How Brady Lee and Kelsey Lamb Explored Curiosity About Old Flames in 'Stranger in a Photograph'

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through an ex's Instagram feed? It's not that you'd ever want to be with them again—just that you're curious, and hope they're doing okay.

If that sensation feels familiar, then country singer-songwriter Brady Lee's new single, "Strangers in a Photograph," featuring American Song Contest alum Kelsey Lamb, was made for you. The stunning country duet is heartfelt and open, exploring those times you feel like taking a walk down memory lane, and checking in on an old love. Both voices work so perfectly together—with the duet making it clear that these moments aren't always one-sided. We knew it was special from the moment we first heard it, and we had the pleasure of speaking with both Brady and Kelsey about what inspired the track and how their powerful collaboration came to be.

The Story Behind 'Strangers in a Photograph'

Brady Lee: In this hyper-digital age, it's so crazy how connected we are and how fast the world changes. One minute you are best friends with a person, and the next, they're across the world and you never see them again except through a phone screen. I have this tendency to deep-dive into things, and I wrote this song after I noticed an old ex of mine was still viewing my stories on Instagram. It hit me hard because I've never seen her like a post, leave a comment or anything, but she watches my stories. Just a little interesting, to say the least.


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What 'Strangers in a Photograph' Means

Brady: To me, "SIAP" is this kind of cathartic coming to terms with something we all experience—checking in on old flames. I don't have any desire to start something up again with those people, but sometimes you're just genuinely curious. I want people to get comfortable knowing it's not weird to do that. Nothing wrong with curiosity.

Kelsey Lamb: When Brady first sent me this song, it immediately took me back to my high school prom photos. I actually went back and looked at them and realized, holy crap, I haven't talked to that guy since we graduated high school. That's crazy. I truly think we would be strangers if we saw each other again, which is exactly what Brady wrote this song about, and I love that I could put myself right into the story and visualize it, and I just know that the listeners are going to be able to do the same thing with their own stories!

Strangers in a Photograph promo image with Brady Lee and Kelsey Lamb backs turned to each other

(Photo credit: Kelsey Cotton)


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On the Collab

Brady: Kelsey was just perfect. Her brand and style of singing fit so smoothly into this song. I feel like this song is as much me as it is her, and that's super sweet. I originally didn't write this song as a duet, but after a few phone calls with my manager, it was clear that having Kelsey Lamb on the track would really drive home my intended message that sometimes you're just genuinely curious about old friends, and that we all go through those questions. We didn't know each other that well before this process, and now she's definitely a true friend in this biz!

Kelsey: This collaboration actually came about pretty naturally. Brady sent me the song, I fell in love with it, and it was a super easy yes for me! Working with Brady has been so much fun. He is such a talented artist and musician. He makes it easy.

Strangers in a Photograph promo image with Brady Lee and Kelsey Lamb smiling with each other

(Photo credit: Kelsey Cotton)


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Favorite Lyrics

Brady: My favorite line is, "Do you think I could still make you laugh when I talk about my big plans?" It's because that's real to me. I would tell people I want to tour, be an artist and live this life, and everyone would give me this half-hearted laugh. I can remember those laughs starting all the way back in like fourth or fifth grade. To me, that line, in this song, is this tongue-in-cheek question that's both a little sarcastic while being totally honest.

Kelsey: "I'm over you and you're over me, but that doesn't mean that I don't miss it," is hands down my favorite line of this entire song. It is such a simple, impactful line that holds so much meaning. I think that, as humans, we feel bad when we admit that we miss someone or a time in our life because we think that it means we aren't over it—but it's perfectly normal to miss who you used to be, or a moment in time, or just being young. I think that's such a cool point that Brady got across in these lyrics!

Strangers in a Photograph promo image with Brady Lee and Kelsey Lamb

(Photo credit: Kelsey Cotton)


Curious about more of our fave music from the week? Click HERE to read our interview with NERIAH on her new single, "FALLING 4 SOMEBODY."