Interview: Chelsea Cutler Encapsulates Adulthood on New Album ‘How To Be Human’

Electronic artist and songwriter Chelsea Cutler discusses her new record ‘How To Be Human’ and the influences behind it in an interview with Atwood Magazine.

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Being in your early twenties means being on a new journey of discovery and finding your footing as an actual adult in the world. Now, imagine throwing in 750 million streams between several EP’s and mixtapes, being featured everywhere from Billboard to Complex and finishing college. Within the second sentence is Chelsea Cutler — a 22-year-old singer-songwriter with electronic influences who just dropped a full-length debut LP in January titled How To Be Human.

How To Be Human – Chelsea Cutler

Within the past year, Cutler has also signed to Republic Records and landed a spot playing at California’s favorite festival (Coachella) this upcoming summer. She is also embarking on at world tour this spring. Her new album features several singles including “I Was In Heaven” and a collaboration with Alexander 23 on “Lucky.”

However, these singles only provide a slight glimpse into the world and experiences Cutler portrays on the album. For example, “nj” is a slow piano track that stands out, both for its heartbreaking lyricism meshed with Cutler’s soft vocals and that it’s the only track name that isn’t capitalized, except for the album’s bonus track. This is a song you’re meant to pay attention to.

I wanna tell you I’m sorry for the mistakes I’ve made,
That I forgive you for the part that you played,
I wanna call you, but what the fuck would I say?

The album’s namesake track “How To Be Human” provides the biggest exploration into new adulthood, with Cutler singing “Thought I’d know it all by 21 / But I still don’t know” that blends seamlessly into the chorus and peaks with an explosive dance beat at the song’s end. Other notable songs off her album include (but definitely aren’t limited to) the acoustic, stripped-down “New Recording 28 – Lions” and the bonus track “you were good to me,” a duet with Jeremy Zucker. Their vocal styles complement each other beautifully on this song.

Cutler’s debut album How To Be Human is a brilliant sonic and lyrical explanation of the ups-and-downs of life and relationships and having a growing music career in the process. It stays true to her past EP’s sounds, but also displays a wider range of growth as an artist, making it interesting to be along for the ride and see where Cutler will go next.

Read Atwood Magazine’s interview with Chelsea Cutler below!

Listen: ‘How To Be Human’ – Chelsea Cutler


Atwood Magazine: 2019 seemed like a big year for you and with a new album releasing in a brand new decade. What goals do you want to accomplish this year?

Chelsea Cutler: I think I’m trying to stay really present with the album release and not focus too much on what I want to achieve in 2020 overall. Off the top of my head, I definitely want to make this upcoming tour my best ever, crush the Coachella set, and write a second album.

What inspirations (both personal and musical) influenced How To Be Human?

Chelsea Cutler: The album came pretty much from a place of angst and confusion! Being in your twenties is super weird and hard, so I basically derived all my personal inspiration from my experiences over the last couple of years with trying to be a human/adult. Musically, to some degree, I’m influenced by pretty much everything I listen to – I think all artists are.

What has been your craziest tour or festival story?

Chelsea Cutler: I’m pretty tame honestly, as is my team. I really focus on taking care of myself on the road and getting a lot of sleep, so I don’t have any crazy stories off the top of my head. Sorry, I’m a narc!

You've released a few singles from the record already, from “How To Be Human” and “I Was In Heaven,” but out of the entire album, do you have a favorite track? If so, what was the story behind it?

Chelsea Cutler: I love “nj” – it’s the song I was most scared to put out, meaning it was the most vulnerable for me. Also, just from a creative standpoint, I love the production.

Listen: “nj” – Chelsea Cutler

You collaborated with Alexander 23 on “Lucky” as well as Kygo and Louis the Child previously. Are there any other artists you'd want to collaborate with in future songs?

Chelsea Cutler: I’d love to work with Dan + Shay. Someone put in a word for me.

How did you first become interested in music?

Chelsea Cutler: I grew up right outside NYC, so my family went into the city for Broadway shows and concerts super often. My parents love music, they always had music blasting in the kitchen and living room while making dinner or in the morning when we were all waking up. They had me and my brother in piano lessons basically from birth and just always encouraged us to be creative.

You're doing both a US and European tour for the album in the spring. Is there a specific place you're most excited to play or visit?

Chelsea Cutler: I always love being in Amsterdam, Paris, and London. They’re some of my absolute favorite cities in the world.

If you could describe your new album in three words, what would they be and why?

Chelsea Cutler: Genuine – I write really just from personal experience, so everything on the album is a good, genuine representation of me.

Honest – I wrote about stuff that scared me to write about. I really challenged myself to be brave and allow the world to hear my intimate thoughts.

Reflective – I feel like I learned a lot in my time writing this album. I got to really deeply process a lot of things that happened in my life.

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