With her first full-length CD, Chelsea Moon With Uncle Daddy: Hymn Project Vol. 1, Chelsea Moon revealed the interpretative resonance of her expressive voice and the conviction that inspires her. “The reason I love hymns in general is because the theology is still intact,” Chelsea notes. “I wanted my debut to confirm the richness of a relationship with Christ.” Backed by the rollicking high-energy band Uncle Daddy, Chelsea says she had updated these stately hymns “… in such a way that people of all ages can appreciate them, and it’s my prayer that people are led into God’s presence by listening.”
Chelsea is a recording and performing veteran who has contributed vocals to animated television hits for Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, on shows including Jimmy Neutron, Fairly Odd Parents and Back At the Barnyard. (She is also the voice of Kasumi for the Dead or Alive video game series).
Growing up in a musical family in Los Angles, Chelsea was always comfortable on stage. After a short stint studying classical music in college, she discovered an alternate direction. “My soul was quieted and I learned to embrace my femininity. I was much less interested in being in the spotlight, once I realized my true identity could only be found in Christ.”
Enrolling at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Germany and Australia, Chelsea’s love of adventure confirmed what she describes as her “vagabond heart.” Music came back into the picture as Chelsea learned to play guitar and piano, and became a worship leader. “Combining two passions – that’s the greatest job for me. When my heart is singing – not just my voice.”
Returning home to Los Angeles, she met Uncle Daddy through worship services at the historic Bel Air Presbyterian Church. The group’s rootsy Americana virtuosity was a natural fit for the project she envisioned. “TJ and Noah would come by and we’d talk about the arrangements. The rest of the band would arrive, jam for 20 minutes, and we’d record. It all fit together perfectly.”
Executive produced by Chelsea’s father, composer Guy Moon, and produced by Uncle Daddy, the mandolin and violin-rich tracks echo with plaintive Appalachian sincerity in “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” (written in 1882), and “Jesus Paid it All” (from 1865). Chelsea performs a version of “Hymn,” a similarly historic song, with a melody by contemporary artist Brooke Fraser. “Nothing But the Blood,” mixes acoustic flavors with R&B shadings. “Come Thou Fount” is a bluegrass excursion with the prescient lines, “Streams of mercy, never ceasing/They call for songs of loudest praise.” Chelsea notes that among her favorites is “Before the Throne of God Above,” with its dramatic shift in moods – from ethereal to epic.
Prominent among Chelsea’s influences are singer/songwriters Alison Krauss, Mindy Smith, Sara Groves, Brooke Fraser, and Audrey Assad – all artists who reveal spirituality, vulnerability and strength in their music.
After the release of her debut album, Chelsea continued to travel on the weekends & lead worship at different churches, while working as a full-time nanny during the week in Southern California. During 2011, she lived with her younger brother & sister (both musicians, as well) in Venice Beach, CA, where the seaside community offered spectacular vistas of bikes & the beach. She began contemplating singing about God's love in a full-time manner, as a career. She quotes these lines from Jesus to describe the creative process: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Chelsea released her sophomore album in March of 2012, entitled Hymn Project: Volume 2, in collaboration with two brothers from an Arkansas-based bluegrass family band, called the Franz Family. She had a big hand in arranging the collection of bluegrass hymns, and as an artist, she loved the challenge in having more ownership of the project from the ground up. She thoroughly enjoyed working with the brothers, (Emmett Franz on dobro & Caleb Franz on acoustic guitar & mandolin) and they completed a 5-month album release tour, from the Midwest US, Southern US, Arizona, California, and 7 countries in Continental Europe.
From Hymn Project: Vol. 2, "Trust & Obey", "How Firm A Foundation" and "What Wondrous Love Is This" are among her favorites, though she says it is difficult to decide, because every song is close to her heart and has ministered to her in a very personal way. The project was released on March 30th of 2012. Chelsea is "overwhelmed with the blessing of a life in which I can pursue music as I please. It was a fabulous experience working with the Franz Brothers; not only are they very gifted musicians, but they became great friends of mine; we’re like family!"
Since September of 2012, Chelsea has been on a long haitus as a recording artist. She took a vacation to New Zealand where she met her now husband, Anssi Viljanen, who is originally from Finland. They established a deep friendship and fell in love despite the distance, taking turns traveling back and forth from Finland to California.
During this time, Chelsea was diagnosed with a blood cancer, which came as a huge surprise to Chelsea and her entire family. Chelsea began her journey fighting cancer with research and experimentation at home, which lead her down a very different path of treatment than the vast majority of cancer patients in the US choose to take. Chelsea rejected conventional cancer treatments found in a hospital, and pursued healing through clean nutrition, juicing, exercise, chiropractic care and naturopathic treatments with an ND in Los Angeles. Despite Chelsea's illness and the demands on her time, she and Anssi continued to date long distance and were engaged in Helsinki, Finland in February 2014. Chelsea then joined her sister, Savannah Moon (also a recording artist and songwriter) for a short music tour to Sydney Australia in the Summer of 2014. During those two years, Chelsea saw huge improvements with her cancer and was issued a clean bill of health just before her wedding. Chelsea & Anssi were married in November 2014 at her childhood home in Northridge California. They settled in Los Angeles, pinching pennies and living on love. They are now expecting their first child, due on their 2nd year anniversary in November!
Through the last 4 years, Chelsea's heart for the Lord has continued to grow and she has been awaiting the right time to begin her recording career again. She says "It has been a season of stepping back and really figuring out who I am and what's important to me. But all the challenges and joys I have walked through these last years, have only increased my desire to sing about God and His love, so I am jumping back in with both feet and we will see where this goes!" As she approaches motherhood for the first time, Chelsea is also in the process of recording a full-length Christmas album with Mick Taras (worship leader at Calvary Chapel Monrovia) and Emmett Franz of the Franz Brothers. Chelsea has chosen an array of songs that are close to her heart, including some familiar classics, a feature from her favorite childhood Christmas movie "The Snowman," and even a song in the Finnish language. The album will be available for pre-order on her website and iTunes, starting October and is set to be released mid-November 2016.
Having spent most of her young years close to Hollywood, Chelsea holds no illusions about show business, or what others might perceive as measures of success. “I don’t look for circumstantial satisfaction. I do music because I love it. I want to go into this – and the rest of my life – with a sense of adventure and flexibility. God has great plans for me so I’ll let it come.”
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