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Interview: Kelsie Kimberlin

Kelsie Kimberlin “Fruit Basket” (pop)


The music industry is widely known for its cutthroat disposition and always-on mentality, making it tough to get to the top and even harder to stay there. For the ambitious and talented 22-year-old Kelsie Kimberlin, she is a natural for the business. With her 2020 debut “Lobotomy,” addressing people’s growing tendency to forgo critical thinking, she made musical audiences flock to her expressed perspectives on society and her rooted authenticity ever-present in each single. She has shared over a dozen more releases since then and has already recorded more than 150 original songs with half a dozen music videos. This enthusiasm and motivation align well with her latest single, “Fruit Basket,” on par with her fruitful, ingenious output and eagerness to succeed. Ultimately, Kimberlin is not just a singer by craft; she engages in every part of her art — writing, recording, performing, and shooting videos — epitomizing what it means to be an artist with creativity at the core of her personality.

Kimberlin’s love for Latin music shines in this upbeat, feel-good track. Her smooth and spritely vocal timbre adds a welcomed splash of sonic color coinciding with the vibrant culture, which Colombian singer and producer Pedro Vengoechea also matches in his Spanish lyrical delivery. Together, they embrace the genre’s style, as classical guitar playing and driving drum beats further the distinctive musical aesthetic. Vengoechea’s swagger blends so nicely with Kimberlin’s easy going spirit telling audiences to live life to the fullest and appreciate the little things that make it all worth it. Despite the world’s ongoing challenges and horrors, Kimberlin provides the light radiating happiness and hope for fulfilling todays and better tomorrows.

Every frame of “Fruit Basket” takes full advantage of the mesmeric beauty and vivid hues of Cartagena, Colombia. From the bright-painted city walls to the multicolored flags and umbrellas hanging between them, there is no better destination for Kimberlin’s celebration of life and its inherent marvels. Of course, fruit baskets are plentiful and are worn on the heads of the local Palenqueras dancing in the streets, too. Overall, no detail is left untouched throughout this captivating performance, with joy exuding from Kimberlin’s visual.

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The “Fruit Basket” music video is visually stunning! Can you describe the experience of shooting in Cartagena, Columbia? 

Thank you for your question. The producer of Fruit Basket is the legendary Bogota producer Pedro Vengoechea and he sings the Spanish rap on the song. So it was a no-brainer to film the video in Colombia, and he said that the old section of the city, Getsemani, in Cartagena, would be the perfect place because it is famous for its beauty, incredible colors and Palenqueras, the beautiful black women who have fruit baskets on their heads. So, we filmed for two days, both in Getsemani and on the beaches of Cartagena. Everyone was terrific and the award-winning film director, Cristian Florez, was incredibly gracious and professional. Finally, I have to give a shout out to all the amazing food in Cartagena. 

Why is it important to you to create a song that inspires hope and happiness within listeners?  

My purpose for writing this song was to give citizens of the world a good time, feel good song after years of lockdown from Covid and the war in my beloved Ukraine. The Latin rhythms and rap were intentional because their culture really knows how to celebrate life. I released it in December 1st because I want people to be playing it on New Year’s Eve. 

What was your experience like working with Colombian singer and producer Pedro Vengoechea? What did he bring to the track? 

Pedro is one of a kind. He has become a part of my family in addition to producing my music.  He stayed with us for the entire week in Cartagena making sure everything went smoothly and that we were safe. Our vision in music is so close it is uncanny. He is from another generation but he totally is in synch with everything I want. I am in constant touch with him and I value his contributions to me and my music at all levels. 

How has your Ukrainian heritage influenced your musical creations?  

Being Ukrainian-American has influenced everything I do, including my music. I have written a number of songs that will be released next year about the effects of the war. I filmed four music videos before the war in Ukraine and a Ukrainian sand artist created the video for my song Hazy Day. Moreover, I am always speaking out about Ukraine and urging people to support it. 

Do you have a favorite element of Columbian culture and/ or music after producing and shooting the song and music video?  

I loved everything about my experiences in Colombia and it only whetted my appetite to go back and see other places. Like I said, the food was absolutely delicious in a way that I have never experienced anywhere else in the world. The people are so nice and Getsemani is an absolutely go-to place for everyone’s bucket list. 

What do you envision for your future in music? Are there any events, projects, or causes you’d like to be a part of?  

I would like to be part of a “We Are The World” type concert for Ukraine. I would love for it to be held in Kyiv and raise billions and awareness. I have also already filmed four more music videos that I will release in the coming months, and have some big plans for new music that I am recording. I spend a great deal of time in the studio and now work with Grammy winners on every song so that they are all world-class. 


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