“You produced this?” is something Chaisley Lussier is tired of hearing. The Philadelphia-raised Los Angeles resident it a self-taught singer, songwriter, and producer on the verge of releasing her new untitled EP after a two-year hiatus from dropping new music. Talented and reserved, it seems Lussier’s new music is coming from a place of stability and growing confidence, being created throughout two major moves back and forth across the country in that time, LA to New York and back.
We were able to secure the world premiere of her latest single, “Talk.” Press play and get to know a little bit about Chaisley below.
LF: When made you fall in love with music?
CL: Music has definitely been a constant. I started dancing very young and throughout college. My dream was to be a professional ballerina, but being petite was not considered desirable in the world of ballet so I began to take a more traditional route. I studied business and media at university, but really began craving a creative outlet after I stopped dancing. I’d always enjoyed singing but never took it seriously enough to go after it professionally. I also never got the solos in the school choir so I just assumed my voice wasn’t that great and didn’t think much of it (laughs).
I started experimenting with music production in an effort to deal with anxiety while at school. I was definitely ready to get out of there. I had a lot of regrets about school. However, I knew it was important to finish my education and graduate and so I did. Music helped get me through it. It was a slow progression but eventually there a came a point where I began writing to the music I was producing. I started having no knowledge of how to play an instrument or how to write a song or really even how to sing properly for that matter. Now that I’m thinking about it, I really fell in love with music when I began to understand what goes into the creation of music – what it really means to create a full body of work. The amount of soul, determination and dedication it takes, there is nothing more gratifying than working on a piece of music and listening to the final record in totality.
LF: Who are your musical influences?
CL: I’m definitely a classics girl. Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac, Teena Marie, Phil Collins, Nicolette Larson, The Eagles, Rita Coolidge, Anthony Hamilton, Acoustic Alchemy, Boney James. I could go on…
LF: What’s your favorite part about making music?
CL: I think for me, my music is so personal that being able to have it as an outlet makes it necessary for my overall well-being. It’s become my therapy in a lot of ways and it’s been the one thing that I could always rely on, no matter how bad things have gotten in my life. I’m very passionate about the whole process and each part of that process has it’s own important meaning to me. I also think that what I love about making music is that you are constantly learning and evolving – you could spend your lifetime working on music. Creative progression… It’s addicting.
LF: What made you want to switch to more instrumentation in your music?
CL: As someone who didn’t initially play instruments, it really came down to the resources that were available to me. I’ve always appreciated a more classic sound, but it’s also difficult to find the right people to incorporate into your music. Over time I’ve been fortunate to find some great musicians and work with them to build out the sound I’ve always envisioned. I’ve also gotten better at the few instruments I’ve been able to teach myself. Incorporating live instrumentation provides a lot more movement to a song. Coming from the side of a producer, I love songs that allow room for a guitar solo or sax solo. It’s not just about the vocals. It’s how everything fits together.
LF: You’ve lived in Philly, NYC, and LA. How has each city influenced your music?
CL: I’d say Philly has provided me the understanding and importance of the soul. It’s a culturally rich city and a musical city. A lot of jazz and soul as well as gospel. It’s a real city that provides real life experiences. It taught me a lot. New York is exhausting, you have to keep up. It really influences the way you carry yourself, less influential musically for me I think. But there is a bit of sexiness that the city brings about. Living in LA, I’m still adjusting years later. The music culture here is by far the most commercial. My experiences in LA have influenced my music from a compositional standpoint. You’re more cognizant of the “business” that is music.
LF: Favorite place?
CL: The stables. Horses really calm me. I grew up across the street from a boarding stable in a city which doesn’t happen often. It’s a Philly thing!
LF: What’s this single about and how does it fit into your album?
CL: ‘Talk’ is actually about two people, who ultimately are the same kind of person. Both of whom I experienced around the same time in my life. These men love to “talk” in an effort to discredit others or to make themselves look better. It seems like so many people these days are all too eager to speak falsely about themselves or others without care or consideration of the consequences that may come with this behavior. I experienced this with my ex-husband, discrediting me and spreading lies and rumors in an effort to protect his darkest secrets and ultimately himself. The other character in this narrative shall remain nameless. Though people may talk, I believe the truth always prevails. People may try to run from the truth, but sooner or later the truth always comes out! This is important to remember in life. This project touches wholeheartedly on the themes of love, heartbreak, truth and salvation. Not all love stories have a happy ending, but love gone wrong builds a stronger woman I believe.
LF: You’ve discussed mature themes on the album, but there’s still sexiness. As you find yourself making music from a more mature place, can you speak to how you look at sexuality differently and what makes a woman sexy in your opinion?
CL: There’s an interesting juxtaposition with this project. The content is actually quite heartbreaking but the atmosphere sonically is very sensual. Not everything I’ve written is about heartbreak, but sonically I stay consistent. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as a person, as an artist and as a woman and all the facets in between. I believe sexuality develops as you learn more about yourself and how you evolve from your experiences. Really, time is the only variable that can provide this kind of self-understanding. I think in today’s current culture “sex” has become so overt, I prefer more mystery and imagination. To me, intelligence, humor and wisdom are the sexiest of all qualities. There is nothing sexier than a woman who has lived. I hope most women realize that their journey is more desirable than their physicality, at least it should be, in my opinion.
LF: You prefer a more classic and natural look. Who are your style influences?
CL: My number one style influences have always been my grandmothers, I think. They are the most timeless natural beauties. They really taught me the value of quality over quantity but are certainly fearless when it comes to style. Very snazzy ladies! I gravitate towards looks that flatter my natural features, it also makes life a lot easier.
LF: Weird hobbies outside of music?
CL: Geology! It’s a very grounding hobby, no pun intended. I have a pretty impressive rock collection dispersed throughout my house, I’ve picked them up while traveling to new places or from places I’ve traveled to specifically for their interesting rocks… I just really love rocks?!
LF: What is Live FAST to you?
CL: It feels like I’ve lived many lives… I’ve always been the type who drops everything and moves across the country with one bag to my name to chase an opportunity. In fact, I’ve done that twice. Despite whatever outcome, I followed my heart to feed my passion. It’s important not to be careless, but don’t be afraid to take risks.