Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Kelly’s first musical love was classical music. He studied piano beginning in kindergarten and switched to trumpet by sixth grade. Kelly then fell in love with the French Horn, playing in D.C. area youth and community orchestras and musical theater pit orchestras. He started composing music for school productions and playing in various jazz/rock bands and contemporary classical ensembles. In high school, Kelly was heavily influenced by the music of Frank Zappa. Through Frank Zappa interviews in magazines and newspapers, Kelly learned about the music of Stockhausen, Varese and other 20th century masters who provided a first direction to Kelly in electronic music. Wendy Carlos’ seminal album “Switched on Bach” showed Kelly what a classical approach to electronic synthesis could do and then seeing Keith Emerson’s giant Moog modular synthesizer at an early ELP show propelled Kelly’s interest in synthesizers.
After high school, Kelly studied classical music composition at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati. There, he got his hands on his first synthesizer, the ARP 2600, and composed music concrete works which he performed live with multiple tape decks (much to the dismay of the then conservative classical academics).
Kelly left the music conservatory to start a major market career as a radio DJ, playing the hits in Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Diego, Honolulu, Washington, DC and Baltimore. Along the way, Kelly picked up degrees in political science and law. After law school, Kelly built his first home electronic music studio, creating compositions he shared only with friends and family.
After a move to out west to Denver in 1997, Kelly met Tucson’s ambient and electronic music master, Steve Roach. They subsequently developed a personal and professional kinship. Steve mixed and produced Kelly’s first album, Broken Voyage in 2002 and mastered and added spatial enhancements to Kelly’s 2006 release, Angkor. In 2014, Kelly collaborated with Steve an album called The Long Night.
Meditation in Green is Kelly’s first release for Spotted Peccary.