Robert Kelly
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Robert Kelly

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter




"Singer/Songwriter Robert Kelly in L.A. this Week"

While Andrew W.K. gets rowdy with like-minded partyers at Echoplex and The Lonely Wild treats westsiders to their Americana at The Central SAPC, Nashville’s Robert Kelly will be pleasing fans and recruiting new ones around 11 pm tonight at The Hotel Café.

If Tuesdays are tough, or the notice isn’t enough, Kelly does it again on the 12th at On The Rox at 8:45 and on the 14th at 3Clubs at 11:45.

Kelly’s recently released debut full length, We Are Poetry, appeared at #15 on the iTunes singer/songwriter charts. And rightfully so - the album was produced by Thomas Doeve, the same man responsible for production on Andrew Belle’s The Ladder, and Doeve captures Kelly well in his arrangements.

Although singer/songwriters often elude my i-pod playlist, Kelly’s energy and sincerity invite the casual listener in. Kelly’s guitar and the accompanying instrumentation on the 10 track offering complement Kelly’s voice and lyrics well to create a solid album.

While not pushing boundaries anywhere they haven’t been, We Are Poetry delivers.

Robert Kelly will be in Los Angeles until May 22nd. You can check out more and listen to his music at - SUPERGOODMUSIC

"Music City Unsigned - Review of We Are Poetry"

Just a few short weeks ago, Robert Kelly became one of the newest additions to the Music City Unsigned family. His energetic yet pensive outlook on life are ever present in his debut album, We Are Poetry, which dropped on March 29th. It’s a vibrant mix of heart-felt pop songs that display his youthful writing style and greater understanding of how the human heart works.

The wonderful thing about Kelly’s music is the way he is able to do so much while still remaining quite simple in his approach. Most of the songs on the album are lead by an acoustic guitar and his vocals, with well orchestrated instrumentation coming in and out amongst the ten tracks. The title track, We Are Poetry, along with All This Time and Sing are fun, upbeat ditties reflective of those carefree days of summer vacation. Wild, Breathe It In and Standing Still (which features gorgeous backing vocals by Jillian Edwards) all take a more melodic and thoughtful approach, expressing hopefulness, memories, and questioning. The true highlights of the album though, are the two final tracks, Running Faster and Pages. Both are a beautiful swell of emotions that close the album leaving you breathless.

Overall, Kelly’s introspective songwriting tells a tale of hope that everyone can take to heart. Be sure to check out the album, available on iTunes now. - Music City Unsigned

"Interview w/ Sounds That Matter"

"I try to write about things that are real to me, and I think if that’s true, it’ll be real to lots of people."

Nowadays, If you’re a musician, it’s easy to become buried by all of the other artists around you. You have to work hard to have your music heard and for your talent to be showcased to it’s full potential. Living in Nashville, TN, Robert Kelly is surrounded by amazing performers. Artists such as Katie Herzig, Matthew Perryman Jones, and Griffin House, all call Nashville home and that’s just to name a few of them. One would wonder how to get your foot in the door in the great music capital. With the help of close friends, Robert Kelly is being noticed as the next big thing to breakout in the music world. With his debut album, “We Are Poetry” being released in just a few days, Robert is gearing up for the ride of his life. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him and realizing that he’s not just another skilled musician, but he also has an endearing charm paired with honesty. His music has come just in time for the summer and the flowers won’t be the only thing blooming this season.

Q. At what age did you realize you wanted to be a musician and make this your career?

A. I didn’t go to church very often until I heard about this cool “youth group” thing when I started 7th grade. I went, and there was a band, with a couple of people singing, and I thought, “That! I want to do that!” Soon after, I decided I wanted to be just like LeAnn Rimes. Luckily, that didn’t happen. Wouldn’t it be cool if the answer to this question was way more exciting and involved a glorious vision in a dream or my life flashing before my eyes?

Q. What things in your life inspire you to write?

A. I just really want to be honest. I try to write about things that are real to me, and I think if that’s true, it’ll be real to lots of people. I’ve been in love and I’ve thought I had everything figured out, and then I’ve watched both of those things crumble to pieces. I think we all have.

Q. You’re on the brink of releasing a new album, “We Are Poetry” March 29th. What can your fans expect to hear from this album?

A. I’m so excited for everybody to hear the album. I think people will hear old and new friends making fun, pop music together. I had the pleasure of making a new friend, producer Thomas Doeve. He made Andrew Belle’s latest record, The Ladder, and it was so exciting to see his swirly, moody pop tendencies collide with my more straightforward, sunshine-y approach to my music.

Q. Who are some of the artists that inspire you to become a better musician?

A. The best part of this question is that a lot of them are friends. I’ve had the honor of being encouraged/challenged/befriended by Matt Wertz, Andrew Belle, and Steve Moakler. All three of them have been huge in getting where I am today. I am a huge fan, also, of Brett Dennen, Phoenix, and The Avett Bros. Every time I listen to their records, I have to go sit in my room and make my own.

Q. If you could choose a favorite lyric, from one of your songs or someone else’s, what would it be?

A. The first lyric that comes to mind is from Adele’s song, “Don’t You Remember.” She says “I know I have a fickle heart, and a bitterness, and a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head.” It’s beautiful how she makes our humanity look so beautiful. It’s just REAL, you know?

Q. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

A. I want to go drive around and play lots of shows in lots of places. Especially if it involves me going near the new Harry Potter place in Orlando. I bet that’s the coolest thing ever.

Q. What is the most meaningful song you’ve ever written?

A. I don’t always write directly from my life experiences, but one time I was sitting on my bed, writing, and suddenly I was thrown back into a very volatile place from my past. The song just told a story of a time I was very much in love and it ended when I didn’t want it to. I kept trying to get it back, but it was gone. The song is called “Pages” and it’s the last track from the new album. NOTE: It turns out that I’m very happy that it ended, and that sometimes, things just turn out right.

Q. There are a ton of singing competitions, one of the most popular being American Idol. Would you ever consider trying out for something like that?

A. I don’t think I’d ever do that, but you never know! It’s easy to develop a reputation really quickly when you’re on TV in front of millions of people, and what if it’s not really you? That’s scary to me.

Q. If you could co-write a song with anyone, alive or passed on, who would it be?

A. I think I would choose Frodo Baggins. He’s an adventurer, and I bet he has a lot to say, and maybe he can even rhyme! Plus, it would just be really fun to hang out with him. I may or may not be watching Fellowship of the Ring as we speak.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. Whoa! Well, I traveled by myself to the Middle East last year, and I brought a little backpacker guitar with me. I’d probably try to convince whoever was forcing me to live on the island alone for the rest of time to have a heart and let me bring that instead of just one song! I really like the title track from the new record, We Are Poetry, though. It’s so happy, and I really like being happy. Plus, I bet it’s important to keep a positive attitude when stranded on an island.

The End. - Sounds That Matter

"The Deli - Review of We Are Poetry"

Robert Kelly should be the next member of the Nashville music collective, Ten out of Tenn. If that doesn't happen, the guy needs to get his mits on a publishing deal, because every song on his brand new, debut album, "We Are Poetry," reminds me of something I've heard on MTV. The album was produced by Thomas Doeve--the same producer of Andrew Belle's album, "The Ladder,"--and his lush arrangements can certainly be heard on Kelly's material as well. There is a delightful balance in the heaviness of the wash of sound that is present on most of the tracks, while the lilting bells, acoustic guitar, and background vocals complement the rest of the instrumentation well. Just from a listening standpoint, this album is gorgeous.

Kelly's positive approach, genuine lyrics, and upbeat energy make each song uplifting in a way that few can achieve without coming across as insincere, cliche, or--well, just plain annoying. Hearing "We Are Poetry" for the first time made it pretty difficult to not become somewhat envious of Robert Kelly's outlook on life. You know, kind of like listening to a Jack Johnson album with a breeze blowin' through your hair and a cold beer in your hands. Ah.... paradise. (That, and the acoustic-guitar driven-ness of Kelly's music--those are the only comparisons that should be drawn between he and Jack Johnson). It's also especially refreshing to hear an album where the subject matter is more about lettin' the good times roll than just focusing on heartbreak or unrequited love. With 10 tracks of equal quality and depth, it's safe to say that this is a genuinely well-thought-out, well-produced, all-around well-done album. - The Deli

"Robert Kelly Returns to Waco!"

Robert Kelly, the Ransoms and local artist Stephanie Ard will play 8 p.m. Sunday in The Backyard at Common Grounds in a night of music and fellowship.

Kelly is no stranger to Waco.

Within the past two years Kelly played at Waco Hall, with artists like Jon McLaughlin and Dave Barnes.

"We're coming to play at my hometown, Allen, and we're stopping by Dallas, College Station and Waco," Kelly said.

He said his extended single (EP) is coming along great.

"It's been a bit crazy lately, going to school at the same time, but I kind of put music a little ahead of my studies," Kelly said.

Kelly is an active missionary as well.

In his trip to Kenya last summer, Kelly saw issues with poverty, clean water and hygiene first-hand.

"We have such a huge opportunity all over the world to help make people economically stable," he said.

Churches donate clothes, food or supplies on a frequent basic, and missionaries have to teach people to make their own living rather than get handouts, Kelly said.

"They shouldn't just pray for the church in the West to give them support all the time," he said. "Rather, we should look at the (Chinese proverb): 'Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.'"

Mission work and music have always intertwined in Kelly's life, he said.

"I started singing in church when I was 14, then picked up a guitar at the age of 16," Kelly said. "I wrote songs about girls for a long time, but have recently been inspired by little things."

His favorite song, "SING!" was created when Kelly traveled in Kenya doing mission work.

"I was watching these little, blue shiny birds, like sparrows, and got inspired to write," Kelly said.

Kelly said he hopes to find inspiration for a song on the trip.

"You should seize the simple things in life and illuminate those so people can see them," he said. "There's so much beauty all around us, if people would only stop and see it."

Local artist Stephanie Ard will add acoustic folk sound to Kelly's indie-pop genre.

"My dad was a musician who taught me to play the guitar when I was little," Ard said.

Ard, like Kelly, sang at her church growing up.

"It was an outlet for my expression," she said. "I guess it's in my blood. My brother and sister both play too."

Sunday will be Ard's second live performance. She said she plans to play a few covers songs as well as her own music.

"Mostly I write about relationships, God and my family," she said. "But my theory is if it doesn't come naturally, it's probably not going to be very good."

As for a CD, Ard said she's not quite there yet.

Kelly will perform Sunday with help from The Ransoms, an Americana band with an indie twist.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at Common Grounds for $6.

"Obviously, relationships are still a big part of humanity, especially for 20-somethings in our culture," Kelly said. "But I hope people can see that there's multiple levels to the songs. It's an unexpected blend of music that you can sing along to." - The Lariat-Baylor University

"Belmont Music Encourages Diversity"

It’d been long since I’d seen a show like the one I saw a few weeks ago at Exit/In. An unlikely set of Belmont artists performed – The Delta Saints, Future and Robert Kelly. The only thing the three acts had in common was that they’re all Belmont students. Their sounds, styles and synergies could not have been more different.

Robert Kelly got the Exit/In booking in November after his slot at one of the Rock the Block shows (where four to five up-and-coming artists perform in 30 minute slots at Exit/In) fell through. Instead, he was offered his own show on Nov. 19 and was allowed to choose which artists would join him. He and his manager, Belmont’s Will McKinney, chose Future (Harold Simmons), who performed at the Urban/Pop Showcase alongside Kelly, and then The Delta Saints, who, like Kelly, was one of the performers at Fall Follies.

So what’s one to expect from a night of The Delta Saints whose sound is the lovechild of deep Delta blues and rock; Future, with his retro hip-hop look and sound coupled with clean, clever lyrics; and Robert Kelly with his upbeat pop grooves? The answer is mood swings galore and a surprising amount of range of styles packed into one night.

The Delta Saints (the band rumored to be possessed by Delta demons) kicked off the show. Their sound is dark and heavy. The lead singer sat up front with the top three buttons of his shirt undone, cradling a resonator guitar and growling lyrics like, “Delta Queen/Got your claws in me/Toss me in the water/Current gonna drag me deep.� And with all that red light bathing the stage, one couldn’t help but be mesmerized till the last note was played. This band isn’t afraid of letting its members show their individual personalities, and somehow, though they are all different, they all fit.
They had everything from a bass player who let his thick dreadlocks shroud his face and swing as he grooved to the beat, a drummer who wore a bomber hat and ski goggles, a lead guitarist who seemed to be the only one free of the demon, and the impish harmonica player in suspenders who pulled a ski hat down over his eyes and wove in between the other band members as he played.

Future opened his set announcing, “It’s diverse in this Nashville!� The crowd cheered. “It’s a beautiful thing!� The audience was transported from the Mississippi River to urban backstreets when Future, with his flattop haircut and high-top sneakers, got them to put their hands in the air and “bounce� with him. He paired a live band pouring out smooth R&B, jazzy, funky beats with fun themes and witty lyrics like, “Future is a classic like a ‘90s sitcom.� He brought the crowd along with him through his set talking to them, about them and making them laugh as he progressed with flashing lights around him.

Robert Kelly closed out the show with his acoustic pop sound that is reminiscent of a little Jack Johnson and a little John Mayer. The lights dimmed to a sensuous purple and a coolness dropped over the crowd when he crooned words like, “Times have been tough but look how far we came/All we had was love in the first place.� The audience was asked through the music to let Kelly (with in his tangerine v-neck, acoustic guitar and band that included a wind section) tuck them into his pleasant melodies.

This show was an embodiment of an underground movement in Nashville that’s bringing people together through music going beyond what has been set as the commercial musical standard for various genres in the industry.

“For me, that’s what Nashville represents because there are so many different artists, and it’s beautiful,� said Future.

“A lot of people I know wouldn’t normally listen to The Delta Saints, but this’ll give them the opportunity to listen to something different.�

It’s fascinating to watch as America gradually reunites and heals herself in both the small and the big ways, whether it’s through electing Barack Obama as president or mixing up the musical culture of a generation. It gives me hope to see Belmont, even with its limited diversity, actively pulling people together through a common love of music. - Belmont Vision, Belmont University

"Traveling the World with a Guitar in Hand."

20-year-old singer songwriter Robert Kelly has been capturing the hearts of show-goers of all ages for 4 years. After growing up in Allen, TX, just outside of Dallas, he has prepared himself to take to the stages of Nashville, with many watching closely and listening intently.

After going to Kenya for the month of August 2007 to put on a summer camp for Maasai children, Robert has been overwhelmed with the beauty of life. He has recently begun searching desperately for a way to capture all that He’s learned in a few songs.

-Linda Septien, Septien Entertainment Group

- Septien Entertainment Group


"We Are Poetry" - Released March 29, 2011

- Debuted at #15 on iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart
- Featured on numerous music blogs,
including The Deli, Sounds That Matter, Music City Unsigned
"1953" - EP - Released January 27, 2008



Robert Kelly is an artist on a journey. With his guitar by his side, Robert has traveled the world exploring, writing and diving into adventure. Robert grew up near Dallas, TX and was writing songs at age 15. He then made his way to Nashville to pursue music at Belmont University, spending summers working with children in Africa and traveling the Middle East by himself, with only a backpack and guitar.

He’s performed at universities, clubs, and coffee shops across the country and opened for Matt Wertz, Dave Barnes, Jon McLaughlin and Andy Davis, four artists that have inspired Robert on a path to pursue a career as an independent artist.

Robert’s joyful personality, as well as his journey as a singer/songwriter, has developed within him a special sort of optimism. Hearing Robert perform, it’s apparent that these high hopes shine through in his music. This cannot be more evident than on his latest album ‘We Are Poetry,’ which debuted at #15 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart.

‘We Are Poetry’ is a pop/rock album at its finest and the perfect introduction to Robert Kelly, a true artist in the making. Filled with ten stories about the many pages we turn in our lives, Robert has created a collection of songs that have a vision. The Deli magazine praised its “upbeat energy that makes each song uplifting in a way that few can achieve.”

On ‘We Are Poetry’ Robert shares stories about holding on & letting go, moving forward & standing still, falling in love & appreciating everything life has to offer us. The opening track, “Be Here Now,” inspires us to embrace life. It also provides the first glimpse of Robert’s point of view as he sings “I’d rather live and be broken than never live at all.”

We live in an attention deficit era of multi-tasking with our lives spinning faster than we can sometimes handle. ‘We Are Poetry’ is an opportunity to take a break from the everyday; to help us slow down, breathe it in and appreciate the journey.

There are likely big hits, bright lights and more accolades to come for Robert Kelly as he continues on his journey of exploring, writing, sharing stories with people and experiencing the many joys life has to offer us all. ‘We are Poetry’ is only the start, and it’s an amazing one at that.

Robert’s life, like the rest of us, has been full of happiness and pain and joy and wonder and love and heartbreak. It’s evident that more than anything, he wants to connect with people through music, and know he’s not alone in how he feels.

So, by all means, sing along.

John Tumminello
Music City Unsigned, Nashville, TN