Hello to all of you amazing young artists out there! This next interview in the series is going to be with Kevin Kelly, a close family friend (he’s more like my uncle lol) and a talented musician. I’d guess that I’ve know Kevin since I was seven or younger, but until reading his answers, never knew exactly how much music experience he really has. I encourage you to read through until the end because his story is super inspirational and he gives great advice! So, here it goes…
Q: Hey Kevin! Where are you from?
A: The USA, United Kingdom, Japan, NYC, and currently TX.
Q: When and how did your interest in music begin?
A: 1963. Just returned from living in London and hearing The Beatles. I was 14, with 8 years of singing in a famous church choir from Westfield NJ, had soloed in The Messiah at Carnegie Hall, directed by Leonard Bernstein, as well as Lincoln Center, NY, and knew that music would be playing a major part of my life. My primary talent is singing, and being able to read full orchestral.
Q: Wow I had no idea you’ve been in it that long! So would you say your experience with music hobby or career-based?
A: It has been both along the journey. I remember telling my Mom I wanted to be a rock star when I grew up. She told me I couldn’t do both.
Q: Loll. You definitely proved her wrong! What are some of the biggest opportunities you’ve been presented with over the years?
A: Auditioning for Leonard Bernstein in 1963, for solo performances in a variety of stage performances in New York City, both opera and symphony. Playing in various bands throughout Japan in the mid 60’s, to US Service men and military dependents.
Q: Who are some of your favorite artists?
A: Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Howard Shore, Sting, Alan Rubin,
Q: And who would you consider to be your best connection(s) in the industry?
A: Lou Marini, Mike Catalano, Tom Malone, Tom Anthony, and Tom Jones.
Q: What advice or words of wisdom do you have for my readers as well as myself?
A: Straight ahead and strive for tone. Write and play for yourself. Play live from time to time. It’s humbling.
Q: Wow, yeah! I haven’t even considered that I might preform something live one day! Okay, so what have been some of your biggest mistakes so far?
A: Probably not playing out more.
Q: Yeah. Now that I’m thinking about it I really look forward to the world returning to normal since so that can be more of a real possibility. But until then, I guess I’ll be working on all of the things that I will play live one day! Who would you consider as your mentor(s) in the industry?
A: James Taylor.
Q: Awesome! Do you have a few interesting and unrelated facts about yourself that you’d be willing to share?
A: Yes, I have 5 granddaughters, two of whom have perfect pitch. I still play in a killer rock band with my original band members. I am 71 and practice guitar every day, and learn new shit daily. It’s amazing.
Q: That’s honestly so inspirational! I’m learning guitar myself right now and in the beginning it’s so discouraging. But now, every time I think that it’s impossible, I can just think back to the fact that you are 71 and still practicing every day! I also find it incredible that you are rocking out with original band members… that an incredible rarity for most bands. Well, I think those are all of my questions. Do you have anything else you’d like to share with us before we go?
A: All cultures have music. Listen to them all. If you are drawn to a particular sound, get to know it’s culture, live in that country for a year or more and immerse yourself in life. It will impact your playing and writing. Try to play or sing everyday.
That’s such a beautiful truth to close off this interview with. I know that I really want to travel and I’m just scared that I’ll never find a reason, but what better excuse is there than music? On my home page it says that we “embrace all genres”, but maybe it should say that we “embrace all genres and cultures”. Anyways, thank you so much for participating Kevin! We’d love to hear some of your music!!