Kelsey Montanez Band
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Kelsey Montanez Band


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"Chicago Shut out as American Idol names semifinalists"

Chicago shut out as ‘American Idol’ names semifinalists
BY LORI RACKL TV Critic/ February 23, 2012
Updated: February 23, 2012 8:26PM
Chicago songbirds have had an impressive run on “American Idol” in recent years.
Suburbanites Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams made it to the finals last season. Mount Prospect paint sales clerk Lee DeWyze and Chicago chanteuse Crystal Bowersox snagged “Idol” gold and silver in 2010.
But the city’s hot streak has come to an end. On the Thursday installment of Fox’s singing competition, the judges narrowed the field to 24 semifinalists. Not one of them is from sweet home Chicago.

A trio of locals — Kelsey Montanez, Kyle Driscoll and Robyn Christine Skinner — were among the 300-plus “Idol” hopefuls who advanced to “Hollywood Week” earlier in the season, Kelsey Montanez survived the 1st round , but none of them survived the cuts.

- Chicago Suntimes

"Former Lombard Resident Gets Golden Ticket on American Idol"

Former Lombard resident gets ‘golden ticket’ for ‘American Idol’
by Suzanne Bolur
Kelsey Montanez turned 21 on Sunday and the singer/songwriter had a lot to celebrate. Her band, the Kelsey Montanez Band, will be performing a special birthday celebration show at The Elbo Room in Chicago on Thursday. The band has additional shows booked and is working on an album. Last, but not least, the 2005 Lombard Idol winner was recently on a much bigger stage: she appeared on the reality television singing competition “American Idol,” making it all the way to Hollywood.
Montanez, who was raised in Lombard, began singing at a young age. She remembers listening to her dad, also a musician, practice when she was just 4 years old. When she was 12 years old, she got her first guitar and began playing and writing music.
At age 14, Montanez won first place in her age group for Lombard Idol. When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said she wanted to “get a band together, play some shows and rock out.” That is exactly what she did.
After graduating from Niles North High School in 2009, Montanez got in her car and set out for the West Coast. For a couple of months she played her music at open mic shows.
“I just got in my ’94 Toyota Corolla and drove west,” she said. “I just had my guitar and was playing all over the place. Just playing anywhere I could, really. It was a lot of fun.”
When Montanez returned home to Chicago, she formed the band with fellow musicians Michael Pool, Matt Scott and Taylor Brysiewicz. Montanez sings and plays acoustic guitar. Pool, from Downers Grove, plays guitar; Scott, from Wheaton, plays drums; and Brysiewicz, from Bartlett, plays bass. In addition to playing music, the band members all work and attend college. Montanez said they met through mutual contacts. Pool and Brysiewicz were in a church band and knew Montanez’s father through that.
Scott was last to join, after their original drummer left the band. He said he put up a flier offering his drumming services at Northern Illinois University, where he and Brysiewicz attend college. The flier was up for just 24 hours before being removed by maintenance. Luckily, Brysiewicz saw the flier before it was taken down.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” he said.
Band practices are held in the basement of Montanez’s dad’s house in Lombard, where he has a recording studio set up.
The band played their first show on Montanez’s birthday two years ago. Montanez said she chose to name the band Kelsey Montanez Band because she began playing acoustically when she was 14 and built a small following, so people are familiar with her name.
The band members described their music as “indie blues rock.” Montanez said she loves all kinds of music and her preferences change every week. However, some of her favorites include Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Brian Jonestown Massacre.
“I’m a huge music fanatic,” Montanez explained. “I’m always finding new bands and listening to stuff and going to shows. One day I’ll listen to hip hop and the next day I’ll listen to a garage band no one’s ever heard of.”
Montanez said her diverse taste in music influences her songwriting.
“I like listening to it all and I think it shapes how I write in the long run,” she said. “I don’t write at all like what I listen to. My eclectic interests influence all I do.”
The band has performed all over the Chicagoland area, including major venues such as House of Blues, The Elbo Room, Beat Kitchen and Metro. Montanez said the band plays about one show every month or so. She explained that she will either e-mail a venue about performing there or the venue will contact her. Other times a musician or band will want them on their bill and they will get show offers that way.
Last summer, Montanez auditioned for the current season of “American Idol.” She traveled to St. Louis with her father and stepmother in June to audition for the show.
“A friend put on my Facebook something about the audition,” she recalled. “My dad commented immediately and said ‘We’re auditioning’ and set up the road trip to St. Louis.”
Montanez also auditioned for “The Voice” and made that show as well. She couldn’t do both so she had to choose between the two shows.
Throughout the audition process, the band was very supportive and excited for Montanez. They recalled that she left for her St. Louis audition right after they played a show. Montanez said she had to audition several times for “American Idol” before performing in front of the celebrity judges.
She said the experience was exhausting. According to Montanez’s dad, approximately 15,000 to 16,000 people attended the audition in St. Louis, and 12,000 actually auditioned. The line stretched on for blocks.

“The line was insane,” Montanez said. “It was blocks and blocks and blocks of people. The whole street was just filled for five or six blocks.”
While waiting in line, Montanez sa - Lombardian News / Suzanne Bolur

"Kelsey Montanez sweeps Chicago and suburbs"

Kelsey Montanez- Acoustic singer/songwriter sweeps Chicago
From the windy city of Chicago, the 15 year old Kelsey Montanez has taken the acoustic music scene by storm. Her debut CD features Kelsey on lead vocals and guitar The CD's opening track "I never follow through " has been received with critical acclaim for it's strong hook and universal lyrics.

Alpha Music Group - Alpha Music Group

"Lombard Idol finalists compete on main stage at Taste of Lombard"

Back by popular demand, the Lombard Jaycees brought the second annual Lombard Idol contest to the main stage at the Taste of Lombard on July 4.

Karly Stoltz, KELSEY MONTANEZ and Melissa Temen were selected as the winners after performing on the main stage Monday Afternoon"

The contest, open to Lombard residents, included three age winner was selected from each age group. [Kelsey placed first in the 13 to 17 age group category]

Kelsey Montanez, 14, sang "I Wish". She said she loves performing and has been singing since the age of three. She added that she wants to "get a band together, play some shows and rock out." Hoping to continue singing, Montanez added that her favorite part of the contest was "just going up there, singing and having a good time."

- E.A. MacKay Enterprises, Wednesday, July 6, 2005

"Eugene Foley Entertainment"

"I enjoyed listening to the songs. I love Kelsey's voice. The singing is confident and strong." - Eugene Foley

"Fight Autism Benefit Concert"

Eco- Couture Fashion Show April 2009

Eco- Couture Fashion Show & Inclusion Films Gala Dinner
To Benefit
Defeat Autism Now(DAN!)

April 10 and 11, 2009
Ritz Carlton
Denver, Colorado

Gala Awards Dinner
Featuring Joey Travolta and Inclusion Films
Friday, April 10, 2009
6pm - 10pm
Viewing of the world premiere of Joey TravoltaÕs new documentary about his camps that teach individuals on the autism spectrum about the film industry. This is a red carpet event not to be missed! The gala features Hollywood A list entertainers and a gourmet dinner with all organic and local foods. Followed by an Awards Ceremony for individuals who have made a difference in the world of autism

Eco-Couture Fashion Show
Saturday, April 11, 2009
2 pm - 10 pm
Fashion Show Times: 2pm, 4pm, 6pm & 8:30 pm

Runway shows of selected national and international eco-friendly fashion designers.

After Parties
Saturday, April 11, 2009
10pm- 2am
Come and enjoy nationally and internationally acclaimed talent. Proceeds from the after parties will be split between both the Denver and Boulder Autism Socities.

Eco- Couture Beneficiary

Defeat Autism Now (DAN!)

The Eco- Couture weekend events benefit Defeat Autism Now!

INCLUSION FILMS was started by Joey Travolta to teach the art of acting and filmmaking to students now ranging from ages 9 through adult. ÒThe program is designed to develop self-esteem, confidence and creativity through acting, improvisation and digital filmmaking. Students learn essential skills for a career in film in a non-competitive environment.Ó These camps are held all over the country at various college campuses.
Mr. Joey Travolta is an actor, director, producer, writer, editor and composer. He began his acting career in 1978 and added on writer, producer and director with films like ÒDiva Las VegasÓ that was the winner of the Italian Film Festival. With over 25 film appearances, 3 screenplays and numerous film work, Mr. Travolta is an incredibly talented and passionate individual about his medium. The world of autism is incredibly lucky and thankful to have such an energetic person to work with.

DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) was founded in 1967 by Dr. Bernard Rimland after having established the Autism Society of America in 1965. Defeat Autism Now is dedicated to the exploration, evaluation and dissemination of scientifically documented biomedical interventions for individuals within the autism spectrum through the collaborative efforts of clinicians, researchers and parents. DAN is a project of ARI (the Autism Research Institute) dedicated to solving the riddles of causes, cures and instigations of autism.

As our understanding of the inter-connectedness of environment to health continues to grow, so too does our ability to establish effective treatment for those with autism.

AUTISM- Did you know?

1 in 150 children are born with autism in the US
1 in 65 children are born with autism in the UK
Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability
There has been a 172% increase in autism cases since 1990
The cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnoses and intervention
1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum
Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, cancer & diabetes combined.

Why An Eco- Couture Fashion Show?
A growing school of thought links autism with environmental toxins. These toxins in clothing, food, medicine, home and work environments may be a factor in the development of autism. Eco-fashion has a mission of producing beautiful clothing that reduces the toxic impact on consumers and the environment. Eco-fashion also promotes a business model of good corporate stewardship.

One of the hottest, emerging trends in the fashion and beauty industry, the eco-fashion movement promotes use of environmentally sensitive fabrics and materials and low-impact production techniques. Recognizing the positive environmental and economic impact, many top designers and labels are producing eco-fashion lines, including Barneys, Prada, Versace, TiffanyÕs and BurberryÕs to name a few. From the runways to Wallstreet it is clear that good corporate citizenship--beginning with eco-consciousness-- is good for the planet and good for business.

Organic vs. 100% cotton:

Conventional cotton is one of the most chemically-dependent crops, sucking up 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides on 3% of our arable land; thatÕs more than any other crop per unit.
20,000 deaths occur each year from pesticide poisoning in developing countries, many of these from cotton farming, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Why ÒGreen JewelryÓ:

Roughly 65% of all diamonds come from Africa
Conflict diamonds are also known as blood diamonds because of the blood of innocents spilled in conflicts financed by illicit rough d - Spicer Events

"Love songs,Pickin Parties and Choclate"

But if you donÕt want to get all glammed up and go up to the tinsel-town party, youÕve got some options. Over at the Bubble Lounge, Chicago pop-tart Kelsey Montanez will perform at 8 p.m. This indie songstress has a voice like Jessica Simpson but delves into darker, more introspective material, and actually plays and instrument (the guitar).
By Katie Klingsporn
For complete article go to this link
- Telluride Daily Planet

"Kelsey Montanez In Telluride"

On Saturday night, catch teen phenom Kelsey Montanez at the O2 bar. The singer-songwriter is all of 16, and already sounds like a seasoned pro.

“I’ve been doing music since I was really little. My dad was in bands and stuff, so there was always music,” she explains. “I started writing at 10 and playing guitar in the eighth grade. About seven months after that I was playing at cafés.”

The young rocker calls Illinois home, and says she’s looking forward to coming to Colorado. “My step-mom got this show for me. She was browsing around on sonicbids, and we all love to ski. So she said – let’s go skiing, and get Kelsey a show!”

The prodigious Montanez says she draws on many influences, and loves acoustic music. “I listen to a lot of different things in every style,” she says. “The one thing I try to stick with is the acoustic sound, although the way I play is really not typical of how people play acoustic guitar.”

As far as the songwriting process goes, Montanez apparently has a gift. “Usually it all comes out of me at once. I sit down with the guitar and play around until something comes together. I’ll play it over and over, and get the emotion of the music, and the lyrics just come. It’s weird, I don’t really plan it, but it comes out verse, chorus, verse and then all of sudden it’s done.”

Check out Montanez’s acoustic demo on sonicbids or her myspace page, and you’ll undoubtedly be taken by her insightful, mature sound.

So, what about the big dreams? “I wanna go crazy, and tour everywhere. By next summer at least I’d like to get out and do a grassroots, indie tour. Hopefully by next year, I’ll have my first album. I’m so excited!”

You’ll be excited too, if you start off your Saturday night with the amazing Kelsey Montanez at the Bubble Lounge. Showtime is 8 p.m., and the rising star will undoubtedly blow you away.
Rebecca Thoreson
The Telluride Watch News
- Rebecca Thoreson

"Music News"

ast Night's Unplugged Show - November 30, 2007
Last night's show at UG was incredible. The audience was receptive. Brandon , our mild mannered humble soundman was on the performance bill .... He really wowed the crowd with his one man band performance. He can really handle the guitar and any toy that you can plug into it so well....very smooth vocals too!! Kelsey Montanez...I think our youngest performer to date...was just as wonderful.... very talented songwriter and mature singing style beyond her years... Mike Reeb brought his amiable songs to the table as always that evening and gave us a familiar Beatle lead in to one of his original tunes...very nice...Steph Rogers serenaded us with her sweet sounding pipes... and encouraged a jam at the end of the show.... what a delight!!!!
Phylis Renee Marconi
11/30/07 - Phylis Renee Marconi

"A Taste of Tomorrow"


The House of Blues

When: Sat. August 28th, 2010

Time: 2pm- 10:30 pm

By Ashley W. Joyce

Over the last couple of months I’ve been keeping my eye on Kelsey Montanez, a very talented Indie Acoutic/Rock singer. Let me just say her name initiates a “Stardom” reaction from people, like “Shut up! You know Kelsey Montanez?” and “Oh! I have her first CD, she’s awesome I listen to it all the time.”

When I actually had a chance to check out her show Live at the Elbo Room, I was like “Wow, now this is a concert, this is some serious talent.” Hot tracks, bright colorful lighting, and one sexy Kelsey right smack in the middle of it all. A huge following of people in the crowd gets you excited to see just where this next Chicago “Avril Lavigne” is going. If you’re a fan, well get ready because this is a pre-game to her next CD and up coming show at the House of Blues in August.

This 19- year- old is so focused and energized to catch that music break; she’s been writing and playing music from the age of 13. Her father, once a local musician from the band Pipedream, has helped show her the ropes and guide her in becoming not just a better musician, but an amazing performer. Kelsey has a solid sound, her sincere and soulful lyrics balance perfectly against those acoustics which are both soothing harmonies and dynamically powerful.

“In a song there is only three minutes to say what you want to say. There are formulas involved, it’s very hard to pick something out and keep it minimal. I want a more united sound, with the right vibe,” Kelsey says.

Her first Acoustic demo very much reflects a younger Kelsey and all those coming of age emotions and struggles. Now, she’s got her new CD on the rise and I wouldn’t get too comfortable because her new band, some nicely produced beats and more edge, Kelsey is coming out with some heavy developed and composed songs. Inspired by everything in life, Kelsey never stops writing and she’ll never stop playing. A musician with the most random process to writing, she enjoys going to those “Hole in the wall,” dingy little coffee houses with a desire to create music. There is something about sitting in those empty space bottomless cups for hours that gets her creative juices going. After she stands up, walks away, no one knew another great song was born.

In her more recent work, Kelsey is writing three to four instruments at a time opening up more opportunities to play at different venues. College circuits have played her music from Colorado and Florida stations to local WCRD Northeastern College radio. She’s hoping to have her new CD released by her August show at the House of Blues. This tighter and more mature Kelsey hopes this new phase will take her to the next level and get signed at a National level and possibly tour. Catch her next TRM interview in August as we sit and talk to Kelsey with a one on one interview on her House of Blues show and her next CD release.

- The Running Man Magazine Ashley W. Joyce

"New favorite for the grrlz"

Once in a while you come across that new, somewhat unknown artist that truly blows you away with their skill. With so many performers out there getting major record deals and becoming famous, it's easy to forget the difference between natural raw talent and the majority of the songs that we hear on the radio every day. Kelsey Montanez is one of those extremely gifted up-and-coming talents whose voice, lyrics, and musical abilities remind you of how enjoyable music can be. Cherry Grrl wanted to learn more about the Chicago singer/songwriter and recently had the chance to ask some questions about her obvious passion for music and where she hopes to take it next. (CG): How would you describe your musical style?

Kelsey Montanez (KM): I think this is always a difficult question for me. I write acoustically but they aren't typical acoustic songs. They have a heavier feel to them. Here's a perfect example - I'm currently working on a new demo and Charlie Benante (drummer from heavy metal band ANTHRAX) is laying down drum tracks on it. But all the songs will still sound very acoustically driven. I guess you can call them pop songs with a twist.

CG: Who are some artists, past or present, that you particularly admire?

KM: ANI DIFRANCO. That woman inspires me so much. My dad introduced me to her when I was a lot younger and took me to one of her shows. I was in awe. Her show was so powerful and her message was so beautiful. She inspires me to be a better musician and a better person. I am also very inspired by Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie and Arcade Fire. But recently it's been all about Atmosphere and Aesop Rock.

CG: What inspires your sound and lyrics?

KM: Emotion. Experience. The need to just get it out. I never know what my next song will be about. Sometimes I don't even know as I'm writing it. Sometimes I have to wait until I'm done writing a song to understand how I feel about something! So I just try to dig my hands into everything and live as fully as I can and the songs come when they want.

CG: What is your favorite part about being a musician?

KM: I love all of it so much. I don't know what stands out as my favorite. Being a musician is like being in a relationship or being in love. It's all about passion and dedication. I love the freedom I feel when I'm writing a song. My favorite part is there will always be room left to learn more and create something else.

CG: What are some of your interests outside of music?
KM: I like to read whenever I can. When I'm not writing songs I just like to write in general. It usually always boils down to music though. I think about it all the time. My mother always yells at me and says I need to find a hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with music because I'm going to drive myself crazy one day. I tell her it's not possible.

CG: How does living in Chicago affect you musically?

KM: I think that there are so many places to go for music and it's so accessible. When you're in Chicago music will have its impact on you whether you're aware of it or not.

CG: Lesbians have a reputation for being extremely supportive of LGBT artists. Have you had a positive response so far from the lesbian community?

KM: Oh absolutely. I have fans of all different backgrounds, ages, genders, etc. But the LGBT community is extremely receptive and welcoming. A show always feels more like a movement than a performance.

CG: Are you planning any tours soon? Where can people find you performing next?

KM: Right now I've been working on a new demo and that is taking up a lot of my focus. But in the coming months I plan on doing a lot of shows in the coffee house scene all around Illinois until I can find a full band to accompany me.

CG: Where would you like to take your career next?

KM: I would like to finish the demo I'm working on and shop it around to a bunch of labels. Then I want to get the actual album finished and tour it all over the place!!
To learn more about Kelsey visit her at - Cherry Grrl Magazine


Kelsey currently has 100+ original songs in her catalog.



Kelsey Montanez is a singer/songwriter born out of Chicago, IL. Raised into a family of musicians, from an early age she has been exposed to the passion and pleasure music can bring and that joy can be heard in each delicately crafted song she writes. She began singing when she was merely four years old when her father would bring her to band practices and let her sing into the microphone. “ I remember sitting on the basement steps and watching my dad and his band build all these beautiful sounds. It felt like I was in a whole other world. That’s when I really began to understand that my purpose was to create music and that desire never left me.”

As Kelsey grew older her devotion to music remained and grew stronger. For years Kelsey played her fathers instruments in the small recording studio that he had set up in the basement in Lombard, often times avoiding social situations and family events to continue experimenting with music. And seeing as Kelsey’s passion for music was not just a phase, her father and step-mother decided to buy her first electric guitar when she was thirteen years old. “ I was so elated I cried!” muses Kelsey. “ I began trying to form bands with friends in school. We would all sit in my room with our little amps and talk about how we were going to dominate the world with our music.” She reminisces. She began to write songs of her own since she first got her guitar and realized that she wrote the best when she was alone. The more and more Kelsey began to write songs, her father recognized a gift for writing as well as singing and bought her an acoustic guitar a year after she had picked up the electric. Kelsey had felt an instant connection with the acoustic and began to write more songs than ever before.

She was 14 when she played her first show at an empty little coffee shop in Lombard IL and has since worked her way up to headlining major venues in Chicago like the Elbo Room, The Beat Kitchen, Lakeshore Theatre, Kinetic Playground, Uncommon Ground and many other places in and around the Chicago land area. She accomplished all of this while still in high school as well as winning first place in her high school talent competition. Being the youngest to perform at Chicago’s MOBFEST, she has many other festivals and showcases under her belt as well,Taste of Lombard teen idol 1st place winner 2006, including Decibelle festival, women with Guitars, Villa Park Summerfest, chix that rock,House of Blues Chicago,The Metro and The Elbo Room and singer spotlight unplugged. She has also worked with noted producers Chris Sernel and Andy Lagis and has done work with Chicago based publishing group KMA Entertainment. She has also had drum tracks done by famous heavy metal rocker Charlie Benante of "Anthrax".

After graduating high school in May of 2009, she took off on a cross-country road trip to the West Coast. “ I was never the kind of person who did well in predictable, routined patterns. Although I’m glad I graduated from high school I knew I wanted to experience so much more. So I left to play some of my music in a place I had never been before, surrounded by people and things I have never seen before” To her surprise she was very well received on the west coast where she had signed her first autographs and talked to so many people passionate in the same way she is! Being so far away from home she experiences a lot of things that is reflected in her music. She is currently in the studio preparing for her next demo to be released. In her new demo you will find the same experience driven lyrics and heartfelt vocals that is recognizable in every song Kelsey writes. For an 18 year old, Kelsey Montanez displays a profound amount of passion and a gift to infect her listeners with the same intensity, no matter where they came from or what stage of life they are in. As an unsigned, indpendent artist you can expect a long, and honorable career from this young indie songstress.