How Chel Is Reclaiming the Words 'Nasty Woman' With Her Empowering New Song
Chel's new song "Nasty Woman" is turning heads for all the right reasons, and the official music video, out today, is just as powerful and striking as the song itself.
It's an anthem against anyone who can't stand it when women are free and strong, and for all women who just want to be equal. There's no doubt that it captured our attention quickly, and the story behind it is just as captivating. That's why we were so delighted to get the chance to ask Chel all about the song and why it's so meaningful to her. Keep reading to find out more:
Sweety High: What was the inspiration behind "Nasty Woman," and what was the process of writing the song?
Chel: For the holidays, my grandma decided to send each of her grandchildren a little bit of money to do whatever they wanted with it. I decided to take that money and write a song in honor of my grandma.
My grandma is one of the most inspiring women I know. She was in the first class of women to go to Wharton Business School. She had four children and then went to American University for law school at the age of 45. She was one of only two women over the age of 30. She worked for Ralph Nader and helped pass bills that are still in effect today. She marched to protest the war in Vietnam. She started her own business in a male-dominated field. She put all of her grandchildren through college and for some, graduate school.
She has always been a woman without boundaries. She allowed me to see what it is to be a strong woman. She raised three strong women and because of the three strong women she raised (who are all equally impressive) she has strong granddaughters. We grew up knowing we could shoot for the stars because she paved the way.
I thought about how there is a trend in the current popular culture of calling strong women "nasty." I wanted to make a women's empowerment anthem that was both pretty and gritty. I wanted to speak on the fact that women are still paid substantially less to do the same job as a man. Women Olympians make half what the men make. I wanted to address women being objectified and turned against each other instead of supporting each other. I don't believe in superiority, but I believe in equality.
My grandma worked hard for change so that I could have the choice to live the life I live today. The reason this is important to me is because there is still change that needs to happen all around the world and it is being covered up. I want to make a statement and I want it to be loud. I want our daughters and granddaughters to know equality and if I can help move that ball, I want to do so.
SH: Do you have a favorite story about your grandmother defying expectations and being all-around amazing?
Chel: My grandma never worried about what was considered a man's job. Encouraged by her family, she worked where her passions took her. She didn't actively think she was empowering all women when she fought to do what she wanted in a man's world, she just didn't accept that it was off-limits. She didn't mind being the only woman, or one of two, she just focused on the goal. I think that is my biggest takeaway. Don't worry if it hasn't been done before, just keep going.
SH: What do those two words mean to you, and why have you really embraced them?
Chel: The words "nasty woman" have been used in a derogatory fashion, but to me, when I hear nasty woman, I think of a strong, liberated woman who isn't afraid to stand in her power. The women this phrase has been used against in the media are all empowered, smart women who have really taken a stance. I wanted to reclaim the words and give them a more powerful definition.
SH: What message do you want young women to take away from the song?
Chel: Hopefully it helps to feel empowered and ready to ask for what we deserve. I hope it makes us realize that there's still work to be done and challenges us to take action.
SH: What are the top things you've done to take care of yourself and embrace the skin you're in?
Chel: I had to really look inward. At some point, I realized that it had nothing to do with what I looked like on the outside but more so how I felt on the inside. You tell people how to treat you with your body language and how you carry yourself. That confidence comes from a deep acceptance of who you are. I really had to come to peace with who I am and decide that I loved that person for me to embrace the skin that I am in.
SH: Has it been a challenge to create music during this pandemic? How has your process changed, if at all?
Chel: In the beginning, it was. I mostly focused on the music that I already had and was releasing during that time. Once things started opening up, I got back in the studio! The biggest thing I changed was where I was putting my focus. I really branched into social media marketing and an online presence.
SH: What artists are really inspiring you right now?
Chel: I would say Lizzo is doing an amazing job with using her platform to encourage people to vote and to speak on body positivity and self-love. Tracee Ellis Ross is very inspiring and empowering. Lady Gaga uses her platform to speak on the power we have as individuals. I really look up to all of these women.
Looking for your own sense of empowerment? Click HERE to learn more about how to empower yourself, and others, by standing up to mean girls.