Footballer Chelcee writes pop songs for stars

By: bbc
Chelcee
Chelcee

SINGER-songwriter Chelcee Grimes, 26, is arguably the most well-connected debut artist featured by Music News LIVE.

She has a little black book which would make Nile Rodgers blush, having written songs for the likes of Dua Lipa, The Saturdays, Olly Murs, X Factor winner Louisa Johnson, Steps' Claire Richards and Kylie Minogue.

Which makes it slightly less awkward that during Chelcee's slot busking at Kings Cross station in London for BBC Music Day, her performance was almost continually interrupted by station announcements recorded by the Australian pop singer.

"It was a bit strange hearing Kylie say, 'Do the locomotion' at some points in the song but I'm a professional and me and Kylie go way back."

It's not an idle boast, her song Million Miles was featured on Kylie's 2014 album Kiss Me Once.

"I'd done the ground work, I was signed first, got dropped and then went away and started trying to write for people."

First signed at the age of 18, she was dropped without even releasing a single. "I was making a horrible album," she says.

"When it happened, it's the worst feeling in the world, it was my first heartbreak. You think, 'I'm signed, I've made it' and then six months later, without putting out a song, I was dropped.

"But Katy Perry got dropped three times, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars got dropped... it became a thread, almost like a rite of passage."

It was during a writing session in Copenhagen with Danish pop producer Cutfather that Chelcee was asked to write a song for Kylie.

"I wrote it in 10 minutes and they sent it to her that night and she was recording it the next morning. I think it was a bit of beginners luck really."

If that sounds overly self-effacing, here's the real kicker - Chelcee isn't even a songwriter by nature.

"I'm a footballer, that's what I did first and what I've come back to now, I played for Liverpool ladies from the age of 10 to 17 (she now plays for Fulham Ladies), I was going to be a footballer and then I took music at GCSE and I fell in love with it."

Football's loss is music's gain... sort of.

"People ask me what do I love and the honest answer is both the same, that's why I do both right now with very little me time.

"I guess there will be a moment when I do have to choose but until then I'm enjoying both."

Chelcee's songwriting credits extend beyond the UK, In South Korea, she co-wrote K-Pop star Taeyeon‘s 11:11, which topped the chart with 10 million streams in one week.

It's the one song which got away.

"I'd been suffering real writer's block," she explains, "but I sat with my guitar and wrote it and it went on to be massive.

"Maybe I'll record a cover of my own song," she laughs.

Earlier this summer, Chelcee released her debut single Just Like That and followed it up with I Need A Night Out.

"It's very self explanatory really," she says. "I was going through a bad time last year, my first romantic heartbreak.

"Even though it sounds like a happy pop record, the lyrics were very sad. I need a night out wasn't about going out and letting your hair down, it was about escaping from reality and how I was feeling.

"That's the great thing about music, I remember how sad I was when I wrote it and now when I sing it, people smile."

Chelcee reveals she has another song she has written with Ed Sheeran which she hopes will make her album, which could come out next year, and she has not one but three songs on Dua Lipa's next record.

"I knew Dua when she first got got signed," she says. "She had like 300 followers and no-one knew her.

"Now she has got like 19 million... it's so inspiring that your life can change with one or two songs."