A “quick call” has changed the trajectory of Chelsea Pastel’s career. And she wants us to stop asking about it. That’s the title — “Stop Asking” — of the Cleveland-grown rapper’s most popular track yet. The laid-back, bass-filled single has propelled Pastel onto radio and into a sync agreement with actress, writer and producer Issa Rae’s Raedio company.
This fall, six of Pastel’s songs will appear on ViacomCBS’s various TV stations. The opportunity to get her music on television is a big step and something Pastel has been trying to do since 2019. Initial talks between Pastel and Raedio froze in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Locked in the house, Pastel used that time to refine her voice as an instrumental piece of her work. By last August, Clevelanders witnessed her evolution when she performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — where she used to work in visitor services.
Pastel remembers touching the glass of certain displays every day at the Rock Hall. Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Biggie Smalls — the legends that inspired her. “It kind of just made things feel more accessible. Like at arm’s reach, you’re seeing it right here in front of your face,” Pastel says. “I would write songs and [be] like, ‘Oh, no, no, you got to come way harder than that. You got Biggie Smalls right there.’ ”
That Rock Hall performance included Pastel’s song, “Jeeps.” It’s a smooth, electronic track Pastel’s worked on for years. She found the perfect beat to marry its chorus to last year, and feels with the pandemic waning, “Jeeps” will receive its fair due. “Jeeps” is part of Pastel’s latest collection of songs, Pastelevision. If you’re wondering what vibes “Jeeps” brings to the table, Pastel says imagine Spice Girls meets video games.
“That’s kind of the vibe that we got out there,” Pastel says, referring to California, where she filmed a handful of music videos for some of the songs on Pastelevision, “Jeeps” included. Between backdrops of LA and Malibu, the match was perfect.“I kind of went ‘90s boy band, girl band vibes with like a hip-hop flair to it but with way more energy,” Pastel says.With the ViacomCBS Inc. exposure imminent, Pastel continues to blaze her path in music.
“When I’m making music, I don’t really care about what’s going on outside of the music that I’m making. It gives me a way to get away from everything and transmute whatever energy I got going on,” Pastel says. ”I feel fiery.”