Chelsea McBride is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and bandleader based out of Toronto, Ontario. After relocating to Toronto from Vancouver to study contemporary music at Humber College, Chelsea now leads two of her own projects, Chelsea and the Cityscape and the Socialist Night School, both of which feature her original compositions and talents as a saxophonist. Her unique blend of pop, jazz, and moody atmospheres has coalesced into a sound that is entirely her own; her next goal is to take this music and share it with the world.
Chelsea got her start playing the piano at the age of 3, and picked up the saxophone near the end of elementary school. After the saxophone, she started singing, and in high school she learned flute and clarinet while playing in her school’s big band. When she’s not found working with her own projects, she can be seen playing original music with a variety of local musicians, or working as a session musician on various other projects.
Growing up in Vancouver provided a unique opportunity for Chelsea to foster her musical talents. “I was always around music, whether it was through lessons, or radio, or anything like that,” she said, “so as I grew up, it never occurred to me that I could be doing other things with my spare time. When I did summer camps, it was all music-related; when other kids were playing for sports teams at a regional, provincial, national level, I was doing the same thing with music. When we talked about what we were going to do after high school, there wasn’t really another option…music seemed to be the obvious choice.”
While still in Vancouver, she had the opportunity to work under the direction of such artists as Nicole Mitchell, Mike Allen, Campbell Ryga, and Ross Taggart. She also was selected to be a part of the 2010 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies Welcome Band, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that served to inspire her even more. “There’s nothing like the energy of being in a stadium filled with 60,000 screaming, pom-pom waving people. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
After graduating from high school, Chelsea was accepted to Humber College’s Bachelor of Music program, which she completed in 2014. At Humber, she has had the opportunity to work with guest artists such as Danilo Perez, Maria Schneider, Bob Mintzer, the New York Voices, Darcy James Argue, Mike Stern, and Guido Basso. She has also studied with Alex Dean, Shirantha Beddage, Andy Ballantyne, and David Occhipinti and has received additional instruction from Kirk MacDonald, Pat LaBarbera, Geoff Young, and John Macleod. Chelsea has been fortunate enough to receive a partial academic scholarship and the Moe Koffman Universal Music Scholarship, the AM740 Scholarship, and the Jazz FM Scholarship from the school for outstanding achievement in her studies & musical endeavours.
Chelsea released her first EP in February 2013 with Chelsea and the Cityscape – a self-titled, three-track release recorded, mixed and mastered in Toronto which features a snapshot of the band’s versatility and maturity. This is followed by Reinvent, the band’s summer EP release in June 2014. Both EPs are available on Bandcamp and iTunes. Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School released their first album in May 2014, and it is also available on Bandcamp and iTunes.