Lora Kelley is continuing her course of transforming common human experiences into beautiful, strong songs that empower listeners to not feel alone in their struggles. “Beautiful That Way” is a reminder to embrace every part of you. The song is a relaxed, breezy blend of folk, americana, and country vibes with solid lyrics that will resonate with women everywhere.
As Facebook began suggesting ads on fertility, skin silicons, and lingerie to “keep it fresh,” Kelley realized the message that was being blasted towards so many adult women was both “stay young and sexy to be beautiful” while also telling them “beauty only gets you so far.” It had her asking herself, “why is my beauty being defined by anyone but me?” From how to dress to when to have kids, the messages that Kelley and so many other women are ingesting on a daily basis go beyond mere suggestions. Kelley describes the societal pressure as “cognitive dissonance on crack.” The words in “Beautiful That Way” describe the discovery of the unique kind of self-love that only adult women understand. “As I stepped into my 30’s, I felt this invitation to come back to myself” says Kelley. “I had to peel back the pieces layer by layer and ask myself what it looks like to exist from the inside out.”
“Beautiful That Way” is a perfectly timed release to allow women to feel not only comfortable, but also fabulous in their own way. In a period when negativity and self-doubt are society’s strong suits, Lora Kelley is standing up to be a beacon of light and confidence for women who resonate with her music. “At some point, we’re all invited back to ourselves, to step into the integrity of what we’re made to be in this world,” says Kelley. “And it’s to enjoy our beauty. Our way. How we define it.” Fans can stream “Beautiful That Way” on all major platforms and stay tuned for Lora Kelley’s upcoming album Domystique, releasing in the Spring.
Kelley herself has been acclaimed by top music-tastemakers including No Depression, The Boot, Elmore Magazine, Great American Song, and others. Described as “polished pop Americana with a darker lyrical edge” by Americana UK and praised for her “distinctive voice” by No Depression, Lora Kelley finds a way to step between the time of ingenue and the silvery-haired later years of womanhood, pressing into the gentle magic of middle-life.
Looking forward to the release to come this year, Domystique promises to be a whimsical look at domestic life, exploring the middle space between youth and old age and what comes with it. Whether she is singing about the childlike perspective, the complexity of being an aging woman, or exploring the nuance of female-driven hospitality, Lora has brought to life a collection of lyrics and music inviting the listener to attune to their own heart’s experiences. As a devoted wife and mother of three, Lora balances a tender eye on life’s middle age with the ache of both looking back and looking forward. Typical for Lora’s lyrics, the listener finds themselves in habitable spaces, moving around as if in a well-known room in one’s own house. With thoughtful acoustic guitar and gentle ambient textures, Lora’s vocals illuminate the stories with a “come sit with me and let’s trade secrets” sensibility. Three years in the making, this album is full of both broad and decisive strokes perfectly suited for today’s accounting of both beauty and losses.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I want streaming services to pay musicians more. I’d like the radio to play music that is more nuanced and complex in its stories. I think we need that.
Who inspired you to make music?
Natalie Merchant. I loved her music, her stage presence, her ferocity and voice. I have always loved stories and writing, and I have always loved to sing. Now I’m inspired by the human experience. I love being with people who are ok being in process. I love those stories. They inspire me to write.
Who are you listening to these days?
The Highwomen – They write music that speaks to where I am. They’re 4 badass moms. Holy crap, what is more intense and incredible than that?!
Lori McKenna – Badass-songwriting-artist-mom-wife. Also so cute.
Margo Price – I just like that she punches her way through. She brings herself. She’s a great performer. She f-ing drums and owns herself. She tells her truth. It’s inspiring.
Do you collaborate with others and if so, what is that process like?
I co-write with people. It’s like dating. I just ask and I can’t take it personal if they say yes or no. The goal is to serve the song and to bring together our mutual experiences to make something new. I love writing with other people because it teaches me something. I love to learn.
What advice would you have for yourself 2 years ago?
Write. Sing. Write. Sing. Write. Sing. Write. Just keep going. Have fun. Chill the bleep out.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing an album of songs that relate to my fans and my stage of life. I want women to have 100% of the 50% of space they take up on this earth, and I’m writing music that speaks to that. It’s so fun, and I love it.
What currently inspires you the most? I am so inspired by the energy in America that is contending with our history and pushing us toward a place of repentance and hope. I feel such a sense of relief that racism, misogyny, Christian Nationalism are being talked about openly, that people of all races and creeds and experiences are telling their stories of trauma and grief and are claiming their rightful space. I love and grieve what I have learned about my own contribution to systemic misogyny, racism and Christian nationalism. It’s a gift to become aware and to have the opportunity to take responsibility and change. I am excited for what is to come for our country as we contend with these truths.
What is your relationship like with Social Media and how does it play a role in your music career?
I use it. Haha. I use Instagram and Facebook. I’m not opposed to the other ones. I just need it to be a vehicle that serves the music and not something that is a time-suck or addiction that takes away from creating. I try to be mindful of that. But it’s fun to interact with people, and it always feels good when a lot of people like something I post. It’s confirmation. I appreciate that sometimes.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far?
My own self-doubt. Now, I manage my thoughts and emotional life. I’m an adult. That’s my job. They used to manage me, and they’re a terrible manager. One of my favorite teachers said, “The unmanaged mind is like a toddler with a knife.” Haha. It’s the best gift you can give yourself – to be an emotional adult vs. an emotional child. It’s my power. I don’t give away to anyone anymore.