So today, we are getting close and personal with KELLY, a mastermind of the dreamy indie pop/rock vibes you can’t get enough of.
I mean, that’s the guy whose music career is coming true, one catchy song at after the other. But how did he think of that stage name actually? A name that Norwegian people find difficult to pronounce, he chose Kelly as it is easy to say. Put a little “IN” for international touch, and there was IN Kelly.
Where does the inspiration of IN Kelly come from? Amazingly, much of it derives from those brief seconds before he drifts off to sleep. Yes, you got it correctly. His musical ideas like playing peakaboo just before he goes to bed. A creative alarm clock is to talk about!
IN Kelly has always had a big interest in music. From listening to the tunes of his older brother to getting chilled while hearing Pink Floyd’s scary sounds, he’s been going through melodies since day one. Together with a family of musicians and artists, creativity might be in his blood.
However, music is not the only thing that IN Kelly focuses on—it’s the stories he portrays through his songs. With a lot of inspiration from The Smiths, The Cure, and The Strokes, he easily spins poetic short stories that will get hold of your heart.
Ahead of his solo debut album “Sleepwalker,” K. Kelly isn’t just about creating music but making connections as well. As he plucks his guitar strings or writes songs, he is inviting you onto a voyage where dreams become reality and music soars.
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Watch Sleepwalker here
What is your stage name?
Is there a story behind your stage name?
Dreaming of becoming a professional musician in my youth, I thought my Norwegian name was too hard to pronounce outside of Norway. I therefore took the name Kelly, as it has the same first letter as my real name. As a lot of artists have the same name, I’m adding IN to it, as it is my International Name.
Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly from dreaming and daydreaming. I often get musical ideas right before falling asleep, and I have to choose between prioritizing sleep or getting the idea in some form on a recorder.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Listening to music was a big part of my childhood, and I would mostly listen to what my older brother was listening to at the time. I have fond memories of my father playing Tom Waits records in the car, and I found the opening track on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon a bit scary.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
Yes, most of my family on both my mother and father’s side play at least one instrument and are above average interested in music, and some are also into film and painting.
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
In my early youth, bands like Oasis made me want to live a life as a musician. But later I understood that this wasn’t the life I wanted, and I don’t consider myself to be part of the music industry. I make music that I want people to hear, but I feel free in making what I want outside of the industry part.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was thirteen years old. At the time I was a huge fan of bands like Oasis, and I discovered that I could find guitar chords for all of their songs on the internet. I taught myself to play that way, I never had a teacher. Then I started to only play and sing songs I wrote myself, sometimes discovering guitar chords I wasn’t sure were “real chords”.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
The first big concert I attended I think was Bon Jovi in Oslo in 1993 – when I was nine years old. I went with my mother and brother.
How could you describe your music?
I would describe it as dreamy melodic indie pop/rock with post-punk influences.
Describe your creative process.
When we make music as a band, we jam together and I add melodies and lyrics. As a solo artist, I create melodies on an acoustic guitar before writing the lyrics. Then I experiment with other instruments before I let my subconscious work for a while, letting additional ideas come spontaneously.
What is your main inspiration?
Inspiration naturally comes from other bands and musicians I listen to or listened to growing up, like The Smiths, The Cure, The Strokes, Nick Cave and Patrick Duff. Influences that may not be as obvious are Sonic Youth and Pixies, and I can also be inspired by newer music like Wolf Alice and Diiv.
What musician do you admire most and why?
Maybe Björk, for not being or sounding like anyone else.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
I definitely hope so, as I started writing songs when I was thirteen. I like to always try new things, experiment with styles and structure. There are a lot more synth sounds on my solo album compared to the songs in my band Bravo Papa.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
I don’t think I compete with anybody. I don’t know what I would compete over.
What are your interests outside of music?
Psychology, watching movies, reading.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
I would be a psychologist.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
Getting the music heard.
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
I’m not sure if I understand how the music industry works today. As an example, I was suddenly notified that an old track of ours from 2014 had gained more than 60.000 streams on Tiktok. When I looked into it, someone had used our song over a picture of a father putting his “oppositional son in the trunk”, with the message “Bravo Papa” – the name of our band. If that’s in any way representative for how you can get your music heard today, I have to say I feel a bit nostalgic.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
The “Sleepwalker” is one of the characters in the song. My partner has compared my songs to dreamy short stories, and this song is no exception. It’s about a kind of relationship one can be nostalgic about, but that could only exist at a certain point in time.
What are your plans for the coming months?
‘Sleepwalker’ is the first single from my upcoming solo album, which I am looking forward to releasing very soon.
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans
Not any concrete plans, but I am looking forward to creating music with Bravo Papa again.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
Enjoy the process!