Los Angeles based-indie-pop singer Chelsea Lankes is on the rise. With a forthcoming EP and plenty of singles released, her music has been reaching the ears of more and more people and garnering more and more fans. Her brand of pop is familiar and new all at once.

While she has plenty of songs that are on the more dream-pop spectrum, her latest single, 'Bullet' is set to fire her straight to the top of your playlist. It will have you dancing in your seat at work while you long for it to be Friday night already.

But what about her influences? We all make assumptions about the music our favorite artists enjoy, but the 405 knows that there are always hidden gems and surprises once a musician begins opening up. I recently called up Miss Lankes one Friday evening to discuss her influences and her journey as a musician.

So when I was getting all of this setup, I was told you were going back and forth between LA and Nashville. So what are you up to in Nashville?

Well, my boyfriend lives there. But mainly just the music stuff. I have a ton of friends there and I'm considering, maybe, moving back there. But, now, I don't know- because I'm kind of in-between and I love both cities so much and I'm getting the best of both worlds. Just, I'm living in the limbo at the moment- but I think that's a good thing.

I understand that. Now, you said moving back to Nashville. Are you originally from Nashville? Or, where are you from?

I'm originally form Texas. But, I spent about 5 years in Nashville before I moved to LA. So, it feels like home; I've spent a lot of time there. But, I mean, like, yeah. I don't know. I kind of can't decide at the moment. There's good things and bad things about both cities. I'm just weighing my options at the moment. And really, I just need to be where I need to be for music stuff. So, that kind of dictates where I am and what I'm doing because that's my main focus.

Definitely. So, you're originally form Texas. Is that where you got your start with music? How did you come about doing music? Did you sing and play instruments when you were young?

Yeah! My mom was a singer. So, growing up, she was always singing. She's in love with music. So, that kind of got put in my brain as a young kid. She put me in piano lessons. So I was doing that, when I was like 6 years old or something, up until junior high- until I felt like I was too cool to do that. Then, I picked up the guitar in high school and learned how to play that. And, attempted to write songs. I tried. You know I tried writing poetry and being an angsty teenager.

Oh, we've all been there.

[Laughs] Yeah, I think if anybody - I know for sure there are some people from high school that have some recording of me singing or doing something - that would definitely be blackmail at this point.

But, yeah. I've just always loved music. I think when I was about 20 years old was when I really strongly considered doing it as a career. And I had someone take some interest in me and do a demo for me. And I got a feel for what it would be like. I started to write for other people when I moved to Nashville and that's when I think I started actually learning a lot and growing. But yeah, my mom definitely, definitely, is the reason why I love music and started singing and all that good stuff.

Nice! So, were there any particular artists or albums your mom played while you were growing up that are ingrained in you?

Oh, yeah. Elvis, being number one. She has this strong passion for Elvis, and always has. And I kind of always thought she was a little weird - but now, I really appreciate it because he's such an icon. We used to watch all his movies and listen to all his records. I think, growing up in Texas, I was also definitely influenced by country music. I loved The Eagles. I still love The Eagles a lot. I've gone back recently and have been visiting old records like The Smiths, The Cure, and New Order, and The Velvet Underground, and Paul Simon- just listening back to the great artists that have transcended time. Really, just kind of appreciating that. Because, I think sometimes I get a little tired of the current music trends. I feel like we are over-saturated with new music constantly and it is important to go back to the roots and to listen to what is influencing all of us now, basically.

Oh, definitely. And I can hear that in your music, too. It has that more ethereal, dream-pop sound. Not what I would generalize as just radio-pop. Like, as soon as you mentioned New Order and The Smiths, I was like, "Okay, I get that." So, are there any newer artists who have influenced you? Where you're like, "Yeah, I can dig that"?

Oh, I definitely am super into St. Lucia, and Alvvays; Panama, Tove Lo, Wolf Alice. I love Ellie Goulding and Coldplay. I know that's kind of not cool, but...

No, No. Too many people focus on what's cool or not. All that matters is what influences you. And what you like.

Yeah! Well I definitely had my faves in high school. Like listening to them will take me back to driving in my first car like - and this might incriminate me, -I freaking love Bryan Adams so much. Or like, going through the pop-punk phase: Something Corporate, Dashboard Confessional, and I mean, I loved emo, pop-punk stuff then.

Oh, I have songbooks with all the guitar tabs for a couple different Dashboard records. So trust me, you're not alone in that...

[Laughs] I don't know. I feel like my range of music is all over the place. Because like, at the same time, I love Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. You know, just the huge major pop stars at the time. I'm kind of all over the place.

But, because of that, do you find that helps you in the studio when coming up with different ideas of what a song could sound like?

I hope so. I feel like because I've had such a wide range of things that I've listened to... well there's some artists that hone in on one sound and just emulate that. And they'll sound like those other artists. I feel like I rarely get compared to other artists. And when I do, it's more like on a production end of things. With my voice, because I've listened to so many different things growing up, that I kind of have my own sound. And I like that because I'm not trying to imitate someone else. I sound how I sound. If I tried to sound different, it wouldn't be good.

And I don't have a lot of music theory under my belt. So, when I write, a lot of it is intuition. And I think that helps because I'm not limited to what would technically be correct. You know? I can kind of think outside the box.

I totally get that. You mentioned that you would write poetry back in high school. Is there any literature, or poets, or other writers who have influenced you or got you into wanting to write anything creative?

Absolutely. I love E.E. Cummings. It's always very whimsical. A couple of his poems really struck a chord with me. His most popular one, 'I Carry Your Heart with Me'. And then another poem, 'Love is a Place', that one especially. Those are... I go back to those ones a lot, actually. And then John Steinbeck. I read East of Eden and to this day it is one of my favorite books ever; it's profound. Both of those writers capture the human condition so well. They make what we experience throughout our lives sound beautiful; beautiful in the sense not that it's perfect but that it's real and the pain and good and bad all together. I would highly recommend reading it if you haven't.

I've read some Steinbeck and that one is still on my list.

Well, what's interesting with that one is it has a lot of biblical parallels. So, you know, it's a story about generations and how things get passed on through generations, and overcoming certain things. And, it's just really interesting. And it's a big, big book.

Also C.S. Lewis. Disregard, you know, what you might believe, or religious background. He is such a poignant writer and gets down to the point so easily. He just writes with such clarity which I really like.

This is really good to hear. I think the various arts sometimes feel they are in competition with each other. When really, we're kind of all on the same team. But besides literature, any other disciplines influence you? Like maybe paintings or photographs?

I would say more so movies. I will see a movie and it will always inspire me. Like, any Sofia Coppola movie - Lost in Translation or Virgin Suicides. Like, visually, I love those movies so much. I love her style as a director. And then Baz Luhrmann, those movies kind of get me going.

For art and paintings, I've recently started to get into that... so like, Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock. I'm starting to appreciate contemporary and abstract things. I think everything can be inspiring. It just depends on how you receive it.

Nice. So switching gears a little bit, I know you have an EP coming out soon...

Yeah! I'm super excited because for the last 3 years I've just been releasing singles and I'm excited to have a whole piece of work. And I hope this is a precursor to making an album because that would be my dream. I don't have an exact release date. But I'm shooting a video for 'Home', so I get to do that when I get back. So, this year is starting off to be creatively rewarding.

That sounds great. I'm looking forward to the EP. So, I don't want to keep you too much longer so just two more things. Now, first song that pops in your head, name a song that you wish you had written. Don't overthink it, just first song that comes to mind.

Hmm.... I sincerely, undeniably will always love 'Teenage Dream' by Katy Perry. I will always wish I had written that song because I think it is the perfect pop song.

And last but not least, as an up-and-coming artist getting more press and coming into your own with an EP, are there any words of advice you would give to people who are in the same shoes you were in even just a couple of years ago?

Absolutely. I think for me personally, my road to creating and making music and being an independent artist for as long as I have been, I think... well I have a few things: appreciating time, not feeling rushed. Because all the time that has gone by has allowed me to become a better artist. And I feel like I'm my best now. Five years ago I was wishing for thing to start happening and "get a deal" and all these things. When, really, it's not about that. It's about creating good music and I had to allow time to become a better artist and person. Which has allowed me to create better art. So that being one.

Two, working side jobs for a long time to live and provide for myself and my music- which can be a heavy weight to carry at times. But I definitely think that too is good. Things haven't been handed to me. I've had to work really hard to get where I am and will continue to do that. All the days where I was working 12-hour shifts somewhere and then going to the studio afterwards and then doing the whole thing over again, being exhausted, has made me stronger. And it makes me appreciate and be humble and grateful for anything that comes my way. So my advice would be to be present and appreciate the journey. I know that sounds cheesy. But just appreciate the parts that are really not fun. And that hard work is shaping you and molding you into a better artist. And that is the end goal.