Singer, entertainer, fashion icon – these are too many hats for a 16-year old boy. But take a look at Mike Chelsen’s Instagram profile, and you would know that he wears everything with confidence. Even before he could legally vote, Mike Chelsen is already a social media phenomenon. With thousands of fans and a successful debut single, Chelsen seems to be climbing fast towards the peak.
We sat down with him to find out more about the phenomenal teen singer.
Q. You often talk about your fans, whom you called “supernovas”. How important are your fans to you?
*chuckles* Oh they mean everything to me. I did not begin through a talent manager or a music label or some other connection. Whatever fame I have found has been because of my supernovas. The entire persona of Mike Chelsen exists for my fans. Whatever I do, from writing music to posting on social media, there is one question I always ask myself: “Will my fans like it?” Their approval means more than the Grammy to me. I just never want to disappoint me.
Q. On social media, you put forward a very bold and edgy image. Did you consciously curate this image before starting your career, or were you always like this?
Well, I like to think that I was always like this. Did I wear such clothes and make-up before? Not really. But that’s because of how things are generally in a school. I was especially bullied for being different from others. So, I never really got a chance to explore that side of mine even though I wanted to. But once I decided to become a singer, I knew that now is the time to give wings to my desires.
Q. You said in an interview that you owe Lady Gaga your life. Was it a little fanboy exaggeration or do you really mean it?
*laughs* I totally mean it. Like I said before, I was often bullied for being different. And school was the only group I knew outside of my family. So basically, I was all alone. For me, Lady Gaga came like a blessing from the heavens. Everything about her inspired me. Her voice was golden, her words were strong. But more than anything else, she showed me being true to yourself, no matter how outrageous others find you. This was literally my first step towards self-acceptance, and it all happened thanks to Lady Gaga.
Q. Who were some of your other inspirations in life?
Well, there are a few. Michael Jackson was definitely an inspiration, as he has been to millions of others. David Bowie and Elton John too inspired me. They inspired me not only as singers but also as the icons they became. I mean, seriously, Elton John was as much as a diva as he was a singer. If I could become even a fraction like him, I would count myself fortunate.
In my personal life, I think it would be my science teacher in school, Mr. Chelsen. He was perhaps the only adult who was there for me when I was bullied in school. He listened to me, inspired me, and gave me life lessons. It was very unfortunate that he died in a car accident a few years ago. Part of my stage name was a tribute to him.
Q. You have found great fame on both Tik Tok and Instagram. Between the two platforms, which one do you prefer?
Both platforms have their distinct meanings to me. I started using Tik Tok for the entertainer within me. Long before my first single, I was entertaining people with my skills. The way I crossed 100k followers astounded me as much as it might have anyone else. Instagram, on the other hand, is a vent for my fashion juices. It is a place where I built the entire persona of Mike Chelsen. Between the two, I can say that I enjoy Instagram more. The platform allows me to be more personal with my fans more often.
Q. Now that “Starlight” has witnessed success, what are your plans moving forward? Can we expect more singles?
Yes, the success of “Starlight” was definitely a big moment for me. Before releasing “Starlight”, I was slightly doubtful if I even have what it takes to make it big. But now I am confident that this is the right way forward. As for future projects, I am already working on an EP and its music video, which I expect will release before the year ends. The pop/electro number will be a departure from my previous single and allow me to exhibit my full range. My fans have complained that I am taking too long, but I want to give my best in the next project.