Kelea Dear Sir Madam
Dear Sir Madam, a song by Western Australian artist Kelea, was recently nominated for the WAM Song of the Year (Folk). The track, about ageism and unemployment, was featured by Ashton Applewhite on her social media, appeared on forbes.com following an interview with Richard Eisenberg and was also featured by Susan Flory on her podcast “The Big Middle” (US).
We spoke to Kelea about why she wrote the track.
"I wrote the song because, well quite frankly, I was angry. I have both law and commerce degrees and over twenty years experience in corporate environments. Yet after carefully and meticulously applying for numerous, relevant roles over the course of several months in 2018, I couldn’t even get one call back.
There were other things too that came to mind. I remember seeing a mature man on a bus in suit with a briefcase who looked sad and disappointed. I had a female friend in her sixties - perfectly qualified with outstanding presentation - who I watched get knocked backed over and over for over two years. I remembered corporate redundancy packages during times when companies were laying off staff.
And I was frustrated with empty, pointless emails (assuming I received them at all) saying “we wish you well in your future endeavours”.
These frustrations just “bubbled up” and finally spilt over. And out came “Dear Sir Madam”. I didn’t even realise the song was about ageism at that point. It was only subsequently I thought “hey this is about ageism” and then I thought - who can I reach out to who has also experienced this? That’s when I found Ashton Applewhite, Susan Flory, Richard Eisenberg, Every Age Counts and The Benevolent Society.
And now, after learning more about ageism from these amazing people and organisations, I look at the world in a whole new way. Covid is exposing ageism in its rawest forms. And the music industry is also rife with ageism.
So that is my next challenge - one I’m battling every single day. Trying to educate people to look at age differently. Removing the stereotypes. Because I firmly believe that intergenerational solidarity is the key to the future of humankind. We have to evolve. Like my first song Evolution.
And that’s why I use the hashtag #evolvewithme And as part of my evolution, I’m releasing a brand new EP and launching it on 23rd October at the Gingin Hotel, Perth with my debut band The Keleans - who are a diverse age group of regional musicians hired for their amazing talent, not their age!"
Watch the video above!