Armed with a nursing degree and a track record as a nationally ranked hurdler, Kelsi Mayne is now making moves as a singer-songwriter and actor. She was recently named a Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist Showcase Finalist and will be performing at major music festivals across Canada this summer. Kelsi makes her big-screen debut on the international film-festival circuit performing the title role in Willa (an adaptation of a popular Stephen King story), and she’s currently a semi-finalist as part of SiriusXM’s Top of the Country competition. 

We chatted with her this week. 

SDTC: When and where do you feel most content/at ease?

KM: On stage in front of 100 or more people.

What would winning this mentorship opportunity mean for your career?

I went to school for nursing and have learned the industry by myself up until this point by absorbing as much as I could from books and people I’ve met along the way. As the only completely independent semifinalist, this mentorship would be career-changing.

All-time fave song to sing?

This changes all the time but I do my own take on Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” in our live performance, which always pumps me up.

In your opinion, who is the best country singer-songwriter of all time?

Loretta Lynn. She had balls! “Fist City” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough” … Come on! Especially back in those days. Those are badass.

What dish always satisfies you?

Gnocchi! Don’t let the red hair deceive you—I am half Italian!

What show has recently wowed you?

GOT is the GOAT!

What’s on your current reading list?

Everything You Need To Know About the Music Business. Not that original, I know. I just finished Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which blew my mind. Great insight for the creative person.

What Toronto spaces do you truly love?

Assembly Chef’s Hall is one of my new favourite spots.

What sight are you dying to see?

The pyramids and Great Wall of China are on my bucket list.

Your go-to coping mechanism?

Working out (really into HIIT workouts lately) and chatting with my girlfriends over a glass of wine.

What five things would you want if you were deserted on an island?

A boat, a canoe, a paddle board, a jet ski and sunscreen.

What’s a childhood memory that always brings a smile to your face?

When my brother and sister and I would accidentally knock over this flower arrangement my mom had. Each time it happened we’d say it depreciated in half. Eventually this thing owed money.

What life philosophy is currently helping to guide your journey?

Never underestimate what you’re capable of.

One skill you’d love to improve this year?

I’d love to get back into dance. I showed a little freestyle on my Instagram and got a huge response.

What’s a piece of career advice that has served you well?

Passion over stability. You’ve got to be happy.

What outfit makes you feel the most you?

Sweatpants and sweatshirt. I’ve always been an athlete.

What toy have you held onto since you were small?

My penguin collection. My class did a project on them in Grade 1 and ever since, when my parents would see a stuffed animal or figurine, it would remind them of me. So every Christmas, they’d give me one.

What’s a subject that is currently holding your attention? 

Bridging the gap between men and women in the country music scene and helping to even out the numbers.

When you compare yourself now to where you were at ten years ago, what’s a major change you can identify?

Ten years ago, I was working part-time serving and singing in a Coyote Ugly-style bar. Music was just a pipe dream; now it’s my career.

Goal(s) for 2019?

Get a van for the band, release my first full album, become a recognized name provincially and nationally, get a single in the top 40 on the Canadian Country Billboard chart.