Updated: Mar 6

equality factor: self-love encouraging rock anthems

producer: Chris Greatti, Michael Morgan, Rob Persaud, Tim Randolph & Zakk Cervini

label: BMG Rights Management

Today marks the arrival of a rock star on the rise Kelsy Karter's first studio album "Missing Person". On twelve tracks filled to the brink with attitude, pain, glory, and bravery, the 29 -year-old Auckland-born artist adds grunge and rock vibes to the age of the Instagram baddie.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Rock music in the age of urban

Be it her Spotify bio, her fake face tattoo of Harry Styles going viral in January 2019, or her comic book-inspired debut album cover - Kelsy Karter always comes in with a bang. Her aesthetics of partially bleached hair, a daring pout, and frequent showcasing of butterfly knives might be comparable to the grunge-inspired corner of TikTok and Instagram influencers, but she sounds nothing like Madison Beer or Olivia O'Brien.

"If Angelina Jolie and Mick Jagger had a one night stand, you'd get me."

Reminiscing of early Avril Lavigne releases with gospel and rock & roll influences and Sia-esque vocals, on "Missing Person", Kelsy Karter marries her inner demons to her proudest moments. The result is an empowering mix of blood, sweat, tears, heavy guitar riffs, and sing-along choruses.

Marrying grunge to Instagram aesthetics

In an Instagram post from mid-September, Kelsy Karter explains what she wants listeners to feel when listening to her music: "completely vulnerable but a total badass at the same time". With her debut album, she does exactly that. Be it with scream-along empowering lyrics about being true to yourself ("Stick To Your Guns") or a heartfelt musical apology letter ("God Knows I've Tried"), the self-proclaimed part-time villain and rebel girl speak to all those that give up on fitting in and find themselves along the way.

Musically, "Missing Person" brings an electrifying breeze to the age of edge-less pop music dominated by the algorithm. Kelsy's love for rock music goes beyond her outward aesthetics, beyond wearing an old band shirt and dress to impress. She effortlessly blends modern vocal techniques with 90s grunge and classic rock ballads à la Aerosmith. Her lyrics go beyond sounding catchy, at times even resembling poetry (check out "Int - Coffee Shop" Next Morning"). All in all, her ability to meet the digital zeitgeist and still stick to her grunge and rock roots makes Kelsy Karter one to watch, look up to, and play on repeat.

"I’m Kelsy Karter and I make rock music in time when urban music dominates. I’m Kelsy Karter and I prefer to wear boys clothes over dresses. I’m Kelsy Karter and I want a woman for president."

Kelsy Karter is unfiltered feminine power. She does not play by the rules, she makes her own. With her keeping-it-real attitude and self-love through admitting her flaws, she embodies what it means to be a young empowered woman in the 21st century. Her songs - and herself - are not suited for those who seek sugar, spice, and everything nice. They are for womxn who cry, scream, fail, fly and fall - and look damn good doing it.