Interview with Kelsey Ellison

Kelsey_Fluffy-resize400“I was obsessed with her Harajuku Girls and their style,” explains Kelsey Ellison on how Gwen Stefani’s backup dancers started her interest in Japanese culture. “I started to learn more about Japan and I also started to watch a bit of anime.” This in turn led to Kelsey searching for Hare Hare Yukai from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on YouTube. “I found that people did dance covers to songs from anime and to J-pop. I love dancing, and J-pop, so I thought it would be a cool hobby to do!”

Hailing from Yorkshire, Kelsey initially used YouTube to upload anime music videos, vlogs and song covers. Having trained as a dancer, in September 2010 she uploaded her first dance cover to Hare Hare Yukai. Since then, Kelsey’s YouTube channel includes dance covers to J-pop and K-pop, vlogs, singing, tutorials, fashion reviews and alpacas. With over 50,000 channel subscribers, her videos have achieved over six million views. She has also performed at many conventions, including the MCM London Comic Con.

In April 2014 she released her single Pom Pom, written by Maya Von Doll and Dimitri Tikovoi, and produced by Ben Berry. As well as talking to Kelsey about Pom Pom, we also covered awesome clothing, her inspirations and her time on YouTube.


You mention that your first dance cover (Hare Hare Yukai) was done as a dare. Care to elaborate?

I was hesitant to upload a cover, so some of my online friends at the time egged me on!

With a lot of awesome clothes, dresses, wigs, accessories etc, what would you say are your top favourite stores to purchase from (online or on the high street)?

That is a really hard question! It changes everyday depending on what mood I’m in! Although I know my favourite wigs are the ones I got from the website Lockshop wigs. I have a long straight black one and a blonde one with pastel colours in, and they are so fun to wear!

What would you say was your best find, or bargain?

Anything I’ve got from Primark! I’ve got some really cute but cheap stuff from there over the years.

How much of a struggle is it for you to find clothes in your size?

It’s not too bad actually. Offline it can be hard, because a lot of stores only have a limited amount of size 6’s. But online, it’s a lot easier. Also, I shop in the kids section for skirts and jeans sometimes!

Kelsey burger (choies) Kelsey romwe stripe

Have you ever changed your mind on clothing you brought? For example, liked it, but then changed how you felt about it, or bought something only to wear it once?

Yeah, I think everyone has at some point! I got this really cute long sleeved, polo neck tartan crop top, but when I got home and put it on, it really didn’t suit me. I have a sister though, so we exchange clothes sometimes.

What would you say is a favourite video (or videos) of yours that you’ve uploaded; one that you go back to and think, “This was perfect!”

I always think my videos have room for improvement, but I was really proud of my Bad Apple video, and I still am! I was really happy with how my Air Balloon (Japanese Version) video came out too! Also, can I count my music video for Pom Pom? That has to be my all time favourite one!

Given the amount of times you have complained about it in your video descriptions, are you still using Sony Vegas?

Oops! I didn’t notice I complained about it that much. I’m still using it. It’s a really good program, and I can’t really afford to switch to another, so I’ve just stuck by with it and gotten used to the problems it sometimes gives me. It can be frustrating though when you want to get a video done and it doesn’t want to work!

Congratulations on Pom Pom and the video’s 150,000+ views. How long did it take for you to put Pom Pom together, from conception to finally releasing the video?

Thank you so much! I’m overwhelmed by the views! We didn’t have much PR on it, so I’m still really happy and thankful it’s gotten that many views! We had the song decided around the beginning of last year, and we worked a lot on it to get it produced and sounding like it does today. We started the concept of the video in December 2013 and filmed it in January 2014; then it took a few months to edit and get ready.

Given the reaction to Pom Pom, is there a follow up in the works?

Yes, there is! I can’t talk about what music I’m releasing yet, so it’s top secret, haha. I’ve loved working on Pom Pom and music is something I’m really passionate about.

When it comes to dance covers, what has been an inspiration for you? Also, what inspires you when it comes to your vlogs and sketches?

The people that inspired me to start were Kozue Aikawa and Beckii Cruel, but now just the whole J-pop/K-pop dance community inspires me! And of course the amazing songs from Japan and Korea make me want to get up and start dancing! For vlogs, there are a lot of people I watch on YouTube, but at the moment, SuperWoman has been really inspiring me to vlog more and be positive.

How does it make you feel knowing that you’re an inspiration to many others?

It feels very strange! I’ve just been doing what I love, and if that inspires others to do that, it makes me feel very happy!

Did you ever think that you would end up inspiring others?

No, I didn’t! It all just started as a hobby. When I started to upload videos, I just wanted to join in, I didn’t even think about inspiring others at that time.

Similarly, how does it make you feel seeing people uploading dance covers to Pom Pom?

It makes me feel so, so happy. I’m just really overwhelmed and surprised by the support! I’ve loved every single dance cover!

You were a part of Oishii!!Ichigo. What would you say were your highlights during your time with Oishii!!?

Because we all lived really far away from each other, the live Skype sessions were always really fun! Also I loved meeting up with Beckii and rehearsing with Cherry and Scarlett [Young] when we were performing at conventions. It was a very fun, relaxing atmosphere.

What are your thoughts on current UK/YouTube performers right now? In your view do you think that an independent idol scene here in the UK is something that could happen in the future?

I’m loving the fact that more and more people are wanting to perform live at conventions. I’ve enjoyed also being an audience member watching others, as well as performing myself. In my honest opinion, I don’t think there can be an idol scene in the UK. Well, there can be an underground one, but I don’t think it would ever go mainstream because the UK is just not suited to that.

You mentioned once in a vlog about how some people can feel pressured to be amazing and make themselves popular on YouTube so that they can feel worthy. Have you felt this way yourself? Do you feel that you’ve had to create a balance in doing what people want to see with doing what you wish to do?

I’ve never felt like I need to be popular on YouTube to feel worthy, because there’s more to life than that. But I have felt the pressure to make videos that people want to see, rather than what I want to do. Some viewers say they don’t like the singing videos, and just want to see me dance, but I love singing as much as dancing, so it’s hard to please everyone. I came to the conclusion, if they don’t like it, it’s not the end of the world. I’m just going to stay true to myself and upload what I enjoy.

What would you say you’ve learnt the most during your time on YouTube?

I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my self-confidence. I was never this confident to wear what I wanted or perform what I wanted before I [uploaded on] YouTube.


Will we be seeing you perform at an MCM event again in the future?

I won’t be at October’s this year, but I do plan to come back next year!

Are we likely to see the character Eleanor Bloomsbury again?

She may make a surprise appearance in the future… maybe in a music video? Haha!


A big thank you to Kelsey for taking the time out for the interview. You can view Kelsey’s videos by subscribing to her YouTube channel. You can also visit her Facebook page.

Images by Kelsey Ellison and Sophie Keen.

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