Kelsey Mira Bio:
Kelsey Mira just wants music she can dance to. “Often, I’ll hear a song and think, man, I wish this were upbeat and I could dance to it,” says the 21-year-old Cincinnati native. “So I started fooling around with it, and realized, I can write this—I’ve been listening to it my whole life!” From Michael Jackson to Usher to Lady Gaga, Mira has been a lifelong follower of pop, and now, she’s forging her own path to stardom with her highly danceable, utterly youthful brand of original modern pop.
The songstress began writing music at a very young age, for a very unusual reason. Due to swelling of the brain caused by a bout of bacterial meningitis at age 7, Kelsey suffered short-term memory loss which left her frequently unable to remember her teacher’s name, her bus stop, or what she did in school that day. When Kelsey’s doctors recommended using music as a way to forge new pathways to memory, she began setting anything she needed to remember—from math equations to directions—to jingles. While music helped Kelsey to re-develop her memory, she soon discovered that in return, the unique workings of her brain allowed her to excel in music and languages, including the ability to write and sing music in French and Italian.
Kelsey began writing in earnest at the age of 10, combining elements of pop and jazz to create original music on her own, while exploring Broadway and classical styles in formal voice training. Throughout high school and college at Xavier University, where she studied vocal performance on full scholarship, Kelsey cultivated her musical versatility, singing in choirs and musicals, entertaining weekend diners at a local Italian café with her repertoire of operatic arias, playing acoustic pop originals for appreciative coffee house crowds, singing the National Anthem at sporting events and performing popular oldies and jazz tunes with Cincinnati’s 7-piece Metro City All-Stars.
Not only is Kelsey a seasoned performer, she loves to record and is fully hands-on with the production process. While in high school, she recorded an album of pop/jazz originals locally, and came to be so well versed on the equipment that she sometimes ran sessions herself—running breathlessly from the control room to the tracking room to sing. Kelsey has installed a home studio in her bedroom, where often she’ll write a song, arrange it and record a demo in the space of just one day. Such recordings caught the ear of Bud Reneau (an accomplished songwriter whose credits include cuts by Dolly Parton, Gladys Knight, and Etta James), who offered to professionally produce an album for Mira in Shannon Forrest’s Nashville studio. Utilizing Kelsey’s demos as blueprints, Reneau fleshed out Mira’s original compositions with a quartet of world class session players. “I thought, this is easy,” Kelsey laughs, “because all I had to do was sing.”
The eight resulting tracks are infused with a commercially modern, youthful energy that begs a listener to dance along, with driving beats balanced by a sophisticated musicality. Kelsey’s classical training and grounding in music theory have clearly informed her pop sensibility, as moments of baroque-inspired strings and elements of classical piano temper the album’s frenzied pace. Yet always, it’s pop that rises buoyantly to the top of the mix, and pop is where Kelsey’s attention is focused as she pursues her long-held ambitions. “Music was something I always wanted to do,” Kelsey says. “Ever since I started writing, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”