Today’s Feature, June 22-23, 2007: Josh Kelley

January 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm (Today's Feature)

I think that Josh Kelley, iTunes and my credit card company are on a
secret mission to make me broke…seriously (don’t tell my
wife…seriously!). Granted I do get some (VERY much appreciated)
freebees, but there is always more out there. Then I come across a guy
like Josh Kelley and then it’s “ok, time to get a new computer to hold
all this stuff”. Everywhere I go people ask me, who to look for, whose
going to be big, who is already big, and most recently it’s been Josh
Kelley I send them. In the fresh new wave of young artists, Josh Kelly
seems to be the one controlling the current. Let’s see…artist-check,
singer-check, songwriter-check, producer-check, a record label’s
wildest dream come true-CHECK! Josh Kelley has one of the fastest
rising careers today. His recent album “Just Say the Word” was
entirely written, produced and performed by Kelley himself. His work
is not going unnoticed; Entertainment Weekly, People, Good Morning
America, Whoopi Goldberg’s radio show, Emeril Live, TV shows using his
music and Billboard Magazine, all praised Kelley and dubbed him as the
one of (if not the) most influential artists in today’s music. Along
with the mass amount of superlatives, he became a top artist on iTunes
the minute he arrived and remains there today. On June 6th, “Just Say
the Word” made an impressive and successful pre-release launch on
iTunes that lifted Kelley to the #1 position among all iTunes folk
artists. As well, on June 13th, “Just Say the Word” landed a #27
position on iTunes Top Albums. Most recently his hit ballad,
“Beautiful Goodbye” has become an anthem for the loved ones of
soldiers fighting in Iraq, prior to the single being released. It this
connection that people have with Kelley that makes him so admirable.
You won’t hear many people referring to the “tabloid infested” pop
stars (who would rather flaunt their social embarrassments, than work
on establishing themselves as an artist) as being inspirational, where
as Kelley, who has developed an overwhelming “cult-like” following, is
the one that person people have decided to connect with. Whatever
phrase Kelley’s name falls after; producer, artist, songwriter…I think
the one we’ll be hearing soon is, “And the Grammy goes to…” Now I
don’t want to put the jinx in to effect but let’s be honest here,
sometimes you just have to call it down the line. Whether it’s writing
nonstop, which Kelley admits he is obsessed with, performing, painting
or even putting out his own art book called “Special Company for
Coffee”, you can guarantee Josh Kelley isn’t going away any time soon
(thankfully). Check out his XXQs to find out more. (PEV): How and when did you first get involved in music?

John Kelley (JK): My older brother John Kelley left his nylon string
acoustic guitar at home when I was about 9 years old. He was in
college and forgot it so when he came back home a month later I had
already taught myself how to play and in his words “sounds like your
better than me little bro” he gave it to me and the rest is history…

PEV: Was there a certain time or event that made you decide music was
no longer going to be a hobby but a full time career?

JK: I went to the University of Mississippi – I booked my first solo
gig my sophomore year in front of 20 or so people – 6 months later I
had 800 to 1000 people showing up for my regular gig at THE BLUE
MARLIN bar. I found out people were coming from neighboring states. I
knew then I could really do this professionally.

PEV: What kind of environment do you surround yourself in when you write?

JK: Any and every environment – doesn’t matter where…I’m obsessed with
writing – it’s my constant therapy…

PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a studio to
record your own music?

JK: Powerful – like a famous painter with any color to chose from.

PEV: How is your latest album “Just Say the Word” (Solely produced and
performed by Kelley) different from your earlier work, For The Ride
Home (which was released in 2003?

JK: I compare it to when Stevie Wonder created INNERVISIONS. You can
tell that the music is a direct link to his soul, there is no
mistaking that JUST SAY THE WORD is 100 percent JOSH KELLEY.

PEV: What is the story behind the title track “Just Say The Word”?

JK: I had too much to say not enough balls to say it, so I put it in a
song. I wanted past loved ones to know that I will always be there for
them in a pinch but could never cross the line again. The love we
shared was not a forever love.

PEV: Along with appearing as a guest on shows like Good Morning
America, Ellen and Emeril, you also have songs featured on episodes of
other popular TV shows, including Smallville (“Almost Honest” and
“Cain and Able”), Scrubs (digital soundtrack), Brothers and Sisters
(“Opposite of Me”), and What About Brian (“Lady of Mine”). What was it
like to be showcased as a guest on such a major outlet and to hear
your music as a part of some of the hottest shows on TV?

JK: Pride, in a job well done. I don’t just create music for myself, I
create it for my fellow man to enjoy. When I hear my music on a TV
show it gives me fuel to keep creating…not to mention it really pays
the bills.

PEV: Your music has taken you all over the world; which city do you
think offers the best environment for music?

JK: Chicago hands down is my favorite market. When I can get the rest
of the world to embrace my music like Chicago does, I’ll become the
star I’ve always dreamed of being.

PEV: What is something we would be surprised to hear about you?

JK: I love to grow my beard out.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

JK: They are all very supportive and big fans. It’s a must to have
that kind of support. Being grounded keeps an entertainer

PEV: Tell us about your involvement with Recording Artists Against
Drunk Driving-RADD.

JK: I was approached 2 years ago to become a celebrity messenger for
RADD. I’ve played many shows and also sang many national anthems for
NASCAR as a celebrity messenger. I get it because it’s not about
cutting out alcohol, it’s about being responsible behind the wheel.

PEV: What can someone expect from a live Josh Kelley show? What is the
best part about playing live?

JK: Expect to be entertained. The live show is like theater. If people
wanted to just hear the music they can buy and album and get a nice
stereo, people come to my show for the experience…it’s the ultimate
drug and you get a workout at the same time hahaha.

PEV: In your opinion what makes for a great song?

JK: There is no formula…just be honest.

PEV: Is there one artist now that you think people should be looking out for?

JK: James Morrison

PEV: What is currently in your CD player or on your iPod right now?

JK: The White Buffalo

PEV: If I were to walk into your house right now, what is one thing I
would be surprised to find?

JK: Nothing. I leave surprises to magicians.

PEV: When you are not traveling, writing or performing, what do you like to do?

JK: I love to paint, sculpt, draw, make movies, cook, spend time with
my wonderful fiancé (Katherine Heigl – Grey’s Anatomy)

PEV: If you could collaborate with one artist, alive or passed, who
would it be and why?

JK: Stevie Wonder…self explanatory.

PEV: How has life on the road been for you? And what is the best and
worst part about “road life”?

JK: The pros far outweigh the cons. Again performing is a drug. Seeing
the world is exciting but now that I have someone in my life that I
give most of my love to it’s hard to be away.

PEV: What is next for Josh Kelley?

JK: Producing The White Buffalo, American Idol Artists, building the
label I started (DNK Records). Just put out an art book called
“SPECIAL COMPANY FOR COFFEE”. You can find it at and and MY next album, comes
out fall of 2007 called “Special Company”. And most getting married to
my fiancé.


1 Comment

  1. Today’s Feature - March 14-15: Dave Yaden « said,

    […] You’ve recorded with several talented artists, including fellow alums, Josh Kelly and Tyler Hilton. Who have you not collaborated with so far that you would like […]

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