Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Kelsey Magnuson

Photo courtesy of Tell Your Friends PR.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

From Olympia-by-way-of-Nebraska and the outliers of total obscurity to your personal playlist, indie-folk singer-songwriter Kelsey Magnuson has made a splash with previous singles “Beep Beep,” “Anna’s Song” and “Faking It,” a fair preview of her very-soon-to-come debut LP ‘Don’t Budge.’

Recorded largely at bassist Robin Caromosino’s analog home studio and out Nov. 2 via Earth Libraries, ‘Don’t Budge’ looks to showcase a modern-day femme rock barrage of raw emotion, melody and twangy prowess, akin to her inspirations – Courtney Barnett, Julie Doiron (Eric’s Trip) and Haley Hendrickx, to name a few.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to chat with Magnuson ahead of the release of ‘Don’t Budge,’ which you can check out below, along with our exclusive premiere of her new video for “Coulda Made Out.”

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? 

Kelsey Magnuson – Constantly listening to femme indie musicians like Julie Doiron, Diane Cluck and Adrienne Lenker, but currently going through a country phase and have become obsessed with the compilation record by Mashed Potato Records Vol. I, as well as doing a deep dive into Taylor Swift fandom for an upcoming Halloween cover show I’ll be performing in. 

Music Bugle – What do you enjoy the most about your style of music? 

Kelsey Magnuson – I’m very much tied to the lyrical side of my music. Although I feel it can be the most overwhelming and challenging portion, I’m always very invested and interested in the ways words sound together and the act of conveying emotion through melodic accompaniment.

Music Bugle – How would you sum up your latest material? 

Kelsey Magnuson – ‘Don’t Budge’ has been in the works for a long time and since finalizing the recordings for the album, I’ll say that the new material we’ve been working on since is definitely a bit different. My writing feels a little less sad girl and I’ve been focusing more on writing diverse guitar parts and mood shifts throughout one song.

Music Bugle – What makes you the most proud about where you come from? 

Kelsey Magnuson – I think having a hometown in the midwest and then moving out, I have gained a lot of fierce pride and allegiance to being raised in Nebraska. There’s a lot of amazing music coming out of Omaha currently and I have an ever persistent love for the plains and the small towns in this country that go seemingly overlooked, but my pride definitely comes out of a stubbornness and loyalty that is based in something undefinable.

Music Bugle – What were some challenges that you came across while putting together ‘Don’t Budge’? 

Kelsey Magnuson – All in all, the recording process of ‘Don’t Budge’ went so smoothly! My friend and bassist in my band, Robin Caromosino is super talented and really has their home recording process down pat. I think the hardest parts or challenges were just in the process of what to do after recording and mixing. This being our first full album release, the process of finding a label that we wanted to put it out on and working towards getting some more traction has been the hardest part. 

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep going? 

Kelsey Magnuson – A motto that one of my pals on tour told me to tell myself when I was feeling down – and that I quickly adopted was, “I chose to be here.” Whenever a show wasn’t exactly what we expected or tensions were high on the road, I think it somehow helped to put things in perspective that this is what I wanted and chose for myself. Simple, yet effective.

Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians? 

Kelsey Magnuson – Social media is a whole bag of things and I doubt I will be able to answer this question definitively. I struggle with social media – Instagram in particular – and the ways in which we as artists of all mediums are put in a position of marketing ourselves and creating content that aligns with elusive algorithms. Obviously, it has done me some good to be able to reach communities of artists that I wouldn’t otherwise, but still struggle with my own personal relationship to it and the ways it can take priority over actual artistic creation.

Music Bugle – What’s one movie you can watch over and over again and never get tired of? 

Kelsey Magnuson – What a hard question… I used to nostalgically say “Sixth Sense.” Don’t ask me why, but I had it on VHS as a kid and it was a classic for me. Otherwise, in recent history, I would say the newest Joaquin Phoenix movie “Cmon Cmon” is one of my absolute favorite movies to come out in the past few years. I cried, I laughed.

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break? 

Kelsey Magnuson – Now, living in Washington, I love to take trips up to the peninsula towards the coast. There’s a small cabin there that I get to escape to that is right on a cliffside that overlooks the ocean. Super surreal beautiful place I get to spend time and take a break from Olympia. 

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