Twenty-five-year-old singer-songwriter Chelsea Cutler has been on the come-up as an artist since 2017. Despite her rapid rise to musical success, Cutler didn’t always have the Billboard 200 chart in her sights. She dreamed of being a successful soccer player, a goal she chased on the varsity soccer team at Amherst College.
In the background of her soccer career, Cutler was releasing music on SoundCloud. She started her musical endeavors as a hobby and has now turned her talent into a flourishing career. After her song “Your Shirt” went viral, she left school to pursue a career in music, starting by going on tour with Quinn XCII, an artist she calls one of her closest friends. The two are now a frequent duo in the recording studio, producing a couple of songs together each year.
In 2019, Cutler signed a record deal with Republic Records. Soon after, she released her first official studio album, How to Be Human, which launched her career as a major artist. As of right now, Cutler has released four albums and three EPs, two of which were collaborations with fellow artist Jeremy Zucker. She averages just under 7.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify and is currently working on her fifth album.
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Her latest tour celebrates her album When I Close My Eyes and is a continuation of a tour she embarked on earlier this spring. The Grand Rapids concert took place at The Intersection on October 27, and though it marked the halfway point of the tour, she brought energy that resembled that of an opening show.
Upon entering the venue, I felt at home as soon as I approached the stage, surrounded by fans who shared the same love for Cutler and her music as I do.
I was first introduced to Cutler’s music as a freshman in high school, back in 2017. As a 14-year-old still trying to figure out how music fit into my identity, I stumbled upon her music while exploring one of many Spotify playlists of recommended songs. Immediately after listening to her single “Wake Up,” I was hooked.
It wasn’t until later that I learned more about Cutler and her journey as an artist.
Chelsea Cutler performs her songs “Under” and “Sad Tonight” at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, Mich., during the midwest leg of her When I Close My Eyes tour Oct. 27. Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.
Cutler has grown to be more open about her struggles with mental health, particularly when it comes to how touring can be draining to an artist. The pop genre is full of breakup ballads and empowering numbers, but not many artists are willing to be candid about the less glamorous parts of life — especially mental health.
When I Close My Eyes is an album of songs made to be honest about the ways Cutler has struggled with depression and anxiety, bridging a gap between fans and what they can expect to gain from the music they listen to. “Devil on My Shoulder” is one of the rawest songs on the album, and through it, Cutler addresses her battles with depression.
Chelsea Cutler performs “Someone Else’s Heaven” at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, Mich., during the midwest leg of her When I Close My Eyes tour Oct. 27. Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.
Cutler’s shameless expression of her struggle with mental health made her intentionality in fostering community with her fans clear. This concert was the fourth one of hers that I have attended, and though this time I was a photographer, I still felt completely at home in the safe space that her shows have become for me as someone who has similar struggles.
Chelsea Cutler takes in a vibrant environment during the first three songs of her show at The Intersection in Grand Rapids, Mich., during the midwest leg of her When I Close My Eyes tour Oct. 27. Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.
Chelsea Cutler’s transparency has made an incredible impact on fans like me. She is proof that artist-fan relationships are built on much more than lyrics.
Senior Photo Editor Anna Fuder can be reached at email@example.com.