Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Kelly Erez: Ahhh Kelly

Kelly Erez @bluesandsoul.com
Kelly Erez @bluesandsoul.com

New London R&B singer Kelly Erez is creating a bit of a buzz with her debut album, âCome To Me.â So exactly who is Kelly Erez? She takes up her own storyâ¦.

âA bubbly, friendly, enthusiastic and spiritual person with a positive outlook in life. Someone who finds music a great inspiration in life. My music is all about reaching people with messages that they can relate to, and hopefully be inspired by.â

âMy album is 11 R&B/soul songs about my life's love and personal experiences. It is R&B soul, with an element of jazz and blues in a couple of songs, e.g. 'Not The Girl' and 'Better Everyday'. Vocally, I'm inspired by Brian McKnight, early Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, Maxwellâ¦"

Her favourite song on the impressive album, is âNot the Girl. She says it is âan honest stripped back soul/blues/jazz track about being with someone for three years, only to find out that they say you're not the right person for them. My response: 'If I'm not the girl then you're not the boy.'â

She reveals that the story in âNot The Girlâ actually happened the other way around â she was with someone for a while trying to make it work, but something just didn't feel right...so she ended it. Ouch!

Kelly has been writing with some big names. Her sister Natalie is a writer and producer, and was by Kellyâs side for this album and the writing of the songs. Kelly wrote one with Ian Carter, the Mercury nominated producer, who mixed her album. Rob Davis (Kylie,) Winston Sela (Gabrielle, Maxi Priest), Aubrey Nunn (Faithless), Steve Bush (Corinne Bailey-Rae, Stereophonics) and Martin Sutton (Celine Dion) are all recent co-writers with Kelly.

So how did her singing and writing career start? âI was singing since I could talk. I wrote my first song at the keyboard when I was seven. I started recording in (home) studios when I was 13. During school and University (BA Hons Marketing and Advertising) I worked with different producers in different studios.â

When Kelly was in her teens, she got through to the finals of Choice FM's Rapology '99, after sending in a demo of an R&B track she co-wrote. She walked out on to the Royal Festival Hall's stage in front of an audience of 2,000 people, but for some âapparently political reason,â she was booed before she even sang one note. Kele le Roc was one of the shocked judges.

But that didn't stop one determined Kelly Erez, and with her mum cheering loudly, Kelly began to sing - and turned those boos in to cheers. Way to go girlâ¦

Music is her main focus today, but she has held various jobs. At 16 she was working two jobs - one âsampling Pick N' Mix in Woolworthsâ and the other in a hairdressing salon where her sister worked. Other jobs included in-store product promotions, giving away newspapers at tube stations at 5 o'clock in the morning, makeovers at exhibitions and office work.

She has worked with young offenders and ex-offenders, delivering motivational courses about the importance of staying positive and working hard while you dream. She qualified as a life-coach two years ago.

But it is when she is singing that she feels most at home, and which she believes she was born to do. She is very sure about her own identity as an artist, and what she will and will not do to further her career. One thing is certain; she refuses to make image compromises to make it in the music industry, in terms of being âover sexually exposed.â She says: âIt should be about the music, not about showing too much body....â Amen to that.

There are a couple of lines in the song âXtra Xtra,â that refers to how easy it is to put up negative comments online about someoneâs look, with a few keyboard strokes, but how much that can affect the people it's written about. âWhy do you feel the need to curse what's on the screen? Virtual can sometimes switch to reality, but it's just the way you play the game. I put myself into the frame...Do you need Xtra Xtra? Do I need to fit the perfect picture...?â

So, is she happy with her first born record? âIt's taken a few years and I'm really excited about sharing it with the world.â So it seems, are some heavyweight VIPs⦠Fans include Tony Blackburn, BBC 6âs Tom Robinson and 1Xtraâs Target. With a growing loyal fan-base (she funded her debut EP with fansâ cash), and staying in the top three of the Reverb Nation chart most of last year, Kelly is surely one to watch. The surname Erez originates in Israel and means âCedar Tree.â Apt then, that cedar trees are coniferous types of trees, occurring at very high altitudes. Kelly aims to reach dizzy heights herself one dayâ¦..

âCome To Meâ on Definition Music is available on CD from the link below. You can also download from iTunes and all major download stores...

Click for Kelly's video for single Come To Me
Words SIMON REDLEY

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