Kelly Sweet's Voice is an Amazing Grace: Singer Songwriter Interview & New Music
October/03/2012 11:47 AM
Kelly Sweet's Voice is an Amazing Grace: Singer songwriter reminds us "that when all fear falls away...only love exists"
Rock Star Music News
October 2, 2012
Sometimes you hear a song that draws you in so deeply, you feel a connection to an artist whom you have never met. Such was the case when editor, Nicole Hanratty heard Kelly Sweet's rendition of the love song "Dream On" this past May. [Download Kelly Sweet "Dream On" on iTunes music] It's haunting, enveloping and provocative all at the same time. Kelly Sweet's voice is so captivating you could listen to her songs on repeat and get lost in time.
As Life of a Rock Star™ began to look for more information about Kelly's music, we saw this:
Losing one parent is enough. But to lose the other less than six months later...is beyond.— Kelly Sweet (@kellysweet) May 30, 2012
As instant fans of her voice, our hearts sank as we saw this sweet girl express grief through her twitter feed. She lost both of her parents separately to cancer and as an only child she bore the responsibilities of caring for her parents in their final days and scattering their ashes all on her own. We wanted to interview her but knew she would need some time. We reached out to Kelly recently and are honored that she shared her story with us, it's an inspirational one that reminds us life is "an adventure and a fleeting one at that."
"Ashes of My Paradise"
Released in Japan and online
August 22, 2012
Kelly's new album, "Ashes of My Paradise," was released in Japan, in stores and online on August 22nd, 2012. For fans in Japan, check it out on iTunes or in your local record store! For fans outside of Japan, "Ashes of My Paradise" can be imported to the US on Amazon music and added to your playlist here: http://tinyurl.com/cfgbnsg
Kelly Sweet Interview
September 26, 2012 via email
LOARS: Hi Kelly, We came across your music and just love your sound and voice. Your story is quite compelling - you’ve been through so much in the past couple of years. You released your album “We Are One” with your rendition of “Dream On” in 2007, before you tragically lost both of your parents to cancer. Does your connection to the song take on a different significance now?
Kelly: To be honest, I've written some new songs that are on my new record about my parents, and about the process of losing them, before, during and after. These personal songs mean the world to me, more so than any other song in the past.
LOARS: Do you feel your music has helped your healing process?
Kelly: Absolutely. I was missing my mom intensely (as she was the first parent to leave this plane) a few months back, and suddenly one day, out poured the song "You And I." It reminded me that she and I are always connected, I am a part of her, and always will be.
LOARS: You’ve talked about “Ashes of My Paradise” being both a love song and the title of your new album. You’ve said the album is about regrowth, contrast, rebuilding what was perfect and lost, and reinventing yourself. When you look in the mirror, what do you see or hope to see after rebuilding?
Kelly: Over the years of making this record, I have watched the "girl in the mirror" change a lot, both inside and out. My hair was long and red, and now it is short, very short, and blond! I was a child, without much of an opinion and easily impressionable. I let others run my life, because I lacked the strength to do it yet on my own. . . But now, I see a woman, still young, of course, but one that has determined her direction for her life now, with purpose and strength, and is in control of her own life, finally! Also, on the flip side, I just can't take life so incredibly seriously anymore, it's not worth the stress. Why not enjoy life, when it is truly just an adventure, and a fleeting one at that?
LOARS: Is there a song on the new album with which you are most connected?
Kelly: I am so connected to every song. Every song is a side of myself, and multiple meanings for me. If you want to know me, look to my lyrics, this is how I see the world, how I think. Some moments I am the woman warrior in "Black Gun Parade," fighting a war in her own head, battling the opposing forces of joy and fear and living through both simultaneously. Other moments I am the goddess in "My Amazing Grace," falling in love, seeing the beauty in everything, and the fear simply drops away. And other moments still, I am still a child, a daughter, like in "Why (Nothing Else Matters)," "You And I," and "Pictures and Numbers" going through the process of saying goodbye. I can't really choose my favorite! They are all me!
LOARS: Your voice is virtually mesmerizing. It’s easy to see why your mom was willing to pack up your house and take you on the road. But as a result, you spent a lot of time traveling in your teenage years. How do you think that shaped you growing up?
Kelly: Thank you so much! Yes, I did. I lost most of my friends, and my only social life was with my mom, for the most part. After that, it was hard for me to make new friends, since I lacked those high school years where you learn all those social things... I also grew up very quickly, although I have been told I've always been mature for my age, even when I was very young. I had to fit in with adults in the music industry and understand them!
LOARS: Do you have a favorite memory with your mom on the road in those years?
Kelly: What a great question! I loved when we sang together in the car while she drove. She was not a singer, but together we'd figure out harmonies to the songs on our favorite CDs and sing them. We did it for hours. Makes me smile, thinking about it...
LOARS: Your biography says you were playing piano notes before you were walking…and sang at the Cape Cod Conservatory for an audience for the first time at age four. Can you tell us your first memories of being connected with music in a significant way?
Kelly: Well actually, I was singing before walking yes, but I only play very little piano. . . maybe a typo? My hands are actually very subtly handicapped (not noticeable unless I show you... haha) and it makes playing instruments very hard. I am working on getting better at piano though! My first performance was with my father playing piano, at the age of 4, yes. I remember being very expressive, all on my own. My hands kind of conduct me, and they did even at that age! It's hilarious to see the video... A little four year old singing "When You Wish Upon A Star," very expressively and seriously and using hand motions, the whole thing!
My dad, playing the same piano that now lives in my studio. instagr.am/p/OhKhHivN8i/— Kelly Sweet (@kellysweet) August 19, 2012
LOARS: With a father who was a jazz pianist and a mother who was an artist, we’re guessing there was never any doubt you would follow in their footsteps creatively. What strengths do you think you have that you can attribute to each of them?
Kelly: Creatively, I would say my father taught me the beauty of the piano. It is my favorite instrument. My mother taught me and encouraged me to express myself. She pushed my to start turning all my little poems into lyrics at 12. They both taught me that music comes through you, not from you. And we practice all the time because we must remain an open and capable channel to express it!
LOARS: “My Amazing Grace” lyrics are so poetic. The visual imagery that the music evokes is I’m sure different for every listener. What does it summon for you?
Kelly: "My Amazing Grace" is about the process of falling in love. The lion in the verses represents my own fear of falling, of heartbreak, of so many things... but the chorus speaks of the moment when all fear falls away, and only love exists! It's like floating, everything feels like it's glowing, and everything is perfect. We all know the feeling... at least everyone should at least once in their life.
LOARS: From where do you draw inspiration when you are writing your music?
Kelly: Life, and the way I see it. My view of the world around me, and everything in it!
LOARS: You’re songs exude the wisdom only someone with an old soul could possess. You have traveled to many places and circled your way through life’s ups and downs. Where is it that you haven’t been yet--literally or emotionally--that you hope to get to?
Kelly: So many places! Italy for one! India, Thailand, Bali, Ireland... and the list goes on. I want to see all of the world before I pass on to the other side... I look forward to future life adventures, like being a mother, etc. (not ANY time soon though)... all of life's adventures! I hope my life will be full of many different sides of me. I don't want to do one thing forever, I'd love to write just poetry someday, write a book someday, work with children someday, etc. For me, life is about discovering and exploring all side of yourself! At this chapter, I am expressing through music and lyrics, etc. I'm sure always will in some way for the rest of my life.
LOARS: Ten years down the road, where do you see yourself?
Kelly: Ten years from now I'll be 34. WOW, time flies. I hope to be a mother by then. Have a balanced life between music and my children. I also imagine I'll have released several albums, and will have had/continue to have the opportunity to share my music with other souls that feel it like I do. I imagine I'll have toured the world a few times over, and seen many of the sights and cultures I've always wanted to see. Maybe by then I'll be working on a book too.
LOARS: Is the “Ashes of My Paradise” set to be released in the States any time soon?
Kelly: There is no release date yet, but we hope soon! We are working hard everyday to achieve that goal!
LOARS: What is on your personal playlist these days? Any favorite bands or artists?
Kelly: Currently I am obsessed with Fink. He is so excellent. Also loving two new artists Chelsea Lankes and Frank + Derol.
LOARS: Just for fun…can you tell us a few of your favorites?
• Place to live
Kelly: I think it would be excellent to live in two places, as I really need balance in my life. One, would be Colorado, in the mountains, tucked away, or something of the sort, and then of course a city like Los Angeles or New York. Then, one never gets tired of either.
• Brand of jeans / or clothing
Kelly: J brand jeans just fits my body excellently. They have really got it down lately! I find pieces everywhere, but in LA I usually luck out at the store Wasteland, on Melrose, a vintage clothing store.
• Place to eat
Kelly: Ah! Depends on the food! In LA, I love Angelini Osteria, because who doesn't. But my real favorite is Sugarfish. I adored Sushi Nozawa, and now he and his family have come out with Sugarfish so we can all enjoy that high quality of sushi for a decent price! I'm addicted. Oh, and also Babycakes. (vegan, gluten free, cupcakes and desserts) Hehe!
• Way to relax
Kelly: Couple of ways: meditation, yoga, and my favorite the Korean day spas in Korea Town. SO GOOD.
• TV show
Kelly: Well, there's a few! New Girl, OF COURSE. But also there is a fantastic series on Hulu called Misfits that I LOVE. Have to see it. Loving all the new fall TV shows coming out, like the The Mindy Project and Revolution. Good stuff!
LOARS: Because we always ask… Is there a charity that is near and dear to your heart or to which you donate your time?
Kelly: To be honest, I am still searching the charity that feels like home to me. It used to be anything animal related, and I did a lot of work with North Shore Animal Shelter and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (near where I grew up). But I feel that in this stage of my life, I want to find a charity that supports cancer research, but specifically one that supports alternative therapies that are not always related to drugs and chemotherapies, but more homeopathic cures and diet.
For more information on Kelly Sweet please visit: http://www.kelly-sweet.com/
Follow @KellySweet on Twitter
Find Kelly Sweet on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kellysweet