Windsor, Ontario country singer Kelsi Mayne is out to capture a country crown. She’s been selected as one of the top three singers in a competition called SirusXM Top of The Country, to battle head-to-head in a live competition to get crowned Canada’s next big country star, win a prize of $25,000 and get a trip to an international songwriting camp.
She will take on Quebec’s Matt Lang and Winnipeg’s Tim and The Glory Boys.
Kelsi was so excited, she checked in with 519 to chat about the competition and her winning song About Time.
What does the competition mean to you?
Well the fact that I’m the only completely independent artist selected means that I’m doing something right. So it’s pretty game changing as far as getting my name out there and kind of putting me in the big leagues which is obviously the goal, right?
As a song writer you must be really looking forward to that trip to Nashville for songwriting camp, that’s part of the contest?
Well I do that anyways, but for them to arrange that for me, that is a godsend in itself. Then there is a week mentorship in Toronto, so that again, I went to school for nursing so everything that I’ve done I’ve had to teach myself along the way, so I just try to absorb as much as I can from people I meet. So that is extremely valuable, and then we get to perform at the CCMA’s, there’s a showcase that’s here and that’s where they determine the winner. That’s in Calgary, so I don’t think I would have been able to afford to go by myself if I didn’t make the finals, so it’s a true godsend to make the finals. It’s unbelievable.
I know you write your own songs, which is a bit of an oddity in country music. Is writing something that you like to do?
I love writing and I love writing for other people, I think almost more sometimes. I think it’s just when you have an idea for someone else… I don’t know how to put it, but it’s like giving a gift, you know? You want to give more than you receive. So to me, I love writing for guys especially because I’m a girl and I know what I want to hear.
Tell me about your song About Time and how it came about?
That was actually a concept that I was thinking of for a long time, and I was waiting to get the right co writers in the room to write it with me. I trusted two of my favorite co-writers in Nashville with it, and they loved the idea and just went along, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out.
Basically I always thought of time as a currency, so you can spend it, you can waste it, and it’s just so valuable. You can trade it, it’s like a currency because it is so valuable and I wanted to really get that message across because I think we sometimes forget to spend time with the people that we love. I think the most valuable thing you can give to someone is just your time.
Were you worried about being around all those rocking tracks that this song might have gotten lost in the competition?
I was so worried. I had so many sleepless nights over it and whether or not it was the right song. But I just ended up going with my gut, because I figured at the end of the day it’s an artist contest so if it’s not a song that I wrote that I really stand behind and it doesn’t really show my artistry, so I just felt like because the meaning of the song connects so much with me and it’s what I truly believe, I felt like that would show through in my performance. So I just went with my gut and I went with that.
Was it a bit of a dream come true being up there on the Boot and Hearts main stage last year?
It was a real circle moment because when I first moved to Toronto to just do music, I had this billboard outside of my window and it was Boots and Hearts and Miranda Lambert was performing that year, and it was like staring me down in the face. So every morning I’d wake up to it and every night I’d fall asleep to it, so I really, really wanted to go but I couldn’t afford it.
So I promised myself that I would only go if I get to perform. So then two years later we were in the emerging artists showcase and then this last year we were on the main stage, and now this year because we’re in the finals we also get to play the Sirius XM stage at Boots & Hearts, and Miranda’s performing again this year, so it’s a complete circle for me.