Kelly Pettit
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Kelly Pettit

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Kelly Pettit @ Lockhart castle Theme Park

Takayama mura (gunma-ken), Not Applicable, Japan

Takayama mura (gunma-ken), Not Applicable, Japan

Kelly Pettit @ Lockhart castle Theme Park

Takayama mura (gunma-ken), Not Applicable, Japan

Takayama mura (gunma-ken), Not Applicable, Japan

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Kelly Pettit
Living Life Through A Windshield

Remember that 1957 movie, Have Gun Will Travel? Remember how the movies made the life of a gun slinger so cool and exciting? All they needed was a well balanced gun, a good horse and dead eye aim and the world was theirs for the taking.

Just like those wanderers of the old west, Kelly Pettit is a guitar slinging, self proclaimed “musical nomad”.

Canadian born, holding duel citizenships with Canada and Australia, traveling to locales such as Korea, Fiji, Hawaii and Australia. For a time, calling Seattle and New Zealand home, not to mention his native Canada, Kelly is currently settled in Japan.

Born on Canada’s scenic west coast, on Vancouver Island in the city of Nanaimo, Kelly’s destiny to life as a musician was pretty much decided just by virtue of his place of birth. Nanaimo boasts being hometown to jazz pianist and vocalist Diana Krall and about 100 kilometers (62 miles) north from pop/funk/hiphop fusion artist, Nelly Furtado’s birthplace, the provincial capital, Victoria, British Columbia.

Growing up in a region rich with musical talent, and always having music around him, Kelly realized at an early age he wanted to be a performer. He recalls as a kid, taping the Top 40 Countdown, singing along, playing his dad’s tennis racket until he finally picked up his father’s guitar at the age of 14.

Kelly’s first taste of performing music live came during his high school years. With some high school friends, putting together a cassette tape of original music, then selling about 200 of them to their friends. Not about to let a capitalizing idea go to waste, the enterprising teens rented a hall and performed those songs in front of their peers.

The seed now firmly planted, Kelly didn’t stop there. His first step into the music industry was perhaps modest, but a step none the less. “My friend bought a FOSTEX 4 track recorder back in the day and we would spend hours recording 80’s style rock tunes. After that, the first time I went into a studio, I had written a love song for my brother and his soon to be wife for their wedding present. I was 19 and he was 24. The song is called “To Last Forever” and I believe there is just one copy of it surviving. Their wedding however, is still going strong!”

Kelly’s globe-trotting ways started early. Putting his duel citizenship with Australia to good use, at 19 he jetted off down under, but instead detoured to Japan to teach English. Several years later, after returning to Canada, he learned a friend was heading to Japan to work as a musician. After researching the benefits himself, Kelly sent a video to an agency in Tokyo. Then came an audition for Kelly and his band, and the next thing they knew they were sitting on a plane, bound for the Land Of The Rising Sun, with a very handsome contract.

Kelly attributes his teen years, busking in Australia and the coastal Canadian city of Vancouver for helping define his skills as a musician and his personality. “I started busking in Australia as a means of income. I soon discovered that it was a brilliant way to make money, work my own hours, and pretty much take the skill with me anywhere. When I came back to Canada and was studying, busking was a great part time job. I was one third of a very cool band. An upright bass player, fiddle / guitar player/ and myself on guitar, harmonica and mandolin”.

Kelly describes his genre of music as “pop/alternative country/rock”. Imagine taking Neil Finn (front man for the Australian ‘80’s/90’s band, Crowded House), Canadian rock icon, Bryan Adams and American rockabilly band, The Jayhawks, tossing them into a blender and you might come out with something that sounds like a Kelly Pettit song.

Fast forward to November, 2006.

With three Cd’s of original music under his belt - “Life Through A Wind Shield” (1997), “Tuned In” (2000) and “J-Walking The World” (2004), Kelly releases his 4th studio album titled “Fuel”. This recent offering shows an artist’s and song writer’s maturity and growth through his previous 3 releases. Fuel gives the listener a marvelous mix of country to pop to rock and even rap. Such an eclectic blend of influences and sounds can also be attributed to Kelly’s willingness to co-write with a host of equally talented musicians and lyricists. Song writing obviously being a family affair, he has written with his father and brother as well - “my brother and I often have fun writing lyrics when we can get together, also my father did a brilliant job writing lyrics to a song on my FUEL CD called “Stone After Stone”.”

A recent collaboration with the very talented Mark Clay saw the creation on the tune “Christmas Everyday” which is featured as the first track on a compilation CD called “A Very Vancouver Christmas”. Kelly was selected as Artist of the Month by FOSTEX (an audio and recording equipment manufacturer), as well, he is also a top 10 finalist for the “Ultimate Band” contest on UBL – “the ultimate online destination for independent and unsigned bands.”

Kelly can now add writing movie scores to his resume. Wong Fu Productions, an emerging independent film company, recruited Kelly to work on the score for their full length movie called, “A Moment With You”. They also chose the song "She's Just Like Summer" from FUEL to close out the movie during the credits, and they are currently selling the soundtrack.

Like any musician knows, your career is nothing without fans fueling things along, and of course Kelly is no exception to recognizing the impact fan support has on one’s career.
- Living Life Through A Windshield

Kelly is a special kind of artist, one that you really should listen to. There is a drive and ambition to his efforts that are rare. Not only does Kelly genuinely come off as if he's doing it because he loves it, but he is exceptionally talented as well. The songs are absolutely tight and yet interesting at the same time, a brilliant cd to put in the car and just drive ;-) It 's really beautiful cd I applaud him!!!
Pick up a copy of FUEL and draw your own conclusions. ;-) - Nanette O'Donnell

Here's What is on the TV spot:

Check 6 news

Reporter: It’s not American Idol but a Nanaimo man is standing in the spotlight tonight as CH’s Kendal Hansen reports he has become a fan favorite in Japan.

Kendal Hansen: Kelly Pettit is likely a name you’ve never heard before but following an international music contest that he won that could soon be changing.

Kelly: It was down to two bands at the end and when I won I was pretty thrilled.

Kendal Hansen: The Ultimate band contest required voting by fans on line over the course of a year. His fourth album FUEL came out on top, winning Pettit some valuable prizes and promotion including a distribution deal.

Kelly: Well one of them is going to be distributing my CD’s throughout the states to college radio and what not. There’s magazines, there’s uh, I won a $3000 certificate for a music store in the states.

Kendal Hansen: The singer/songwriter left Nanaimo for Japan 9 years ago to pursue a career in music. And while he’s been gathering a following there, he’s back to play several concerts for some of his devoted fans here.

Fan: Actually I’m an old fan of Kelly’s when he used to play in Vancouver and we’ve just sort of being waiting for everyone to appreciate him as much as he deserves to be appreciated.

My Mother: I’m very proud of him. Very very proud.
Camera man: So did you vote for him?
My Mother: Oh you betcha (yes I am)

Kendal Hansen: He’ll be heading back to Japan soon but if the contest win helps to attract a swell of new fans in North America he’d be thrilled to move a little closer to home.

Kelly: This is my hometown. I’m always thinking of this place. I love it here, I miss it.

- Check 6 TV, Victoria BC

Musician Back From Asia

MUSIC: Kelly Pettit won the Ultimate Band contest, and is a pop star in Japan.
Story by Sarah Simpson
Daily news.

Just 3 months after claiming the top prize in The Ultimate Band contest, Nanaimo born musician turned Japanese pop star, Kelly Pettit, is coming home to say thank you to his home town supporters.
That means free music for all.
Pettit:s award-winning folk-pop sound will be heard at two free concerts in Nanaimo later this month. The first show runs on Tuesday near the waterfront at the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo-Sutton Park from 1 to 2 pm The second show is from 7 to 10 pm on Wednesday at the Cottonwood Gold Course near the Nanaimo Airport.
“I’m really excited to be coming home to the island,” said Pettit from Japan, where he’s working and recovering from shoulder surgery after being hit by a car while riding his bike.
Winning the Ultimate Band honours on the strength of his fourth album, titled FUEL, Pettit outlasted more than 2,000 other independent bands during the contest – in the end beating out runner-up rockers, The Mary Dream, from Nashville, TN and Dutch pop duo, Aquatic, who came third.
“At the end of the day it was still up to the judges (who had 20% of the final vote) to decide who was the ultimate winner and it turned out to be me so I was pretty happy,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing that I live in Japan and I’ve been able to pull this off. To me it shows how small the world’s become with the Internet.”
While the Internet made it easier, trying to win an American competition from Japan was still an ambitious project.
It was a long drawn-out process,” said Pettit. “It took over a year. I really didn’t think I had a shot, but like anything else, I just plugged away at it and it got down to 120 bands, and I thought ‘what are the odds?’”
The odds were high, considering Pettit had several members of The Odds, a Vancouver band whose major success came in the mid ‘90’s with songs like ‘Someone who is cool’ and ‘Eat my Brain’ helping him out with his album.
“They rock”, said Pettit. “They’ve actually become good friends of mind over the years. They’ve been nice enough to come and play on my CDs with me all the time. Very talented guys and equally as nice.”
Craig Northey, Doug Elliott and Pat Steward all pitched in on Pettit’s latest disc.
“If you have a chance to listen to my latest CD, those guys really step up and make the songs a log bigger,” he said. “I love working with those guys. I’m looking forward to seeing them when I get home.”
But it won’t be The Odds backing him up in Nanaimo; it will be his home town pals.
“I had to recruit some old friends I used to be in a band with to dust off their instruments and get together and play again after 10 years of not playing together so that will be fun to see them and put on a show again, for sure,” said Pettit. “I’m really looking forward to playing in Nanaimo.”
It’s a trip home, Pettit said he couldn’t have managed without his father. The initial excursion was planned so he could wrangle up all the prizes he gets as the winner of the Ultimate Band contest.
Now, thanks to his father, it’s also dedicated to saying thank you as well.
“It’s all thanks to my dad being a full-time father and a part time manager for me over in Nanaimo. He got the gigs for me,” said Pettit. “They are thank-yous for people on the island helping vote for me. It’s an opportunity for me to play for them and say thanks. The exposure doesn’t hurt but “at my age (38), I’m not looking for being a star anymore,” he said.
But who knows, added Pettit, pleased with his recent success.
“If things start to snowball, I might have to fly back home and step on the opportunity if it comes up. I got to work it as hard as I can while the opportunity is still there. So there’s a good chance I’ll have to come back within the year.”

What’s up next for Kelly Pettit

With the release of his fourth album, ‘FUEL,’ the pressure is already on Kelly Pettit to begin work on his next CD.
“I’ve been so busy in the marketing of ‘FUEL,’ I haven’t written any tunes lately,” the singer-songwriter admitted.
But he knows it won’t be long before he starts writing again. It’s his true passion.
“If I could do anything, my dream would be to write songs for other people,” he said. “I hat’s where I’m headed I think. If I could have somebody buy a song, that’d be what I’d like to do in the future.
Pettit hopes his writing will help him further his musical career and perhaps, garner him an opportunity to move a little closer to home.
“I think a lot of my lyrics touch on distance or homesickness or world wonders and I have those influences because I’ve been traveling all my life,” he said. “But the island boy is in me. I’m a true-blue red neck Nanaimo boy still. I’ll always be, I love it.
“As much as I love the Island, I still have to make a living as well and I don’t think I could do my music successfully in Nanaimo. It’s hard to say and I’m a little bit afraid to take the chance because things have been really good for me over here in Japan.”
Pettit said it makes financial sense to remain in Japan for now but the novelty is wearing off.
“The first five or six years were really cool, but eight years later, it’s starting to become like, okay is this what I’m going to do for the rest of my life?
“Am I going to die over here? That’s something that’s been playing on my mind a lot in the last couple of years. If I could only write a hit song and have the whole world buy it, I could have anything I wanted,” he said with a laugh.
- Nanaimo Times Newspaper

Kelly Pettit, “Stone After Stone,” Mp3 Review

Holding duel citizenship in Canada and Australia, currently residing in Japan, and having spent significant amounts of time in several other countries around the world, pop / singer songwriter Kelly Pettit surely has a lot to write about. His song catalog most likely illustrates the richness of the cultural experiences he has been exposed to over the years. However, my favorite Pettit song is simply a story about a father and son. It’s called, “Stone After Stone,” off of his CD, FUEL, and it’s a great tune.

“Stone After Stone,” is a well-produced and recorded song with a great storyline. The lyrics describe how a young child, who spends time with his father, will someday grow up to be a father himself and possibly be able to return some of the wisdom the elder gave him. In one of my favorite verses, Pettit sings, “I’ve wandered the world for some time now. Rumbled, tumbled and tossed. Looking to share what my life had to bare. Many times lonely and lost. But old man like you I’m complete now. Got a life with a wife and a home. So the river can bend or go straight to its end. For I’ve got me a son of my own.”

The “river” is what Pettit is comparing life to, and he references it throughout the song. Pettit handles this comparison creatively, and quite impressively. The chorus goes, “If everyone’s lives like a river, a river we each call our own. A past left behind, a future to find, rolling on stone after stone.” I think comparing the river to a “past left behind” and a “future to find” is quite an illustrative and innovative way of looking at things. That’s what hooked me in.

Pettit is a multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, and harmonica) with strong, smooth vocals. He’s recruited a very professional team of recording engineers and musicians to assist him with this recording, and their efforts are paying off. Pettit's CD, FUEL, won him top honors in the Ultimate Band Contest at out of a field of 2,000 other bands from around the world. He’s also had some of his music on TV and radio.

You should check out Kelly Pettit’s music for yourself, especially my favorite of his tunes, “Stone After Stone,” off of his FUEL CD. The music is great, the storytelling is moving, and the chorus is fantastic.

Artist Website:

Reviewed By: -

Kelly Pettit
Fri, 18 Apr 2008 15:36:01
The winner of UBL's Ultimate Band Contest walks us through his musical journey
Canadian native Kelly Pettit knew from a young age that music was his passion. After playing in numerous bands and releasing CDs independently, his journey in pursuit of his dream eventually took him clear across the globe to Japan where his star continued to rise. As a member of the musical community he entered the site's Ultimate Band Contest in 2007 competing with over 2000 other artists for the chance to be chosen as the #1 artist on the network. After thousands of votes were cast, Kelly emerged as the victor, giving him exposure to many more potential fans through a promotional partnership with ARTISTdirect. We tracked the singer down in Japan to discuss his musical career to date, his work with UBL and his plans for the future.

Tell me a little bit about growing up. When did you know that music was your passion?

Music was always around the house—my dad played guitar. There was always music around. I had a lot of friends that were musicians at the time. At, probably, 13 or 14-years-old I started rocking out the guitar. I started writing songs and they were really bad at the time. We formed a lot of really bad garage bands. It's a typical story, like most musicians at the time. When I was 16-years-old, my friend got a hold of a 4-track. I don't think anyone knows what that is anymore. It was from 1984-1985. We were like 15 and 16, just writing a bunch of songs. I started recording in a bigger studio, when I was 18 or 19-years-old, and recorded a couple of songs. I moved to Australia, my father's an Australian, and I moved around a bunch of studios over there. I was recording, and singing backup, for a bunch of studios as well.

And as all musicians know, it's never overnight.

Yeah, it's never overnight. You do it because you love it, that's the bottom line. It's been 21 years of experience. I wish I could pack it into a couple of years—the knowledge has taken a long time to accumulate. It's a long process, and hard work at the same time, but it's been fun.

So what bands were you listening to when you first picked up that guitar?

There are so many. I'm from Vancouver, Canada, so Bryan Adams was big back at the time. I was a big Beatles fan, because of my father; and early Rod Stewart. The weird thing, for me, is that I always had a taste that went all over the place. The Cure, Billy Joel, Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album—all that stuff really got under my skin.

All great bands. Did you find when you moved to Australia that making music was different there? How was the transition?

Well, for me, I don't know if there was a transition, being so young. It was just sort of one big event. I was just learning all the time. The music was big—bands like INXS. In Australia there were bands like Cold Chisel—all these bands I'd never heard of. I was introduced to a whole bunch of Australian music like Split Ends and Crowded House. In particular Crowded house and Neil Finn's songwriting styles were something I fell in love with.

You obviously play guitar. I read you also play bass and fiddle as well.

Guitar is my first instrument. The others, I've learned not that very well, to be honest, except the mandolin. I was in a really cool band when I was in Canada going to University. We had an upright bass player, another guitar player, and fiddle player and we traded back and forth. He actually plays in Kelly Clarkson's band now, and was in Shania Twain's band for a while. He's an extremely talented musician. So we were always trading different instruments. I would get lessons from him all the time, the poor guy. He taught me the cool tricks. I never considered myself a fantastic guitarist or instrumentalist. I always thought my strength was in my songwriting. That's always been where my heart has been.

I saw you made your first album back in '97. What was that experience like when you first got into the studio to record a proper album?

I was really lucky, as I mentioned earlier. I was in a three-piece band. We used to be street performers. Long story short, you had to audition for a city to get a permit to play there. We used to go down there on the weekends and play this really cool spot. People from all walks of life would pass by and take this bus from one part of Vancouver to another. Another group down there had a young guy that was studying to become a recording engineer. He found us and asked us if he could do his master's degree with the three of us performing. I came in with a handful of songs, and we recorded eight songs for free. About six months later, I recorded another five or six songs with my own money. Then I sat back, scratched my head, and said, "I've got 14 songs here, I can put a CD together." That's how my first CD came about. It wasn't a plan from A to B.
When you were making those records, did you plan to produce and distribute independently, or did you plan to shop majors?

I never shopped majors. I don't really know why. Maybe it was a lack of knowledge, or a lack of exposure. The first CD came out just before I came to Japan. When I came to Japan, I had the CD with me, and I was performing all these gigs in Japan. The CD was selling like hot cakes and that's when I said, "This isn't a bad little business I started here." I was going to write a CD and see if I could do things on a bigger scale. As you know, this business is changing every day, and it seems as if the majors aren't the way to go anyway. I've kind of been doing these last three CDs in a revolutionary age, where your music evolves to be independent now. You can actually make a living now being an independent artist, whereas 10 years ago you couldn't. It was a lot harder.

It just speaks to the way that you promote. You work hard to promote your music in order to get it out there, especially with this UBL contest you wound up winning.

Yeah, that was tough work. I had a lot of great staff, and a lot of great supporters on board to really help me out with that. Mind you, one of the hardest things about being a musician is that once you have a product, you have to turn around and be a businessman. You've got to buckle up and see if you can make a business out of it. That's what I try to do with the CD, promote it and push it. It's a tough thing to do. Living in Japan, I've got a little bit of a bonus over here because I speak the language, but I have a hard time dealing with a lot of North American stuff at this stage.

When did you first decide to pack up and go to Japan? How did you get into the scene there?

Our band was playing a nightclub, and a Japanese agency approached us and said, "Do you guys want to come over to Japan?" To make a long story short, we packed up and flew over here. We did a six week gig at a couple of different venues. One was a theme park, and one was a five star hotel. It was really cool at the time. A couple members of the band at the time were married, so when the six weeks expired, they went back to Canada. I said to the agency, "I just graduated from university. Do you want me to stick around? Is there anything I can do?" I signed a different contract with them, and that lasted about two or three years. Then I went out on my own. Now that I can speak the language, I've just been marketing myself over here. Between you and me, I'm looking to get back to North America in the near future. I mean Japan's been a fantastic ride. I just feel that, emotionally, I'm at the end of it. I am from Canada, and ten years is a long time to be away from friends and family. I'd like to find a way to get back. I made a lot of connections in Japan being here the past 10 years, and it'll be a tough thing to throw them away, but I need a good kick in the butt anyhow, and a good challenge again.

The adventure is half the fun of being a musician.

Yeah, it is. I mean, it's kind of scary. You wouldn't recommend it to your friends unless they absolutely love it.

Talk to me about the movie scores you worked on.

That was just me trying to network, putting my music out there as much as I could. Some filmmakers put a pretty good movie together—it put a smile on my face. I emailed them and said, "If you guys have anyplace where you need some backup music, give me a call." It was another two or three months before I got an email back from them. They just gave me the feel of the movie. I had to write music without seeing it. I recorded a bunch of stuff, and gave it to them. They threw it in, and it was a good experience. It wasn't a Hollywood movie, but you've got to start there and work your way up.

You've got to find your way in. There's a first step for every journey.

I did a lot of little things like that. I went back to Canada in the summer to promote the CD, and do a thank you tour for the UBL contest that I won. I was in the local news, and in the papers. I did a free show at an outdoor theater. A ton of people came down for that. UBL was great to me, and the contest was tough. I was in a tight race for first place. I had a crew and a team help me out. From Canada to America and Australia to Japan, I had people all over the world cheering for me. When I won, it was such a thrill that so many people put all this energy in it for me.

It's all about the fans. Anything you want to say to your fans now?

Anytime you're in Japan hit me up, or You can also go to to purchase the CD. iTunes and any other digital serving company out there have my CD as well. If you want me to play in L.A., someone contact me.

—Chas Reynolds


Kelly Pettit's new CD "FUEL" won a huge band contest held by . It took over a year and started with over 2000 bands competing around the world.
January 2009 - It started with winning track of the month and then ABC's Fame Games Radio's "Effigy Music Awards", nominated Kelly for over 10 awards and in some cases he was up against himself (best soft rock song, best country song, best overall artist, best overall song, best artist in general rock, most popular artist, most popular solo, best overall vocal, best male vocal, best songwriting, and more). Kelly won 2 of those nominations in best song in country (World Is Turning) and best song in light rock (She's Just Like Summer).
Fuel's track number 12, "She's Just Like Summer" is the first closing song to the movie "A Moment With You".
Fuel's track number 1, "Talk About It", is the theme song to the Radio program "Here and There" broadcast throughout Gunma-ken, Japan.
Fuel's track number 2, 7, and 12 are on in the advanced round.
The song Christmas Everyday has received great reviews from top songwriting critics at NSAI




Not only has Canadian born Kelly Pettit been able to get his music spread out across 4 continents, but this Japan based musician has achieved this in ways that break the traditional mold of how a band should be heard. On his 4th Album titled "FUEL", Kelly showcases exactly what makes him so alluring.

His mass appeal didn't happen overnight. Kelly has been slowly accumulating a loyal fan base since his first CD, "Life Through a Windshield" and word of mouth about his music has graduated him to becoming a bona fide contender as a solid songwriter. His newest release "FUEL" has recently been reaching the masses through fans on Social Networks via the internet. It also won an international Ultimate Band Contest which started with over 2000 bands from all over the world; received great reviews in magazines like Artist Direct, Indie Artists, and the Tokyo music scene; and landed him newspaper and television space. Then, his song "She's Just Like Summer" won track of the month on ABC?fs Fame Games radio which receives over 4 million listeners. Kelly's growing popularity has led him to perform in front of sold out crowds of die hard Japanese fans.

On FUEL, Kelly takes a diverse approach to writing each song but always keeping in mind a feel good, energy driven approach. Having a close relationship and working with Canadian pop rock icons from the 90's "ODDS" and Kelly Clarkson's multi instrumentalist Cory Churko, Kelly took advantage of their understanding of crafting great melodic songs. "There are no bells and whistles in this album. It's just solid musicians digging deep into each song to make them something special", says Kelly. The result is a sonic experience described by Kelly as folk rock with a hint of alt-country and melodically driven for car driving.

Influenced largely by Australian bands like Crowded House, songwriter Neil Finn, Things of Stone and Wood, and Australian Paul Kelly, along with North American counterparts The Jayhawks, Barenaked Ladies, and the Counting Crows, Kelly works to define a sound all his own with musicianship and a dedication to each detail of the songwriting process. "My influences are quite diverse and you can really hear that in this CD. What's constant is my attempt to keep the CD happy and upbeat", says Kelly. Tracks like "She's Just Like Summer", "Little Imperfections" and "World Is Turning" sum up that statement clearly while tracks like "Buy Now Pay Later" and "When You're Alone" take a second listen to understand the positive message hidden in the lyrics. As one reviewer wrote, "It's clear by listening to FUEL that Kelly is a master singer/songwriter. His soulful tunes and easy vocals will make this CD, and any he comes out with next a MUST HAVE".