Born: February 22, 1954 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Kellye Gray is cool. Not Miles Davis cool, though certainly she has some elements of that. It’s more like your best friend kind of cool. The kind of cool that makes you feel at ease. You want to shoot the breeze with her because she’s engaging, and you’ll laugh your ass off. Kellye Gray is also a jazz singer. A good one at that, which is no small feat considering her predecessors. Raised on R&B and the Motown sound, Gray was turned on to jazz by her parents. First it was singers like Sarah Vaughn and Cris Connor. Then it was instrumental monsters like Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, The Modern Jazz Quartet and John Coltrane. “I didn’t discover Ella or Betty Carter until much later on,” she adds. Paul J. MacArthur, Houston Press
A Dallas native, Gray was a fixture in Houston (almost idol status) for several years before moving to San Francisco in 1992. Beginning her career on Austin’s Sixth Street, she provided a rare jazz experience that attracted the college crowd as well as the more sophisticated up-and-coming baby boomers. The San Francisco Examiner called her “a musically most imaginative tour de force.” In 1990 her first album, Standards In Gray (Justice Records), soared to #12 on the Gavin Report, selling over 75,000 copies. Three years later, another chart-topper, Tomato Kiss (Proteus Recordings), helped her move into the national spotlight. An induction into the Texas Jazz Heritage Society along with moving to San Francisco continued to raise the bar and legitimized her as a career jazz vocalist. CMJ New Music Report said she “emerges with moxie and sophistication.” Her career stalled in 2000 after death and divorce. Not one to be driven too far off-track, in 20022003 Kellye produced the double live album, Blue and Pink (Proteus Recordings). By early 2007 she had put a new team together and released the concert recording, Live at the Jazzschool (Grr8Records). Amazon.com and Epionions.com report comments like, “Kellye Gray simply blew me away. Very few female jazz singers have her range and soul.” And, “Kellye Gray is one of the finest singers I’ve ever heard on record or in person. She can blast away or quietly capture your heart.” 2008 opened with another live recording, KG3 Live! at the Bugle Boy (Grr8Records), an acoustic trio project featuring classical guitar, acoustic bass and jazz voice. The trio recorded at the La Grange, Texas vintage WWII army barracks venue. JazzTimes magazine reports that this recording is Gray at her raw, uninhibited, deconstructionist best.
Kellye has performed for dignitaries and heads-of-state. She has had the honor of sharing the stage with a wide variety of jazz, blues and R&B stars throughout the United States and the world. She regularly tours the U.S. and Europe, performing at festivals and concerts and nightclubs. Some notable mentions have been the Spoleto Festival USA, Stanford Jazz Festival, Houston International Festival, the Jazz and Blues Heritage Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s, the Cinegrille, Snug Harbor, Lincoln Center, Les Caveaux de la Rochette, and many, many more.
“Simply the most exciting singer to debut” says USA Today.
Awards:two Addy awards (Katz's Never Closes and Top of the Marc) Austin, Texas
Kellye Gray emereges with moxy and sophistication - CMJ New Music Report
Simply one of the most exciting jazz singers - USA Today
A musically most imaginative tour de force - San Francisco Examiner
clearly demonstrating that jazz singing can stretch the envelope of creativity without sacrificing a direct connection with an audience - The Los Angeles Times
A jazz singer with the ability to connect with a generation raised on rock - Sunday Star Ledger
Kellye Gray is one of the finest singers I've ever heard on record or in person. She can blast away or quietly capture your heart - Epinions.com More
Gray milked it for everything it's got and yet another drop slid down her throat - LA Jazz Scene
Gray has a sort of Sarah Vaughn sits-around-with-Sade-at- Ella Fitgerald's-house-voice that has tremendous stength and range - The Houston Press
Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
creator of the "Sploosh" technique. Vocal and acting educator for 15 years. Clinics, workshops and weekend seminars available. Pricing and other details are negotiated. Prefer working with intermediate to advanced students, but am open to audition anyone interested Private one hour lessons ($100/hr) availability open -- please contact
The Art of Vocal Interpretation -- vocal clinic in two or four hour lengths. Uses the "Sploosh" techniques developed by Ms. Gray. Main focus of clinic is to guide student to understand how to turn off the editor of the mind, to gain control over the creative process. Also, the student will learn how to create and recognize truth anchors to help with the overall communication when interpreting a lyric.