I had the pleasure of connecting with the talented Rorie Kelly last year when she submitted to perform at the She Rocks Showcase at the NAMM Show in Nashville.
Since then I’ve been an avid believer in this NYC-based singer/songwriter. Kelly has faced her demons and is striking out to fulfill her dream with the creation of her new album Rising Rising Rising.
She’s got a crowd-funding campaign underway on RocketHub to fund the project. Check out her uplifting message and gorgeous vocals here>>
And check out what she has to say here, too!
What motivated you to start writing songs?
When I was in middle school I frequently wrote poetry and I did it in a weird way. I heard a melody in my head that went along with the words. It didn't all rhyme or have a typical song form but the melody was part of the package, at least in my head. When I was thirteen, I heard a song that moved me to tears late one night and I thought, "I need to do this. This is what I am here for." It was on of those instantaneous life changing moments that you see more in fiction than in reality — but I have never looked back.
I taught myself to play guitar and started turning my song-poems into song-songs. I'm very lucky in that writing music feels as natural to me as breathing. Once I had the tools (six strings, vocal chords, the English language) I was in.
Tell us about your new project and what you hope to accomplish.
I am putting out a new album, Rising Rising Rising, which is the story of my journey through the last several years from a very dark emotional place to feeling empowered and capable of writing my own destiny. My goal, apart from just sharing the songs in a new and more complete way, is to inspire others to take charge of their own journeys. I want to give my listeners both a source of validation and a jumping off point.
The song you share, “If You Teach a Bird” is just lovely. Can you tell the story of that song?
I wrote the song spontaneously after listening to a song on Brandi Carlile's live album. I had read an interview somewhere where she said that she grew up on stage singing standards, and the people close to her were very uncomfortable when she said she wanted to take an original songwriter route. I was listening to her lead the entire crowd in song — a part that always makes me cry no matter what I am doing — and I had the thought, "If you teach a bird to sing, she's going to learn to fly."
It doesn't make a lot of logical sense but the feeling I had was, Brandi grew up on stage and learned to use that big beautiful voice and then she grew up and took it in exactly the direction she wanted. She created this beautiful thing that nobody even knew she was capable of. It moved me. I took the line and wrote a song with a theme of moving on from a painful, constraining situation and opening your wings to fly away free.
I understand that you were bullied when you were younger. What would you like readers to know about your experience?
The biggest thing I want people to know is that if you're being bullied, abused or harassed in any way: it's not your fault, it's not your identity and it's OK to be affected by it. When I was growing through it I had many people around me telling me to "be more thick skinned" and "let it roll off my back." I think their message was well intentioned but the effect was not only did I have this painful situation in my life, but I also felt like it wasn't OK to be upset about it or to express my feelings about it — anger, rage, frustration, sadness. I got the impression that only a weak person would have these feelings.
I did a lot of repressing (in part for self preservation) and I had to unlearn those habits years down the line. Don't be afraid to be true to yourself even if your feelings are challenging to deal with — and don't be afraid to do whatever it takes to get yourself to a better situation. You don't deserve to live a painful life.
What do you hope people walk away thinking or feeling after they listen to your music?
More than anything I want to give people validation and hope. Whether it is because I touched on something dark and gave validation to something they too, have experienced, or simply passed on a feeling of positive inspiration... I want to lift people up.
You’re funding your new project through RocketHub. How is it going?
So far: great! I hit 17 percent within the first 17 hours (that's a weird number but one I happened to notice). Things have slowed down after the initial flurry of sharing it around, which I understand is normal. To keep the fire going I am reaching out to people individually as well as posting regular updates on my Facebook page, and shouting out to people who contribute. Currently I'm at 35% funded with 49 days to go which feels AWESOME!!!
One of my contribution rewards is a hand-drawn dinosaur picture, which is unexpectedly extremely popular. I'm going to start posting the pictures soon, as get them done, so check out www.facebook.com/roriekellymusic if you're into seeing awesome Jurassic friends drawn in crayon.
Where can we find out more about you and your music?
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank anyone reading this for giving time to the indie community today... and send out a reminder that we can ALL succeed by supporting each other. Art is about community, not competition. :)
Find out more at http://www.roriekelly.com/