JO KELLY STEPHENSON - ABOUT
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Jo Kelly Stephenson's debut album 'I See Flowers, You See Cars' won numerous awards including 'Alt. Country Album of the Year: Vox Populi' in the US Independent Music Awards. She received a major prize in the ASA 28th Annual Australian Songwriting Competition. This landed her a performance slot at the televised awards night alongside Aussie rock legends The Angel's Doc Neeson & The Brewster Brothers. Her song ‘Perfect Chance’ reached the top 5 for the 2009 IMAs Alt. Country Song Of The Year. To add to this, her bluesy number ‘I’ll Be True To You’ placed 2nd in the 16th Annual Billboard World Song Contest R&B / Blues category and 5th in the Blues category of the 2011 OzSong International song contest. Earlier awards include 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th & 9th places in the AUSMUSIC category of the ASA Australian Songwriting Contest 2001 in which her songs took out 6 of the 10 places, multiple years finalist in Australia's APRA Professional Development Awards & Top 10 Finalist in the MusicOz Awards among others. She has also had original articles & poems published in Australian newspapers.
Her music has been featured in several prime network television shows & films aired worldwide including A&E TV series 'The Glades', TNT’s 'Rizzoli & Isles', ABC’s 'Switched at Birth’ & 'Mistresses' & CBS program 'Unforgettable'. All shows attracted viewer numbers in the millions, many of which can now be viewed on Netflix. Her music featured in Warner Brother’s cinema release 'Girl On A Bicycle' directed by Jeremy Leven. She supplied music for US indie film about African American slavery 'Alone'. Her song ‘Kitchen Talk’ became the theme music for online New York based TV series, ‘Cooking for Bachelors'. Further, Jo Kelly recently supplied two original jingles for Vietti Chili, which landed her multiple performances featuring Aly Sutton & Grammy Award Winner Jim Lauderdale playing chef, on the Music City Roots show. Her image appeared on Vietti Chili cans in US grocery stores across the south & her music can be found on their Vietti Vinyl website. Her songs are currently being played in shopping malls & stores across America including Ralph's, Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Walmart. She also supplied call hold music for Walgreens and more.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Jo Kelly has performed at top music venues and festivals throughout her country. These include Melbourne’s historic international venue, The Palais Theatre, The Metro Theatre in Sydney and The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Brisbane. She showcased at Michael Chugg's 'Australian Music Week', which has an average attendance of 300,000 people. Her earliest years were spent touring with her father's band as part of their contract with EMI Records & Premier Artists touring company Australia. Her independent release receives airplay on several stations throughout Australia, Europe and the USA. She has completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music (with Distinction) through Southern Cross University, a Post Graduate Diploma of Music Education (Master's of Teaching) with Honors from the University of Melbourne & one year of Music Business Studies. She was granted entry into the International Golden Key Society on the merit of her grades in the top 15% of Australian Post Graduates in the fields of music & education. Prior academic achievements include the award for 'VCE Excellence in Music' based on grades that placed her in the top 6% of Victorian music students in her final year of high school. Subsequently she was one of six students selected in the state to perform at the awards ceremony held at ABC Studios Melbourne.
Jo Kelly currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee after receiving a US 'O1b visa for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability in the Arts'. 'Alien!' that's a new one to add to the portfolio! With a back catalog of over 150 songs, for many of which she owns the copyright, Jo Kelly currently seeks further international publishing, performance, collaboration and recording opportunities. Many of her tracks were produced at self-owned and managed Red Desert Studios and family owned Back Pocket Records.
Her debut album 'I See Flowers, You See Cars', co-produced with her father Ken Stephenson, features Aussie blues icons Mike Rudd, Bill Putt and Peter Robertson from the hit band Spectrum, 70's Australian folk star Ross Ryan & her brother Paul Stephenson to name a few. Jo Kelly sings and plays guitar, piano, melodeon, bass and tried her hand at drumming on an east coast Australia tour.
Biggest musical influences? "Eclectic & diverse beginnings. Ma & Pa, who introduced me to the words & the music & a lot of stuff in general growing up. My mother, a classically trained pianist & English literature teacher & my father, a math & science major come touring musician, songwriter, producer & more, exposed me to a wide array of music spanning many genres. Early beginnings as a hippie child on the road & teenage years spent dissecting T. S. Eliot poems with my mother whilst Dad recorded in the house until the wee morning hours. It was absolutely inevitable that not only would I develop chronic insomnia, but also that the sounds & vibrations would seep deep into the psyche & infect me for life making it very difficult to pursue a normal path."
"Her brand of bluesy country deserves comparisons to Shawn Colvin. The songs are strong and her voice sounds wonderfully fresh"- Jeff Jenkins, 'Australian Music Mag' (JB Hi-Fi - Australia’s largest physical music retailer’s guide to new music in store).
"Otis Redding meets Cyndi Lauper in the country" - Anthony J. Resta (Producer: Elton John, Blondie, Duran Duran) describing the song 'Perfect Chance'