May 2023 Music
L i b b a K e l l y
What inspired you to begin your musical journey?
I’ve always had a lot of love and respect for musical theater – it’s really where music took hold of me. Having a story that is driven though acting and song is really special. There’s a lot of drama to it, and it’s a lot of fun to perform. I credit musical theater for awakening a love for music – the memorable melodies and sharp, emotional lyrics that transport you. I chose to study music and really invest in learning about different genres. It’s truly a passion for me. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
"Having a story that is driven though acting and song is really special. There’s a lot of drama to it, and it’s a lot of fun to perform. I credit musical theater for awakening a love for music – the memorable melodies and sharp, emotional lyrics that transport you".
How would you describe your musical style?
I think my sound is a mix of soul, pop, and rock. I’m so inspired by powerhouse vocals like Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion, and Adele. They infuse every song with everything they have. They take us through their emotional journey, and we feel what they are feeling. It’s a joy even when it’s heartbreaking.
Tell us more about your band. How did you all meet and what started the collaboration?
I had just moved back from Nashville as we were emerging from the doom and gloom of COVID, and live music was starting to come back. Initially, I was thinking I would find a keyboardist and go from there. I stumbled onto a Facebook group of musicians and posted there, and ended up with a bass player. He talked me into forming a band -- and together we did! It all started on Facebook, and it’s been a great resource for us. We all met and played for a while. Through schedules and other commitments, changes were made along the way. We’ve got a great group now. We are all very passionate about our music and really enjoy collaborating on building songs, tinkering with sounds and creating something new. We enjoy each other and share a deep love for the indie music culture. The road we chose isn’t easy, but we are fulfilled by the work, and are having a great time sharing it.
Are tere any other pivotal people who played a role in your musical career?
I’m so thankful for my family. They support me unconditionally and are on the journey with me. When it came time to apply to college, I saw many friends give up on their creative dreams to study something their parents thought would provide for a more stable future. My family understood my passion for music and encouraged me to major in it. It was a wonderful music education. It really opened my eyes to many aspects of creating, performing and production. My family are my biggest fans. Their encouragement means the world to me.
Outside music, what are some other hobbies you enjoy doing?
I live in San Francisco, so walking up and down hills not only keeps my blood flowing, it also helps me clear my head. The cityscape has many sounds and rhythms to it, which I think unconsciously seep in. I've also gotten into journaling, which allows me to focus on myself, but also occasionally illuminates moments in time, or emotions that inform my songwriting. Yoga is my latest endeavor. I'm really enjoying the quiet introspection of it.
What are some locations and places you've performed at?
All over Northern California:
Maggie McGarry's in North Beach
West Portal at an intimate Wine Bar
Slate Bar in Mission District
Vinnie's Bar in Concord
Coyote Sonoma in Healdsburg
Rooftop Bar in Berkley
Viansa Winery in Sonoma
JAM Cellars in Napa
Winter's Tavern in Pacifica
TIPS Roadside and Palooza in Kenwood in Sonoma County
Kibitz Room Los Angeles
20 year anniversary of 9/11 in downtown San Francisco
Roscoe's Jazz Lounge in Long Beach, CA
Are there any challenges you had to overcome as an artist?
I think the biggest challenge is managing my own negative thoughts and doubts. Even after enjoying external positive feedback, I find that I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to self talk. I know that this negativity is manufactured. I push through it to perform, and truly love what I do.
Do you have a favorite song?
I adore Skyfall by Adele. I've had the pleasure of seeing Adele perform it live twice. I love the slow start, the orchestral build that envelops you, and then its sudden haunting turn at the end. It's a musical journey that I never tire of.
You have a pretty cool fashion style! How would you describe your fashion?
That’s a tough one. I supposed I’d call it Elegant Boho. I love ballgowns – always have. I always have some added sparkle when I perform. Whether it’s statement earrings, necklace, or a bit of glitter. I guess I like a bit of glam!
What are some words of advice you can give to new musical artists releasing their debut album?
Just release the music! Don’t be afraid to put your music out there. You are your biggest critic, and you’ll always find something to pick on. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of nitpicking. It’s never going to be perfect. Your music is how you express yourself and your emotion. Musicians are wired to share their music because we know others feel the same way, but they can’t express it. That’s why songs have fans and people come together to sing the same song – they get it – and want to express it too. Nothing is perfect about music. We’re all imperfect and we get to express our imperfections through song.
"Just release the music! Don’t be afraid to put your music out there. You are your biggest critic, and you’ll always find something to pick on. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of nitpicking. It’s never going to be perfect. Your music is how you express yourself and your emotion".