The Canadian rising star singer/songwriter Kellylee Evans is a chameleon-like performer, whose natural charm and improvisational panache have shined on her adventurous journey through jazz,
soul, pop and hip-hop over the past decade. In that period, she released two indie solo albums of
original songs in Canada, earned two Juno Award nominations (winning “Best Jazz Vocal
Album” for Nina, her impassioned tribute to Nina Simone), captivated adoring French and
Canadian fan bases and performed around the world, opening for such stars as John Legend,
Dianne Reeves, Derek Trucks, George Benson and Willy Nelson. She is about to stun America
with her U.S. debut on Mote´ma Music, I Remember When (July 22, 2014), on which she
brilliantly refreshes and puts her stamp on songs by hip-hop royalty Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop
Dog, Kanye West and others.
Not bad for a mother of three, who went straight from singing in the shower to performing live at
the Kennedy Center where she came in 2nd place in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition in
2004, as judged by Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, and Flora Purim. The inspiringly motivated
Kellylee threw herself into her dream of singing after enduring the death of her mother and has
never looked back. Her unfettered determination enabled her to overcome being struck by
lightning last year at her home in Canada near Ottawa. The rare incident made national news,
and though suffering much pain and unable to walk at first, Kellylee didn't cancel a single date.
She chose rather to be helped on stage, where she performed exceptionally well while seated
throughout her summer touring schedule.
"I inherited a real joie de vivre from my mother, and my French is pretty decent now. But music
really is one language worldwide, as is dance. When I'm on a stage, I'm happy and want to share
that with the audience. I keep reminding myself how lucky I am. Whether I'm opening for Tony
Bennett at a big festival or performing in a little club in front of thirty people, this is still a
Kellylee has had her sights on launching her career in America since she began singing, and is
poised to realize that dream with I Remember When, a signature album that showcases an
emerging artist and songwriter with a truly original voice. Dynamic, hip and modern, her warm,
soulful timbre reminds you of fellow true originals of her generation, such as Amy Winehouse
and Erykah Badu. The album captures her phenomenal voice, effervescence and electrifying
convergence of musical styles from her generation and before with an arresting combination of
jazz, soul, pop and hip-hop grooves that feel simultaneously fresh and retro.
Kellylee created the album with co-producer/pianist Eric Legnini (a much in-demand
artist/producer working out of Paris), whom she met through co-producer Se´bastien Vidal, a key programming director for France’s taste-making TSF Jazz radio station, and for the popular Paris
jazz club, Duc des Lombards. “It's fair to talk about a soul/jazz aesthetic, because we all grew up
with the same music,” explains Kellylee. “There's a hip-hop feel that comes from our
improvisational response to samples we use, and our originals carry these contemporary
influences too. Eric has an incredible collection of old soul records. Se´bastien knows jazz, not
only what came before but also what's happening today. When we started this whole thing, it was
like we'd switched on some time machine.” All that remained was for them to give body and
meaning to such an eclectic repertoire, and they have.
I Remember When, originally recorded in Belgium and released in France by Universal Music,
comprises 13 tracks and features 9 originals penned by Kellylee and Legnini. The US version
includes three new tracks: "Built to Fly," "One More Lover" and "Again. " The album opens with
an unforgettable introduction to Kellylee – “My Name Is” – an original song inspired both by
Eminem’s song of the same name and his classic rap hit, “Stan,” which drops as the second
single on July 1st. The song is driven by a catchy baritone sax line and establishes her
modern/retro jazz/soul groove. The irresistible melody of “Alors on Danse,” the world-wide club
hit by rising Belgian rapper Stromae, forms the backbone of the next track, “And So We Dance,”
which is available now on iTunes as the first single from I Remember When. The wonderfully
choreographed music video of this song, directed by famed French director Thierry Theston,
should not be missed.
With a thriving career in Canada and a growing legion of fans in France, the unstoppable
Kellylee Evans is clearly destined to flourish in America.