to my music and it means something to them. I think that’s pretty hard for the average human to even connect with and fully understand that. It’s just so surreal.”

After touring for her second album, 2021’s When I Close My Eyes, which included a sold out stop at The Intersection here in Grand Rapids back in 2022, Cutler took over a year a half off from the road to write and record Stellaria, which came out last fall.

“I’m so excited to get back out there,” she said. “A lot of the rooms are bigger, which is going to be really fun. It’s all new music, which is so much fun to play. It’s been really refreshing putting new stuff on the set list. And we added a band member. So the band feels really big, and the stage production is really cool and different than anything we’ve done before.”

As an album, Stellaria is musically different than anything she has done before as well, featuring her own signature self-production on nearly every track, while pushing her unique style of indie pop in new and more mature directions.

“I think that albums are kind of a continuum for me,” she said. “When we were working on the album, we kept saying, ‘All right, we gotta keep writing, we don’t have everything.’ And I eventually was just like, ‘All right, guys, I’m gonna write forever, right? I’m a musician, so I’m going to write music forever.’ So at some point we need to put our foot down and say, ‘This is the end of Stellaria, and something new can start. So I think they’re all just kind of like little glimpses on this ongoing timeline of my life.”

Chelsea Cutler: The Beauty Is Everywhere Tour
GLC Live at 20 Monroe, 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids
March 1, 7 p.m., $46.50+,


Photo Courtesy of Blythe Thomas.