Get To Know: Claude Kelly
Stemming from NYC’s Lower East Side neighborhood, Claude Kelly is a hit making singer/songwriter with a very diverse clientèle.
Having written number one hits for everyone from Miley Cyrus to R. Kelly, he caters to all genres and prides himself on being the “Studio Beast” – an fitting nickname given to him by his industry peers.
Kiki got to find out more about Claude, like how he got his start, what his famous clients have taught him, and how he considers Converse Chucks a “uniform”.
Check it out:
DrJays.com: How did you get your start in the music industry?
Claude Kelly: “I’ve been singing, playing piano, and performing all of my life, but my introduction to songwriting came right after college. I came home to NYC and figured I should try what ever it took to ‘get in the door’. I sold one of the first songs I ever wrote to an artist in Japan. That gave me the confidence to keep pushing”.
DrJays.com: You’ve been dubbed as the “Studio Beast”. How did that title come about?
Claude Kelly: “It’s a title I got because of my work ethic. I guess you could call me a workaholic. I don’t write anything down, I go behind the mic and make up all my melodies and lyrics on the spot. I write music across many genres that make stand apart. I’ve had success writing pop, r&b, soul, jazz and rock music. I’m also a singer and vocal arranger – so I demo all of my songs, and vocal arrange every artist I work with”.
DrJays.com: You’ve worked with everyone from Akon to Whitney Houston to Miley Cyrus. Is there a particular music genre that you enjoy working with most?
Claude Kelly: “No. That would be like asking a parent which one of their children they like the most. Each artist brings a unique style that makes him or her amazing. Every genre of music satisfies me in ways the others cant. Music can’t be defined by one genre, which is why I refuse to be put in a box. I write whatever style comes to me, when it comes to me. to deny one part would be like cutting off a limb”.
DrJays.com: From the various artists you have worked with so far, which ones have been the most inspiring to you?
Claude Kelly: “I draw inspiration from them all. I like to surround myself with artists that are better than me because that’s the only way you learn, grown, and stay humble. Akon taught me the power of a Killer hook. Britney Spears taught me showmanship. I learned to seize the moment from Whitney Houston. R.Kelly is a musical mastermind who pushed me to my creative limits. Christina Aguilera taught me that the love is in the details. Her voice is unreal. Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, and Chrisette Michele…I get goosebumps when they sing”.
DrJays.com: You went to Berklee College of Music in Boston. How do you feel your education helped you get to where you are now?
Claude Kelly: “Berklee helped me realize that my talent was unique. in a school full of musicians you’ve got to learn what makes you stand out. I learned through trial and error what made me Claude Kelly”.
DrJays.com: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Claude Kelly: “My 5-year plan is no different from my ‘today plan’. I want to create art that defines our culture, and inspires people. I want my work to live far longer than I will. I want you to hear my art at weddings, holiday parties, in movies / television, on Broadway stages, in clubs and on the radio”.
Claude Kelly: “Converse – Chuck Taylors are a MUST HAVE. They are like my uniform. I’m kind of a dark moody person and my style reflects that. I love combat boots, leather jackets, and hoodies. I also have a weakness for cool jeans. I love fashion but hate labels – I hate seeing someone in the same clothes you have on. So I stay away from a lot of big commercial name brands, and over the top logos. They are usually tacky”.
DrJays.com: Who would you say is the best dressed celebrity you have worked with in the music industry?
Claude Kelly: “ME!”
DrJays.com: Any tips for our aspiring songwriters out there?
Claude Kelly: “Don’t limit yourself. Do NOT let anyone tell u what you can’t do. Explore and get comfortable with every genre – it increases your chances of success. Do your homework. Study the music you are writing and know both the artists doing it now and the ones who came before. Be confident, but not arrogant about your talent. If your unsure, tell yourself, “No one can do me, better than ME, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
DrJays.com: What are you currently working on?
Claude Kelly: “I currently have a hit record with Miley Cyrus called ‘Party in the USA’. I have the first single and title track for Adam Lambert, ‘For Your Entertainment’. I have a new single with R.Kelly called ‘Echo’. I also have new music coming soon with Christina Aguilera, Ke$ha, Fantasia, Jason Derulo, Jay Sean, Melanie Fiona, Sugababes, as well as original music for the movie Burlesque starring Christina Aguilera and Cher“.
Get more info on Claude Kelly:
www.claudekellyonline.com – too be launched soon