Kellylee Evans exploded on the jazz scene when she achieved 2nd place in the Thelonius Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition in 2004. Before this however, she had put off her musical dreams in an effort to please her parents. In essence, Kellylee was a ‘professional student’ at Carleton University in Ottawa, earning two undergraduate degrees, and working on her Masters, all in an effort, as she describes it, to ‘avoid the real world’.
It wasn’t until the death of her mother that she decided to take the plunge and pursue her musical career, and we as listeners and fans are glad that she did!
Following her 2nd place finish, she received an offer to go to Paris and record an album of her own choosing. The resulting album, ‘Nina’, was a critical and commercial success, and earned Evans a Juno award.
Her career was on an upward trajectory until she was struck by lightning in her home in 2013. This devastating incident profoundly affected her, and left her unable to perform for a few years. Her injuries were further compounded by a fall in 2015, which concussed her. Fortunately, she was able to return in 2018. To this day, she still feels the effects of these injuries, and has to manage her touring and performing schedule carefully.
During this interview, we discussed these events, but the one element of her personality that continues to shine through is her optimism despite these setbacks. Not only is she an engaging performer, but she is also a warm, friendly person with a great sense of humour and a willingness to keep pushing forward.
I am grateful that Kellylee took the time to interview for the show. We discussed a lot of things, and I know that you’ll enjoy listening to this episode!