Chelsey Kucera has found her voice as a mental-health advocate through her songs.
Kucera, a 25-year-old Arlington native who goes by Chelsey Ann on stage, is releasing a follow-up single to her 2020 self-titled EP on May 28.
The country song, titled “She is Brave,” is about Kucera’s lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression.
“I hope to help others feel less alone in their struggles when they hear this song,” said Kucera, who is an Arlington High School graduate. “I want my music to always be encouraging and uplifting.”
Along with the song release, Kucera is selling “She is Brave” T-shirts to benefit This is My Brave. Go to www.chelseyann.com for more information.
This is My Brave, which was recently featured on “The Today Show,” is a national organization that empowers those struggling with mental illness and addiction to share their stories of recovery on stage.
Since 2014, This Is My Brave has produced over 75 touring shows featuring nearly 875 storytellers sharing their stories of overcoming depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD, anorexia, bulimia, sexual assault, alcoholism, substance use disorder and more.
Kucera, who likens her sound to singer-songwriters Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile, played “She is Brave” for herself frequently in 2020. The song served as a personal reminder during her stay in rehab for mental illness in California.
“It was uplifting for me to sing it,” she said. “It was my mantra.”
Her mother, Shelly Larson, said she likes her daughter’s new song. But it also makes her sad.
“It’s emotional. It was a really hard time in her life and, of course, her song is about that,” said Larson, who is a school nurse at Eagle Creek Elementary in Arlington. “It’s a happy and a sad, just reliving some of those hard times with her until I could get her help.”
Larson admires her daughter’s commitment to her music.
“I would have never been able to handle that industry — you’re going to hear a million ‘no’s’ before you hear a ‘yes.’ ” Larson said. “It’s hard to hear all those no’s, so it can be a downer at times. But she just keeps going. She keeps aspiring to live out her dreams, which I think is amazing.”
A choir and theater kid at Arlington High School, Kucera has enjoyed singing and playing the guitar since she was 15. She dreamed of becoming the next Shania Twain. But she didn’t think she had what it takes to pursue a music career until about two years ago.
“I realized this is what I want to do and what’s going to make me happy, so why not go for it?” Kucera said. “I would regret it even more if I didn’t follow my dreams. I’m the one, at the end of the day, who has to live with my decisions.”
After signing with Seattle Talent, Kucera auditioned in 2019 with the International Modeling & Talent Association, which has helped launch the careers of actors such as Katie Holmes, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel and Eva Longoria.
Kucera earned recognition for her singing and songwriting talent at the New York convention. With the connections she made through IMTA, Kucera recorded an EP with the Ni Music Group. Ni stands for “Nothing’s Impossible.”
Her self-titled EP has five tracks: “Chase,” “Best Vibes,” “Too Late,” “Always Tomorrow” and “Daydream.”
Then the pandemic hit, along with a depressive episode. Kucera was filled with so much pain and grief that she tried to take her own life. Her mom found her just in time.
When she couldn’t find the right kind of rehabilitation close to home, Kucera moved to California. She found the help she needed a year ago at the Mental Health Collective in Newport Beach.
“That’s where I did a lot of self-discovery,” Kucera said, adding that music has served as a form of therapy through all of her ups and downs. “This whole new creative side of me came out, where I was able to write a bunch of songs. I finally felt like I had something to say, where I could help people.”
Larson noticed that Kucera’s resolve to be a musician strengthened when she wrote songs about her struggles with mental illness.
“With her music, she gets the word out there,” Larson said. “She’s opening up and letting them know that she has had mental health problems. Before she got treatment, she would have never done that. She got that (openness) from treatment.”
Kucera moved back home to Arlington for a time after COVID-19 hit — she lost her job and couldn’t afford her apartment — but she’s now living in Newport Beach again.
Expect more from Chelsey Ann. She said she plans to release more songs she wrote while in rehab, not unlike “She is Brave,” next year after she moves to Nashville.
“I’m an advocate for mental-health awareness,” she said. “I feel that is my calling now.”
Mark your calendar: Chelsey Ann will perform at Legion Memorial Park in Arlington on July 3.
Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; email@example.com; @sarabruestle.
If you stream
Chelsey Ann’s single “She is Brave” will be available on May 28. Along with the song release, the country singer-songwriter is selling “She is Brave” T-shirts to benefit This is My Brave. Go to www.chelseyann.com for more information.
Also: Chelsey Ann will perform at Legion Memorial Park, 114 N. Olympic Ave., Arlington, from noon to 2 p.m. on July 3.
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