Singer/songwriter Kelly Bazely is about to embark on a mission for the broken hearted. Starting January 22nd, she’ll be spending 50 days in the New York City subway system; singing original songs about lost relationships, deceased pets, departed loved ones, and anything else that rends a heart. She spoke to The Date Report about this unusual project, what she hopes to get out of her time on the tracks, and the break-up that inspired her.
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Q: So, you’re a singer/songwriter type. Tell us a little bit about your background.
A: I like to consider myself a gypsy. I grew up moving around a lot – from England to Canada to Saudi Arabia to Texas. The only permanency I’ve ever really had in my life is my music. I’ve been playing the piano since I was four, and writing songs since I was fifteen. I’m 27 now, the quarter-life crisis age, [haha].
My songs are about my struggles and experiences, but I also really strive to lift other peoples’ hearts with them. I felt alone for a huge chunk of my life, and my goal with my music is to make sure no one feels that way. Real people move me. The ones who don’t follow the herd and settle for being unhappy because they feel like they are doing everything they’re supposed to. Bravery and courage moves me. People who are taking risks to do something that matters because they want their lives to mean something. Having said that, I can also be inspired to write a song about something as simple as the seasons changing or a wrench lying on my bedroom floor. As a musician and songwriter, I strive to be nothing more and nothing less than the rawest form of myself.
Q: What’s the 50 Days Underground project all about?
A: Starting January 22nd, I’ll be writing 50 songs about 50 different broken hearts and performing them in various New York City subway stations. Each day will be dedicated to a different person’s story, and then Day 50 will be my own. I will be blogging and vlogging the live performances every day, as well as my experiences and encounters with people underground. My current plan is to perform from morning rush hour to afternoon from Wednesday through Sunday, but that may or may not change once I start.
Q: What inspired you to do this?
A: You guessed it: a break up! I’ve been itching to perform underground for a while now, and just haven’t had the guts. The break up gave me a reason to do it – I thought it would be a great grieving and healing process, not only for myself, but for other people as well. I commute with millions of New Yorkers every day, and I constantly think of the stories everyone has to tell. But we all sit there in silence, staring into our phones and tablets, looking quite miserable actually. Nobody smiles or says hello. We’ve created this culture with such disconnect, and I hate that. I want to connect us, and I can’t think of something more human or relatable than a broken heart.
Q: What kinds of stories are you looking for?
A: A mix. I don’t think heartbreak is specifically tied to romantic relationships, although I know that’s everyone’s first thought. I think it can also be applied to other kind of relationships, death, illness, addictions, loss of self, loss of faith or really any struggle in life. A few of my favorite stories so far are actually the ones that are not related to relationships. One is about a cat that got eaten by a coyote and another is about a breakup from a 12-year-old’s perspective.
There will obviously be some very sad songs, some of which I’m not even sure I’ll be able to sing without crying, but I’m going to try my best to throw in something uplifting and maybe even humorous here or there. So people should be creative. It isn’t just about the obvious love story.
Q: Tell us about your own heartbreak.
A: My break up led to a very broken heart. It was my first love, so I dove in without any caution tape wrapped around my heart. And like everyone else and their mom, I thought it was my last and forever love. To be honest, sometimes I still think that. Even though I feel happy and content in my singledom, there’s still this hope that what we have is strong enough to last forever. I’m sure everyone has been there.
These times in our lives are the hardest and most excruciating, but inevitably make us who we are. Do I wish I was still with him? Yes. But would I change what’s happened? No. Because then I wouldn’t be the person I am right now, about to embark on this ridiculously terrifying but life-changing journey. I spent most of my life not allowing myself to fall in love because I was terrified of getting hurt. And now that my greatest fear has become my reality, I realize that not only am I still standing tall, but I’m a wiser and stronger human being because of it. I never truly lived until I loved. And I never truly suffered until I lost it. Heartbreak is shitty, but heartbreak is necessary.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with this project?
A: Connection. I want people to always remember that they aren’t alone. It’s so easy to feel completely deserted and isolated when you’re brokenhearted, especially in this city. But I hope this helps people see that although we’re in different situations, we’re all going through the same cycle of emotions. We all suffer. And we have all lost someone along the way. And I think it just helps to know that we’re in this life together. It’s winter. It’s New York City. It’s depressing. I want people to walk by and be like, “I get it. I’ve been there. I can totally relate.” And hopefully brave enough to stop and chat, and tell me their story. As for myself? I’m not quite sure. It’s one of those things I’m going into blindly, uncertain of the outcome. I hope that I can fill the hunger in my belly to do something meaningful. On a side note, I think it’d be amazing if I could get other musicians to write and perform with me as well. [to perform with Kelly, email her]
Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: Despite all odds, I still believe in happy endings.