February 24, 2012 10:13:00 PM
At first glance, Kelsey Collins appears to be an average teenager, awash in a sea of Aéropostale clothing and preoccupied with texting on her iPhone. But when she sings, whether it be a song of her own or a cover of a Lynyrd Skynrd song, it is clear that she is in a league of her own.
Collins, 17, is a senior at Caledonia High School where she maintains an "A" and "B" average. She recently ventured to Nashville where she recorded her self-titled debut album -- a mix of original material and a cover song or two.
A protege of the late Ean Evans, Collins has found time between studying and other normal teenage activities to create a large body of songs, and she is a regular in the Columbus music scene, playing gigs at the Riverwalk and in local coffee houses.
How did you get interested in singing and writing your own songs?
I've always enjoyed singing. My Grannie had a grocery store in Caledonia and I would always hang out there,and I would get bored, so I started writing stories and songs. Most of my songs are stories.
What are some of your influences?
I like Nirvana, I like Regina Spektor and The Who and Bright Eyes. I like how Nirvana had a dark sound and how you had to really pay attention to the lyrics.
How did you come to know Ean Evans?
I started taking guitar lessons when I was 13. I took them from Dennis McKay, and Dennis knew Ean. I wanted to do some recording, and Dennis said Ean had a good studio, so I met Ean and we started recording some cover songs. Eventually, I started writing my own music, and he started helping me with my writing. He was a father figure to me. He didn't seem like a famous person at all. He was very down-to-earth.
What was it like recording in Nashville?
We were there for two days. The band rehearsed for the first day and then I came in and recorded the vocals. It was a lot of fun.
Are you hoping to get a recording contract and release the album?
I don't know -- maybe. We just wanted to have something we can give to people when I play local shows. I just want to get my songs out there.
You auditioned for "American Idol?"
No, I tried out for "America's Got Talent" and "The X Factor." I didn't make the final cut, but it was a good experience. It was good to get some feedback and criticism from someone besides my Grannie, who has to say I'm good.
What are your future plans?
Well, I don't really know. I'm a senior in high school, and I plan to go to (Itawamba Community College) next year. I'm not sure how far I want to go with music.
2. Deputy shot, suspect dead after car chase COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Little: Aldermen 'overreach' in handling officer incident STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
4. Perception and reality: Downtown business owners grapple with fallout from shooting COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY