The Desert Pulse artist spotlight on Kelly Sweet.
Kelly Sweet is one of those rare singers who can touch your most intimate emotions with just a word. Born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, into a musical household, her jazz pianist father and artist mother, fostered a love and respect for music beginning when she was just an infant. She was raised on the jazz standards that were a part of her father’s repertoire. Kelly gravitated to her father’s side at the piano to learn musical notes soon after she could walk. Naturally, she stunned Cape Cod Conservatory with her first public performance at only 4 years old.
Following her parents’ divorce, at the age of seven, Kelly and her mother sought a simpler life in Kanab, Utah. It was in this quaint southwestern desert outpost the seeds were planted that would lead to the blossoming of Sweet’s unique professional career. Working regularly with some of the world’s best vocal coaches in nearby Las Vegas, NV, Kelly honed her skills as a young performer as she frequented state fairs, county festivals, and community theaters.
At the age of fourteen, Kelly Sweet was already performing multiple national anthems in stadiums around the country and opening for legendary musical acts like Kenny Loggins. She was also writing and recording with several professional producers in Los Angeles in the quest to find her own sound. It was one of those producers, Mark Portmann (Josh Groban, Celine Dion), that helped create her debut album, “We Are One” in 2004 when she was sixteen. Two years later, at only eighteen, Kelly Sweet signed her first major record deal with Razor and Tie. “We Are One” was subsequently released in the spring of 2007. She was supported by a truly global tour, where she opened for Paul simon, Marc Cohn, Dave Koz, and more–creating an international movement of fans from New York to Tokyo.
After moving to Los Angeles at 20, Kelly began to explore new musical directions allowing her to better embody her emotional and ethereal writing style. Over the next two years, Kelly Sweet became quite the globetrotter writing and recording hundreds of songs with songwriters and producers in London, New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Writing and recording with people including Robert Marvin (Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert), Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue), and Biff Stannard (Spice Girls, Robyn) during this creatively cathartic period resulted in her album “Ashes Of My Paradise.”
Just as the album was reaching completion, tragedy struck. Both of Kelly Sweet’s parents, separately, entered their final months in their battling cancer. Putting her musical career on hold for the next year, Kelly spent her time by their sides caring for them–down to their final hours. Such a trying time gave birth to a new depth of inspiration in her music. Two months after the death of her father, “Ashes Of My Paradise” was released in Japan by JVC/Victor in 2012. However, even after years of work, due to record label disagreements, the album was never released in the United States.
Not to be discouraged, Kelly released a few of the key songs from “Ashes Of My Paradise” (including video for the title track) online and began to perform the songs at venues all over Los Angeles. She parted ways with her record label, Razor and Tie, in late 2013 and began recording her own music independently. Her powerful, cinematic cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” has sold over 40,000 copies, earning over a million plays on YouTube and enjoyed dozens of national TV placements, including a 2014 Super Bowl halftime commercial.
Kelly Sweet’s success with her electronic explorations garnished the attention of many of the world’s top electronic music producers and DJ’s including Dash Berlin. Berlin helped lead her into the dance music world. Writing on themes of peace, love, unity, and respect, Kelly felt at home in such a diverse, yet trending group of music genres. After only two years, Kelly has managed to secure collaborations and features with some of the biggest DJ brands in the world.
Kelly was born into music and continues living in the music world. She continues to explore and evolve as a musician. Her talent is strong and passion is deep. Kelly Sweet continues to supply music lovers’ craving for honest, intimate, emotional music that only comes along from the rarest of singers for years to come.