Kelsey Montanez’s New Single Captured Our Hearts (And Souls)

Review by: Zoe Elerby – Artwork by: Ann Ahoy

Kelsey Montanez, a Chicago based singer/song-writer, rang in the new year with a brand new single “I Sold My Soul”. Released on January 6th, the single already has over one thousand listens, a number that will only increase over the next few weeks. Using an unprecedented musical vision, Montanez continues to bulldoze her way into the Chicago music scene. Montanez has been listed in Chicago’s REDEYE as one of the “15 Artists to Watch” and was awarded the 2020 Magellan Musician.

“I Sold My Soul” fits neatly into Montanez’s personalized genre of the sultry and intimate. With a voice that’s been compared to Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, Montanez weaponizes her talents to yank the heartstrings of her listeners. “I Sold My Soul” feels like the story about someone stuck in a cycle of toxicity.

“I sold my soul to make believe if I did we’d be happy. Now I’m dancing by myself and you’ll find me in someone else.”

There’s a theme of change in the lyrics, but it’s not the “good” kind of change. Rather than changing to grow, the lyrics suggest that the vocalist changed and became trapped. The concept of “selling your soul” is one that’s existed in every kind of story telling, music is no exception. In this context, our vocalist has given everything that made her who she was, thinking it could heal or save a relationship. The relationship didn’t last, leaving our vocalist dancing alone while her ex has moved on.

Following her previous single “Let Me Love You”, the story that this song tells is a very different tale. While “Let Me Love You” leaned into melodic, sexy vocals and smooth instrumentation with the intention to seduce, “I Sold My Soul” has the intention of confessing. The vocalist admits that she’s wrong in the chorus and even regrets selling her soul for her ex.

Behind the words are aggressive strums of an acoustic guitar as well as steady-paced drum beats to emphasize Montanez’s words. Around the two minute mark, Montanez lets the guitar tell its side of the story. With unbelievable talent from the leading guitarist, the audience is given a modern guitar solo that the rock genre will be proud of. The music itself holds its own kind of rage, with poignant words coupled with intense instrumentals. The vocalist isn’t angry, but the music behind her seems to be frustrated with the situation she is in. This emphasizes the story brilliantly because as we are listening to one feeling, we are being bombarded with another.

“Ask me if I’d do ‘cause they know that I’d say ‘yeah’”

In the first minute of the song, the vocalist refers to multiple people she makes a deal with. The relationship that she was in extended a little bit further, possibly to friends who know that the vocalist will do whatever as long as it makes her partner happy. This is another reference to the toxicity that the vocalist “sold her soul” to. She was trapped in a cycle of toxicity.

Montanez mentions in her Spotify bio that “a pandemic worth of isolation and heartbreak” refined her art. “I think all the isolation and massive amounts of downtime opened this vault of creativity in me…”

With how intimate and thoughtful Montanez’s music has been in 2022 and now in 2023, “I Sold My Soul” is a wonderful start to the year. Montanez is making headlines and she isn’t doing it slowly. Montanez is a force in the Chicago rock scene. In a male dominated industry and genre, Montanez isn’t making waves, she’s breaking walls with unique storytelling through both the instrumentals and her vocals.

Kelsey Montanez’s New Single Captured Our Hearts (And Souls) 1

Kelsey Montanez will be performing locally in Chicago on both January 21st and February 9th. She will be performing at Reggie’s Chicago with The Vultures as well as ARREIS on the 21st. On the 9th, she will be at the Cubby Bear Chicago with The Vultures. Both shows have tickets available for only $10. You’ll be able to find Montanez’s “I Sold My Soul” on Spotify and other music streaming services.


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Kelsey Montanez is one of Chicago’s best kept secrets. Both intimate and ecstatic, smokey and scorching, her potent blend of blues, pop, and psychedelia has been turning heads for over a decade. Among the singer-songwriter’s many talents, it’s Montanez’s arresting voice that has captured a devoted fanbase.

It comes as no surprise that her visceral 2013 EP “A Delightful Sadness” scored her a record contract and music video with Chance the Rapper on lead single “Out of Sight.” True to her strong sense of independence, Montanez subsequently opted to pursue her own uncompromising artistic vision. It took a pandemic worth of isolation and heartbreak to transform that raw power into the refined spectacle that is her first record in over a decade.

Bolstered by the pristine production of Bill Karambelas and internationally acclaimed session musicians, her music is both transcendent and catchy, demonstrating the songwriter’s range and ability to transform deeply personal lyrics into searing and seductive rock. While conjuring vocalists like Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, Montanez possesses her own unmistakable voice.

Kelsey Montanez has been listed in the Chicago REDEYE as “15 artists to Watch” and celebrated in the Chicago Reader and Chicago Tribune. Montanez has headlined prominent Chicago venues such as the Metro, House of Blues, as well as festivals such as SXSW. Recently, Montanez was awarded the 2020 Magellan Musician in Residence at the historic Aqua Building.



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