Singer, songwriter, cellist, and producer Kelsey Lu constructs her dreamy, off-balance alternative music with a mix of classical chamber, folk, and electronic components, topping off her intricate arrangements with soulful vocals. She released her first EP, the spare Church, in 2016 before expanding her palette with layered electronics and instruments including strings, guitars, and multi-tracked vocals. As a studio musician, she has collaborated with artists including Solange, Florence + the Machine, and Blood Orange.
A classically trained cellist based in Los Angeles, Charlotte, North Carolina native Kelsey Lu McJunkins enrolled at the North Carolina School of the Arts as an 18-year-old before relocating to New York City. She had contributed cello and/or vocals to recordings by Lady Gaga, Solange, and Blood Orange, among others, by the end of 2016, the year she made her label debut with the Church EP. Recorded live in a church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with her cello and a loop pedal, it was produced by Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift) and issued by True Panther Sounds. Kelsey Lu performed cello on albums by Father John Misty and Kelela in 2017 before returning with a more complex, layered sound in 2018 on singles such as “Shades of Blue” and “Due West,” which were among her first releases for Columbia Records. That year, she also collaborated with Sampha on a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River.” In the meantime, she relocated to Los Angeles and appeared on 2018 LPs by Florence + the Machine, Oneohtrix Point Never, and again, Blood Orange. She began 2019 with an off-kilter cover of 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love.” ~ Marcy Donelson