Singer-songwriter Kelsey Lamb grew up in a family of singers; it came natural to her. “I have five siblings so there’s six of us all together, my mom put us all in choir, we can all sing. So I’ve basically been surrounded by singing my whole life. And harmonizing,” she tells The Nash News. After performing in church, listening to Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, and Avril Lavigne, she knew music was the path for her at the age of 14; she made the move to Nashville around six years ago.
Lamb’s been releasing original songs since 2016. Her latest track, “Me & the Bar” came out this past January. Lamb wrote the track with co-writers Brandy Neely and Chealsea Summers in the thick of the Coronavirus pandemic and it only took them about an hour and a half to complete it. The “bar” that she sings about in the storyline acts as a metaphorical place for anyone who listens. “I’ve always had a spot back home that feels really safe, it’s not necessarily a bar, but the bar can be whatever it is for you,” she exclaims. “So I fell in love with the song after I listened to it a couple of times. I was like, ‘This is my story. This is so cool.’ It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve released.”
Lamb’s latest musical venture is the brand new reality TV show titled American Song Contest in which artists from each of the 50 states compete against each other. The idea is derived from the yearly Eurovision Song Contest where groups like ABBA and the recently viral Måneskin got their start. The contest is regarded as a songwriting competition and is organized by the European Broadcasting Union. Typically, each European country submits a song/group to represent themselves.
The idea is now coming to the US where each competitor will represent their state; Lamb is the representative for Arkansas. “It’s an honor because I know that there’s so much talent that comes out of Arkansas. It feels really good to be the one to be chosen,” she shares. “And also kind of terrifying.”
Lamb spoke on the process of getting involved explaining, “Like all of the other singing competitions, it started out with the audition process and the waiting game of not knowing and honestly forgetting that you even auditioned ‘cause it had been so long.” Much of the audition process was over Zoom due to complications from the pandemic. Lamb found out in November of 2021 that she had made it through all of the steps successfully and has kept it a secret ever since.
She continues to speak on what sets this specific show apart from its counterparts like American Idol and The Voice stating, “The really cool thing about this show that drew me to it more than any other singing competition, is it’s all original music. Everybody had to submit original songs that nobody’s ever heard before and that’s how we got chosen which I felt really good about. We move to Nashville and we become songwriters and we do the whole thing and then we feel if we go on a singing show, that that kind of gets pushed to the side.” Lamb's first song for the show is titled "Never Like This."
Season one of American Song Contest will be hosted by beloved artists Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg. Because it’s the first of its kind, it’ll be interesting to see how critics and the general public will react. The original music aspect certainly makes it stand out on its own and that’s what Lamb is most excited for audiences to see. “It’s gonna be different than what people are used to seeing on singing competitions because usually there are cover songs and that honestly, I think, kind of pulls people in because they know the songs,” she tells us. “So I think it’ll be really cool for viewers to see all the different genres that are coming together and all the different states that they’re representing. It’ll be a really great way for America to get to know America through music.”
American Song Contest made its premiere last night and will be aired Monday nights on NBC and the streaming service Peacock.
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