We asked several local musicians about their most horrific dating stories, and Astra Kelly shared this account of the time she used a dating app to arrange meeting a guy for the first time for happy hour drinks. “He’d found my music beforehand - not hard - and showed up quite a bit googly eyed about it.” She says she “didn’t really think much of it” when the guy insisted on attending her gig later that night.
“When he gets there, he immediately strikes up a conversation with a woman at the bar. I take a break, chat with everyone, chat with them. They were talking business at that point. During the next set - and they are literally right in front of me, so it’s super tough to ignore - I see the flirting sink in. She moves her chair closer and closer. They exchange numbers and, just as I’m taking my next break, they get up and start to sneak off, like they’re trying to avoid me. They had to walk by me to get out.”
“Worst part though? He comes back in about 20 minutes. Gets a fresh beer, pulls up a chair right in front of me, and just sits there staring me down with a little sideways smile on his face. It honestly felt like I was being energetically sexually assaulted. I managed to make it through two songs, and then I called him over and said quietly in his ear ‘Dude, you’re creeping me out. You mind taking a seat over there?’ He said, ‘Oh, I’m just gonna finish my beer and go’…I just play a couple more songs while he sits there looking at his cell phone and finally leaves.”
Astra Kelly, "The Less I Have (Freedom)"
The first single from Kelly's ninth independent record release
“The staff got a good laugh at the end of the night. I was scared to walk out to my car, so I did actually get to have my own security detail for a change.”
Kelly just returned from this year’s AmericanaFest in Nashville, as a regular attendee instead of a performing guest (“So much fun to get to hear other folks for a change”), and she’s also been doing prison songwriting workshops with Jail Guitar Doors USA. Named after a Clash song, the non-profit organization, co-founded by rockers Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer, provides musical instruments and opportunities to help rehabilitate prisoners.
“California is definitely a stomping ground for initiating these programs. The yard that we work on in Donovan [State Prison] is also somewhat of an experiment…personally, I seem to be moving into a more altruistic approach to my music as I mature. So this kind of work is really exciting to me and gives me a powerful outlet to make a difference, and practice my metaphysical skills as well.”