Location: Los Angeles, U.S.A
Rick Kelly has the kind of voice and a knack for melody that is both richly and warmly familiar, like the classic pop styles of Neil Diamond, Billy Joel or Frank Sinatra, or even someone more contemporary, like John Mayer. Yet it’s different from anything else you have ever heard. He’s like someone that you think you may have met before, but can’t quite put your finger on when and where.
But once you get acquainted with Rick Kelly, you become instantly enamored by his music.
Kelly has been magnetically attracted to pop music with infectious melodies and lyrics he could understand and relate to since his most formative years as a child. That passion informs the music that he makes.
“I am a little bit singer-songwriter, a little bit of a blue-eyed soul kind of guy and a little bit of a classic pop vocalist, almost like Frank Sinatra. My influences fall in that range,” Kelly explained. Put simply, he is a contemporary singer-songwriter whose melodies are rooted in classic structure.
Kelly wrote all 14 songs on his upcoming album, Dream of a Better Life, with three being co-writes. For him, the craft of songwriting is almost a spiritual undertaking. “I love the work of coming up with things that had not been heard before but were not so strange that people wouldn’t like it,” he said. “It’s like describing a universal truth in a unique way, attaching melody. The best songs have both structure and magic, but spoke about something true or relatable. Songwriting is about finding beauty in truth and truth in beauty, and saying it in a unique way.”
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The title track is one that resonates and determined the course that Kelly set on. “It was one that wrote itself. I felt, as I was writing this, that I changed my mind from writing a few songs to realizing there was more than an album’s worth in me and I needed to get it out,” he said. “I knew that it would be somewhat autobiographical. It talks about my life.”
In the song, Kelly sings, “I’ve waited all my life just to be with you today / I hit that wall / And I did my time along the way / I had this intuition / I knew you’d love me if we met.” It mixes a little bravado with confidence in taking a chance on yourself. He said, “Never be too tired to give yourself another chance. It’s the American spirit. We are always looking to upgrade, to be the CEO or the star on TV. It’s about being a fighter, an optimist and a dreamer.” Indeed, it is definitive for Kelly, in that it’s upbeat and fun, almost like a Gospel revival.
Overall, Dream of a Better Life is a true representation of Rick Kelly as an artist. If you dig pop melodies with killer singing, easy-on-the-ears instrumentation and that sounds new but pays homage to classic pop sounds in a constantly renewable way, then Rick Kelly’s Dream of a Better Life is a dream come true.
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