Chelsea Cutler’s Tumblr Era Paved The Way For Her Headlining Tour

The singer was raised on Bruce Springsteen concerts and The 1975’s experimental debut.

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In Elite Daily’s series Early Influences, musicians reflect on the songs and albums that left a lasting impression on them in their formative teen years. Here, singer-songwriter Chelsea Cutler talks about her upcoming The Beauty Is Everywhere tour, working with Noah Kahan, and Matty Healy’s impact.

Despite being thrown into piano lessons as a toddler, and growing up surrounded by the music of artists like John Mayer, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan in her Westport, Connecticut, home, a successful music career wasn’t always the goal for Chelsea Cutler. “When you're 17 applying to colleges, everyone is pressuring you to go into a good school and study e-con or pre-law or poli-sci or something,” she tells Elite Daily. “No one is really like, ‘Hey, you should be a musician.’"

That is, until Cutler’s music started gaining traction on SoundCloud while she was a student at Amherst College in Massachusetts. By 2017, she had a viral hit with “Your Shirt,” a deal with Ultra Records, and a career big enough that she could drop out of school the following year to pursue music full-time.

Today, the 27-year-old is set to embark on a North American tour on Feb. 16, where she’ll be performing at a number of iconic venues, including the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles and Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Cutler has effectively made a name for herself with her signature brand for folk-infused pop. Her song “Your Bones” went viral on TikTok (before Universal Music Group removed its artists’ catalogs from the platform in early February), and she has collaborated with the likes of Jeremy Zucker, Quinn XCII, and Noah Kahan.

The latter partnership came about in 2020, after Cutler sent Kahan her song “Crazier Things” and asked him to write a verse. “He was so gracious and kind and awesome,” she says of Kahan. “I don't have to say it, but he's probably the most talented storyteller of our generation.”

Cutler may look to Kahan as an inspiration now, but growing up, it was all about three artists in particular. Below, she opens up about the musicians who shaped her approach to songwriting and production at a young age.

Bruce Springsteen

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Like many people, Cutler’s taste in music was influenced by her parents. Bruce Springsteen was a favorite in her family — her folks are from New Jersey, and her mom has been a ride-or-die since before he blew up — so it was only a matter of time before she was jamming to The Boss’s hearty vocals and rocking riffs, too.

“My mom's notorious line is that she was there the night that Bruce met his wife, Patti. Who knows the validity of it, but that's her claim to fame,” she laughs. “Bruce was just always in the household.”

Though Springsteen has a catalog of iconic songs to choose from, the rock star’s 2002 effort The Rising was “really formative” for Cutler because it served as the soundtrack for some of her earliest memories. In fact, the accompanying tour for that record marked her first concert experience when she was a toddler.

“I can sleep through any noise, and so I'd fall asleep at the concerts always, and I'd wake up and I missed ‘Mary's Place’ every single show,” she says. “He captures such a magic and that was introduced to me right away.”


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Cutler’s parents’ influence didn’t end with Springsteen. They also introduced her to Coldplay, which feels right in line with her family’s shared interest in immersive songwriting and melancholic music. “My parents couldn't be more vanilla,” she jokes.

While there’s plenty to love about Coldplay, it’s the universality of the band’s lyricism that Cutler admires the most. “I don't care what anyone says — Chris Martin's lyrics are the most purposefully vague that you can listen and just feel,” she says. “‘I will try to fix you.’ You could apply that to literally anything.”

It’s this all-inclusive approach to songwriting that helps her compose moody breakup songs, even though she’s been in a happy relationship with her partner Tilly for over five years. “Even if I'm not going through heartbreak at this current moment, I've experienced it before and I know what it feels like,” she explains. “I could still write a heartbreak song, and it's rooted in truth in some way.”

The 1975

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Like many people, Cutler’s high school era was defined by The 1975. After all, when the band released its debut self-titled album in 2013, “anyone trying to be cool” wanted to label themselves as a fan, the singer recalls. But it was Matty Healy’s singular songwriting style and unique syncopation skills that resonated with Cutler, not the clout that came with being a fan of the group.

“I fell truly, truly in love with songwriting and production and composition through listening to The 1975's first album,” she says. “I always loved making music, but I never felt so intellectually stimulated by a band or by art before them.”

There’s a chance Cutler wouldn’t even be making music if it weren’t for The 1975, considering she credits the band for inspiring her to download Logic, a digital audio software, onto her computer. Fascinated by their use of loops, drones, and samples, Cutler would walk around banging her hands on tables to create the sound of a kick drum and “try all these weird things” with different vocal tracks.

“I think they've had the biggest influence on me all around, from how I want my songs to sound, to how I want to write music, how I want my tour stage production to look, and how I want the shows to feel,” Cutler says.

Of course, you can’t have a The 1975 phase without also having a Tumblr phase, so it’s no surprise that the platform served as a major creative outlet for Cutler during this period. “[Tumblr] was so important to me,” she recalls. “My Tumblr page looking good and having pictures of all these things I adored and wanted my life — it was just like a teenage mood board in a lot of ways.” Maybe having an outlet to envision her dream life helped manifest her success today.

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