“My music sounds like Joanna Newsom meets Wilco meets Gershwin meets Rilo Kiley,” says Kelsea Little, who first earned widespread attention in 2006 with local teen-trio the Wrong Trousers. Their acoustic performance of the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” at Balboa Park went viral, gathering over 600,000 YouTube views.
Little is a multi-instrumentalist, mainly known as a harpist and singer. “The album title [Personal Myth] is basically a term I’ve coined for the way I experience the world, a projection of a persona, befitting for different times and places. But, after awhile, I lose sight of where my real self begins and the fabricated one ends, so in a sense I become mythic to myself. Personal myth.”
Recorded at local Cabana Recording Studio with Anthony “Twon” Ridenhour and David Miano, two singles will be released with non-album B-sides “Us Stew” and “Debacle.” Wrong Trousers bassist Mack Leighton plays on four of the tracks.
“On the album,” says Little, “I play concert harp, piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, main vocals, backup vocals, various kitchen tools, and maybe a few other things. On electric bass we had James Albers and on string bass Mack Leighton. Wyatt Stone played electric and acoustic guitar, pedal steel, mandolin, and backup vocals. José Guerrero played kick-ass drums, Sean Burdeaux [Paper Forest] played electric guitar and backup vocals, and Tasha Locke played four different-sized saxophones.”
Little’s debut solo full-length drops Saturday, December 3, with a release party at Lestat’s.
WHAT CDS ARE IN YOUR CAR PLAYER?
1) Broni, To Get Her Together. “I met Broni, an Australian musician, at a birthday show a few weeks ago. I’d always heard everyone in the music scene talk about him, and we finally met and he gave me his CD. I love it!”
2) Kerouac: Kicks Joy Darkness. “I’ve been infatuated with beat literature for years, and my fellow beat-lover Chris Bopp got me this album for my birthday. It’s a bunch of different people and musicians reading or singing Jack Kerouac’s work, and it’s brilliant.”
3) Bon Iver, self-titled. “This is on repeat because it’s one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.”
CD YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“I don’t know if Phil Collins counts as embarrassing, but I love that man.”
WHERE DO YOU HANG OUT?
“Balboa Park, especially on free-museum Tuesdays.”
FAVORITE SOLO MUSICIAN?
“I used to go to Largo in L.A. all the time when it was still on Fairfax, and Jon Brion was a big mainstay there. He uses multiple-loop pedals and plays every instrument, so he’ll start out on piano and move to drums, then bass, then guitar, and then, 20 minutes after this amazing buildup, he starts singing — and your socks are just knocked clean off.”
YOUR BEST CONCERT?
“When the Wrong Trousers played at the FM 94/9 Independence Jam, it was so thrilling to be a part of a festival. I pretended it was Coachella, which it is my ultimate goal to play, and the crowd was extremely supportive. They even had us sign things and take pictures after, and our stuff was at the merch booth. A real live merch booth!”
MOST DIFFICULT SONG TO COVER ON THE HARP?
“Anything with a lot of key changes. With the pedal harp, you make your sharps and flats by moving one through seven of the foot pedals up or down. So, say I was covering ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ which I’ve been working on, my feet are working more than my hands.”
ANY FEARS OR PHOBIAS?
“I get a little nervous from time to time about natural disasters, especially after I took an entire educational course on the geography of California, which is in the ‘We’re all going to perish in a giant earthquake pretty soon’ class.”
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Zooey Deschanel, of course. I love her!”
EVER BEEN A CRIME VICTIM?
“I had my cell phone, Ray-Bans, and an iPod stolen out of my purse at UCSD. I took it as a sign from the universe that I don’t need expensive things. I like to look on the bright side.”
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS?
“I usually take them to one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants around town, either Veg-N-Out in North Park or Jyoti-Bihanga in Normal Heights.”
ANY CELEBRITY ENCOUNTERS TO SHARE?
“I was standing in the tiny backstage of the Steve Allen Theater [Los Angeles}, the door swung open and hit me, and, lo and behold, it was Fred Armisen of Saturday Night Live and his then-girlfriend, Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men. I didn’t freak out or anything, but it definitely took me by surprise.”
SONG THAT BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
“‘In California,’ by Joanna Newsom, especially these lyrics: ‘I don’t belong to anyone/ My heart is heavy as an oil drum/ And I don’t want to be alone/ My heart is yellow as an ear of corn/ Some nights, I just never go to sleep at all.’”
THREE THINGS WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
1) “My actual hair color is blond, and I hate it.”
2) “I did competitive comedy in high school.”
3) “I’m addicted to solo road trips.” ■