Astra Kelly
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Astra Kelly


Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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Santa Fe singer/ songwriter and Chicago transplant. Astra Kelly has released an EP of incredibly well crafted and thought provoking songs. This is by far one of the best local albums I’ve heard in a very long time. Standouts are “Spanishtown” and “Break the Glass” with lines like, “pain is an emotional teacher and if it is knowledge we seek, why are we afraid to experience everything?” – S.M. - Transmission Magazine

With an intense delivery that bespeaks Ani DiFranco, Astra Kelly practices a hard-edged yet folkish, ever-so-slightly jazzy brand of emotional exorcism. – D.P.

- The Santa Fe Reporter

The music is hard-driving, strumming acoustic guitar. The lyrics read like poetry with phrases that find permanent homes in your head. Throughout her music, Astra strings sentences together that connect as something universal. – J.A.

- Wright College of Chicago

"Astra Kelly's self-titled EP is a shock to the faithful listener. The mix of Kelly's crafted verse and just-beyond-folk sound, holds true to its soulful sincerity. "How Long" is a heartfelt inquiry, and "Soulin" successfully brings out the folk-root sound. Assuming the EP is a preview of larger visions, one does hope the inevitable, expanded (and merited) project scraps unnecessary production and sticks to the grass roots strength of acoustic guitar, poetic verse and beautiful voice." - Dan Cummings - Hyperactive Music Magazine

Kelly's Astral Local Acclaim Continues!!

Many local performers have quickly gained a foothold in the local scene, but singer songwriter, Astra Kelly's rise has been nothing less than meteoric. Relocating to San Diego from Chicago in 2006, she has become one of the area's top promoters of local music, a DJ on KPRI and a host of KNSD-TV's "Concerts on the Square" show. But performing remains her first love. While there is no shortage of singer-songwriters today. Kelly infuses her tunes with just enough rock n roll edge to keep things fresh while keeping the melody quotient in her music high.
- San Diego Downtown News


Forthcoming - Summer 2009
Interim - 2007 - Production Demo
Astra Kelly - EP/ Rockaway Records - 2004
Females on Fire, compilation/ Warrior Girl Music - 2004
Digifest Southwest - Compilation/ Digifest Film Fest - 2004
Acoustic Soul Live - Live solo performance/
Rockaway Records - 2001
Big Fish, Little Fish - Emerging Women in Chicago Music, Compilation/ Sweet Pickle Music - 2000
Subtown Rituals - Studio/ Rockaway Records - 1999
Safety First - Compilation/ Emphasis Music - 1999
Chicago Rapid Transit - Compilation/ Novo Records - 1999
SUMO - Live @ Elbo Room, Chicago - 1997
Stones, Bones, Boxes - Home Studio/ Rockaway Records - 1996



Since moving to San Diego in July of 2006, Astra has been nominated twice for a San diego Music Award. She's appeared in the pages of City Beat, The San Diego Reader, The NC times, and The SD Troubadour. She’s been heard on Java Jams (CTN/Channel 4), FOX ROX (Fox Channel 6), KUSI Good Morning San Diego, on the air at 94/9 with Tim Pyles, and on 102.1 KPRI where she DJ’s their Saturday night local music show, The KPRI Homegrown Hour (9pm). In summer 2008, she was guest host for KNSD TV/NBC 7/39 and KPRI's "Concerts on the Square.

She was born in Marvel, AR. and delivered by Dr. Wise. Her early interest in music was fueled by family jams, school choirs and formal music studies. Her universal solo style has developed into a sound she calls acoustic soul. It is a rich fusion of her Chicago roots in acid jazz, funk and blues, merged with acoustic rock and folk elements. Her lyrics read like poetry, speaking of emotional transformation and personal freedom. Many times armed with only an acoustic guitar, her delivery is an intensely powerful expression of equal parts joy and pain, balance and struggle. She has toured extensively over the years, both as a solo performer and as a member of various other projects. She’s also versed in the art of improve. She was a major player in the acid jazz explosion in Chicago with the band SUMO who never rehearsed once in 31/2 years and yet packed houses every single week. She continued this tradition with the group FLY during her time in Santa Fe, NM. Her work in the music industry has included managing recording studios, graphic design, promotions/booking and industry consultation for songwriters/bands, and now on air radio personality and promotional support.

Since 1996, Astra has released four records on her Rockaway record label, including the 2004 EP in conjunction with producer/composer, Bob DeMarco (Primary writer for Paramount TV). In addition, she can be heard on a number of regional and national artist’s recordings and regional compilations, most recently, WC Handy award winner Eddie Turners “Rise.” “Rise” was produced by famed composer/artist, Kenny Passarelli (Joe Walsh, Elton John) who lends his extraordinary bass stylings to some of Astra’s new tracks (forthcoming on a full record release). She performs live freequently, solo/acoustic, and with her band. She hosts a Monday night showcase at Dublin Square in the Gaslamp District featuring some of San Diego’s best local bands and songwriters. She also hosts shows at various SD venues under the auspices of the KPRI Homegrown Hour.

Astra reached a major turning point a few years back when she skidded on some black ice on the way to a gig in Colorado. Her tour van rolled and she landed upside down on a set of train tracks. In the light of the full moon with her posters and CDs scattered along the highway, she grabbed her guitar and got to safety just in time to watch a train charge down the tracks and crash into her tour van. This symbolic moment on her musical path launched her into a new wave of creativity and she has emerged with strong new material for these curious times. (see full story in blog..."The Crash")

Throughout the years, Astra has had the privilege to open for such acts as: Stanley Jordan, Meshell Ndegeocello, David Wilcox, Widespread Panic, Donovan Frankenreiter, Johnette Napolitano, Shawn Mullins, The Freddie Jones Band, Leon Russell, The Marshall Tucker Band, Jeff Healey, The Samples, and members of Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

1992 - 1995
Performed with Chicago band, The Junction, on rhythm guitar and vocals. Played college circuits throughout the Midwest and east coast, as well as Chicago’s hottest venues, including the historic Park West and Vic theatres. Began playing in the subways to expose her new original material, make a living, and to strengthen her guitar chops and her solo performance stylings.

1995 – 1997
Played incessantly and developed a local following as a solo performer. Recorded her first CD in her Chicago apartment. Played to a devoted audience every Sunday for three and a half years with a ten piece, talent packed acid jazz and funk improv group called SUMO. Participated in a worldbeat/ jazz group, as well as a number of other diverse projects. Painted a 6’ high by 80’ wide mural
depicting the evolutionary path of humanity at a club called Pop’s. Took residency there every Thursday and presented a menagerie of music, poetry, art and spontaneous happenings.

1997 – 1999
Joined with bass player, drummer, and electric guitar player to form her band, Astra Kelly and Far Rockaway. Presented her second CD to a sold out release party at Chicago’s Martyrs in December of ’98. Hit the road in June of ’99 booking,
promoting, and traveling solo. Played clubs and
coffeehouses all throughout the western United States including, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, as well as southern states, Texas, Louisian