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  • Kjersti Long, singer-songwriter

    At 17, Kjersti Long is among a new generation of emerging singer-songwriters. (Photos: DisCompany)

    Female artists have been resurgent in pop music, and Kjersti Long is among a new wave of singer-songwriters destined to follow in the footsteps of icons like Taylor Swift and Arianna Grande.

    With one album under her belt (Stronger Than You think I Am), the 17-year-old singer-songwriter has consistently delighted audiences and built an enviable social media following on Instagram and TikTok.

    Last year, she made a name for herself as a music influencer with over 160 thousand new followers and more than 50 million views.

    Her newest single, “Sad Song” dropped last week and is already enthralling her fans.

    Long has also co-written a song for Vanessa Williams‘ next album. Williams has just been cast as Miranda Priestly in the upcoming West End production of the Elton John /Shaina Taub musical adaption of The Devil Wears Prada.

    She even has her own “fun little side project,” a London-bound musical.

    The New York Independent spoke with Kjersti from her home base in Utah — yes, Utah –about her new single, an upcoming tour and a musical based on her music slated for the West End in London in a year:

    NYI: Tell us about your music and growing up.

    Kjersti : I was raised on 80’s rock since I was little, so I take a lot of aspects from older 80’s and 90’s music to give my music that rock feel to it. I started singing when I was about 8 years, and it was good enough for people to take notice and I started taking lessons. I wrote my first song at 9 and when my dad came home from work that day I ran outside and meet him at the car. My dad helped me put it to music and that was how my songwriting journey took off.

    NYI: You lived in New Jersey for a bit; is that where “Boys In Jersey” started? Its just a sensational track and we love the video.

    Kjersti : I was raised in New Jersey;  and I love that state with my whole heart. That is in fact where “Boys In Jersey” started. I was in a writing session with my producer Chantry Johnson and my dad. Chantry asked me if I had any boys I liked because he wanted to write a love song. I responded with “nah, all the Boys in Jersey kinda suck” and that’s how the title sort of came about. But don’t get me wrong, the lyrics aren’t about how all boys suck, they’re about the nasty stereotypical boys, specifically the ones in Jersey. It was a blast to record the music video, it was such a fun happy experience, all the actors you see in the music video are such cool people and they all really helped boost the energy. 

    NYI: Who are the artists that inspire you?

    Kjersti : I believe that I owe my whole career to Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart because the first rock song I sang was one of theirs and I was hooked instantly. Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac is another artist that has me completely awestruck. When I was younger my dad showed me the famous video of Freddie Mercury’s call and response with the crowd during his last concert and it’s stayed with me since, so I aspire to have the stage presence that Freddie had.

    NYI: First concert?

    Kjersti : My first concert had to have been Stevie Nicks. It was a crazy experience; I was for sure the youngest one at the concert. I love concerts, and I’ve been to so many I don’t know if I can count them all. My mom likes to joke that concerts are just homework assignments for me because I’m always studying the artist looking for cool new things that I can incorporate into my own performances and music.

    NYI: First record bought

    Kjersti : My first vinyl record that I bought was an Aretha Franklin record. But a friend of my dad’s had gifted me a vinyl Joan Jett record collection before that (I have every Joan Jett record imaginable). So, the first record I owned was a Joan Jett and the Blackhearts record.

    NYI: Tell us about working with Ryan Follese (Hot Chelle Rae)?

    Kjersti has just dropped a new tune, ‘Sad Song’ and has her eye on a sophomore album.

    Kjersti : I’ve been listening to Hot Chelle Rae since before I can remember and being able to meet Ryan and work with him not only on the writing and recording but also a music video was insane. He is such a cool fun person and I’ve learned a ton from him. It was a really good time. He has the perfect balance between professional and fun and it definitely made working with him really high on my greatest experiences list.   

    NYI: Your publicist said that a tour later this year may be in the making? Who would you like to tour with?

    Kjersti : If Freddie Mercury were still here, I would love to open for Queen. But my biggest one would probably be Paramore. I would love to go on tour with Paramore I feel like it would be a nonstop party.

     NYI: When can fans expect your next album?

    Kjersti : I think it’s looking to be 2024. This year!! It’ll probably be a big EP instead of an album but I’m still so excited! The tentative title is Emotions; with “Sad Song” being the first single from it. 

    NYI: Tell us about the play Relative Space? How did that come about?

    Kjersti :  There was a lot of music that I had written and recorded that I wanted to share but they weren’t main stream enough, so my dad came up with the idea to take the music and write a musical around them. We got some of the greatest talents of Utah together to work on it and before I even knew it our fun little side project became a London and Broadway bound show. It’s a hopeful show based around the concepts of generational trauma with some killer music if I do say so myself.   

    NYI: Thanks so much – we look forward to seeing you in concert.

    Check out Kjersti’s website by clicking here.

    “Boys In Jersey Video, Kjersti Long