Raised in the foothills of the Appalachians, Gabriel Kelley grew up in a rustic space out of time, steeped in the music of his forefathers. In his world, contra dances, pickin' parties and neighborly bluegrass were no anachronism. As a child, Gabriel Kelley picked up the guitar and quickly became versed in the various styles of old-time players and songwriters surrounding his youth. So when he began writing and creating his own sounds, Americana/Roots Music wasn't a chosen genre or format. It was, simply, music.
Gabriel Kelley's horizons, however, extended far beyond his north Georgia upbringing, fueled by his teenage decision to devote his life to writing and performing. At all of 16 Gabriel Kelley left the rural town of his youth and undertook a yearlong sojourn at a music conservatory in Gothenburg, Sweden. Being exposed to classes in early Rock & Roll, Blues, and Soul unearthed a vastly significant layer to Kelley's music.
Returning to the states in 2001, Gabriel Kelley fervently pursued his craft, playing in bands in and around the Athens, Georgia music scene though never truly finding his niche. A thoughtless semester at the University of Georgia studying classical guitar only drove Kelley towards frustration, and in the summer of 2003, Gabriel Kelley decided to forgo enrollment in favor of a life on the road.
Selling most of his possessions, Gabriel Kelley spent 18 months traveling the East Coast, living out of his van and devoting all his energy to performing. The education this period provided surpassed anything he could have gained at university. The freedom of being on the road and simply living in the moment gave Gabriel Kelley ample opportunity to refine his approach to writing.
In the spring of 2005, The Reins (Jason Cheek, Will Harrison, and Stephen King), friends from Athens, began performing alongside Gabriel Kelley throughout the southeast, eventually garnerning the attention of Scott Siman, manager of Tim McGraw. Siman showed tremendous enthusiasm for Kelley as a songwriter, and a publishing deal with Stylesonic, McGraw's personal publishing company, ensued shortly thereafter.
Over the next 2 years, Gabriel Kelley struggled with his choice to join a publishing team as a "songwriter". Though financially the position was a blessing ,allowing Gabriel the ability to release Light at the Bottom E.P., and to live and tour more comfortably, the "Nashville Mentality" of "Hit Song Writing" wore on his heart. His ability to write music openly as a true expression of real life experience was suffocated by the Nashville version of "Success".
In the Summer of 2009, Gabriel Kelley parted ways with Style Sonic Publishing with a new and deeper understanding of what "successful music" is. "Honest music from the heart... undiluted by fear, dollar signs, or fame. This is 'successful music' in my book."
The 24-year-old, Gabriel Kelley currently resides content in Nashville simply living, writing and performing the music that he must with plans to record a new album in the summer of 2010.
|Light At The Bottom E.P.||2009||Dualtone Music|
|Stranded In Nashville||2010||Dualtone Music|