Lily Kelso

Lily Kelso

Laguna Beach, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2020

Laguna Beach, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2020
Solo Alternative Indie




"Lily Kelso on "Details" and Balancing Study With Songwriting"

After a brief period of stagnation in the latter half of the past decade, indie rock is in a particularly healthy place right now, due in large part to the success of female artists. While they haven’t crossed over in terms of radio hits, artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Mitski have captured the hearts and minds of a younger, more diverse audience that recognizes good songwriting even if they haven’t listened to Band of Horses. Songwriters like Julien Baker and Adrienne Lenker are responsible for some of the most acclaimed albums of the past five years. And Taylor Swift’s National-assisted turn towards indie folk solidified her reputation as one of the most successful artists of our time.
Into this scene enters Lily Kelso, a nineteen year old from Laguna Beach currently studying at the Berklee College of Music. She’s an indie rock songwriter, and her latest song, “DETAILS,” marks the arrival of a young talent to watch. Boasting a rich guitar sound and a rhythm section that provides excellent forward momentum, Kelso sings in a warm, husky voice that feels refreshingly unaffected. As Kelso explains in the following interview, it’s a song about her family and her decision to go to Berklee, and as she reassures them that there’s “no place like home,” the song feels sweet and comforting to match. - Joe Hoeffner

"Lily Kelso "The Car""

It is pretty rare that we fall in love with a song as soon as we press play, but it’s not every day that Lily Kelso releases new music. And people, when you press play on “The Car,” it already sounds like your favorite new song.

“The Car” fades in ever so poetically in its first eleven seconds that by the time it gets to the twelfth, you already know that you are in for quite the epically sonic experience. Kelso has just enough Maggie Rogers in her vocal that the song already sounds like home, but she is also not afraid to take production risks that we have yet to hear anywhere else.

Just when you acclimate to the endlessly reverberating vibe of the first verse, Kelso switches gears and it is unbelievably captivating– with a bass groove that will definitely test your neck muscles as your head practically bobs itself from atop your shoulders. The vocal harmonies here are alluring as all hell and you might find yourself trying to decide where this song fits as far as genres are concerned. To that, all we can say is that there’s a bit of everything in here, especially when the dark and dirty guitar solo slaps you upside your eardrums, but the star of the show is definitely Kelso’s fantastic voice.

If all of that is not enough, Kelso wrote “The Car” based upon some memories she’s shared with her brother, so peep this sentiment: “This is an original song dedicated to my little brother. He has always been an athlete, and there was a period during high school where I drove him to and from school and it would be just the two of us after sports practices. That time we spent listening to music, telling stories, and sibling bonding was foundational in our relationship, and I wanted to commemorate it by dedicating this song to him.”

Songwriting, talent, and a heart of gold? We have just found one of our new favorite artists. - UpToHear Music

"Lily Kelso Visits Sction 36 Music"

Section 36 Music has another visitor! Lily Kelso is an incredible singer whose recent single "The Car" is one you won't want to miss. I was flattered that she wanted to visit with us and discuss her music, future goals, and more. I’m sure you’ll enjoy everything she has to say.

So, let's see what happens when Lily Kelso visits Section 36 Music!

Your recent single “The Car” is simply outstanding. What can you tell me about it?

Thank you, it was a fun one to make. I had much help from my amazing producer/engineer John Velasquez and The Gromble's Spencer Askin in Los Angeles. They are both fantastic at what they do, and are two of the people who inspire me to pursue music as a career. I wrote the lyrics of "The Car" to commemorate the time my little brother and I spent in our family's old mini van during high school. Being the first to drive out of three siblings, I was the school pickup committee.The inside jokes, deep conversations, and overall sibling bonding that came out of our daily commutes is foundational in my relationships with my brothers, especially my younger one Peter who is a long time athlete (hence "jersey three sizes too big"). I deeply enjoy writing songs as though I'm leaving time capsules for my future self, and "The Car" is exactly that.

Do you have more music on the horizon?

Yes! "The Car" is the first single from a six song EP to be released mid June. The other two singles "Six Seasons," and "SIRENS" will be coming down the hatch shortly and more information about them will be on my Instagram in the coming weeks.

You are currently attending Berklee College of Music. What’s the biggest thing Berklee has done for your career?

The biggest thing Berklee has done in my career is allow me to use world-class Music Production and Engineering facilities with other members of the up-and-coming music industry. Getting to learn alongside my peers and being forced to rely on each other's skills in collaborative projects is an experience I am continually thankful for. It has made me a much better and stronger musician. As someone who is delving into many different areas of music (songwriting, producing, engineering, etc.) it is so exciting to build connections with my future colleagues and draw on their unique, high-level understandings of what goes into making great records.

Who or what would you consider your biggest musical influences?

Ah, this is a difficult one. Some of my longtime favorites include Joni Mitchell, The Cranberries, Hozier, Elliott Smith, Taylor John Williams, and Bon Iver. Other more recent highlights are Phoebe Bridgers, Flyte, Dawes, and Andy Shauf (whose new album "Norm" has been on repeat in my kitchen for weeks!).

What would you say is your biggest career challenge?

At the moment my biggest career challenge is multitasking. I love music school but it often makes me feel like a kid in a candy store, and making the time for original releases, school projects, as well as a burgeoning freelance engineering and production career can be all consuming. This variety is a deep-seated value of mine, but there is definitely a balance to strike between "the spice of life" and having clear priorities.

What are your immediate career goals?

My immediate goals are to continue making and performing my own music, and to get as much experience as I can producing and engineering for others. Having experienced the process of my own music going from idea to reality, I look forward to helping others do the same, and the thrill of performing will never get old.

Hard to argue with that!

As always, I want to thank Lily for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to accompany the interview.

I'm sure you’ll all want to follow along with her to see what she's up to. I would definitely follow her on Instagram, and/or Spotify. In fact, go do both right now!

Thanks again Lily, and good luck reaching your goals! - Section 36 Music



Lily Kelso is an indie alternative singer-songwriter from Laguna Beach, California. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Elliot Smith, Phoebe Bridgers, The Cranberries, Bon Iver, and Hozier, she uses writing as a sort of "time capsule," to remember the highs and lows of life and growing up by. Navigating relationships, religion, self-worth, and finding one's place in the world are just a few pieces of life she seeks to capture musically. Her sophomore EP "From The Interstate" is available now on all platforms. 

Band Members