I first saw Chelsey Green perform at Jazz on Jackson Place at the historic Decatur House, steps away from the White House. I expected a good show. I had no idea I would be on my feet jamming - - Ms. Green really rocks!
A Houston native and former Artist-In-Residence at The Music Center at Strathmore, the classically trained Green is an acoustic violin and viola virtuoso. Green says “I love to play songs that I enjoy listening to and songs that get you moving.” Chelsey Green and The Green Project have an upcoming set at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club on Saturday, July 19, 2014. Still Green: The EP is her debut CD featuring original music.
Green and I met for coffee and a chat in Silver Spring, MD. She gave me insights into her life, how she takes care of business, composing, giving back, and her upcoming recording.
Green began performing at the tender age of 5. She has played at prestigious landmarks around the globe, such as Carnegie Hall, performed on stage alongside legends, such as Roberta Flack, and mentored by one of her musical heroes, Yo-Yo Ma. But musical success all began with her family. “My musical family influenced me greatly . . . the various genres and different ensembles I heard growing up is the whole reason I can't fit into a genre now.”
Success requires hard work and Green confides, “What challenges don’t I face as a woman in this business? It can get tough, I'm just being honest. Getting respect can be challenging on all fronts as a musician, as a business owner, as a contractor, as a negotiator, etc. People feel they can take advantage of you and if you put your foot down in any way, some will call you all types of "colorful" names. You have to remember why you do what you do. You have to focus on the good and let the good drive you, because if all you think about is the challenges, you won't go anywhere. You have to believe in yourself and believe in your artistry. God always makes a way out of the challenges."
Our conversation shifted to the creative process and Green told me that for her, inspirations come in many forms, “Visual art, choreographed dance, song, poetry, novels, probing conversations, nature, things that are unnatural, and comfortable and uncomfortable situations. I literally get inspiration from everything. Once while performing in a department store, someone walked through the exit and tripped the sensor. We even incorporated the beeping noise in the song we were playing at that exact moment.”
Green benefitted from the help of others along her musical journey and eagerly gives back to her community, teaching violin and viola. “The Green Project has a non-profit leg that does educational outreach by way of in-school master classes and performance workshops designed to get students and adults alike excited about live music and the versatility of the violin.”
Anyone who spends time with Green knows she is thrilled about her upcoming studio recording. She shares, “Yes, the record is almost done! The name is secret right now, but will be revealed soon! Actually everyone that is signed up on my e-mail list is going to get an exclusive first preview very soon. The record will be a blend of funk, soul, r&b, jazz, gospel, and more! There is something for every one. I think every single song is my favorite song on the record.”
Green goes on to reveal, “My work is absolutely a blessing and that I thank the Lord for every single day!” “My prayer is that God allows me to continue to grow and develop The Green Project in ways that I can't even imagine and that our music may touch hearts around the world.”