With a voice described as 'silky-smooth' and a debut CD that 'sounds like it came from a major record label,' Kelleen is embarking on an exciting journey as a unique solo artist. After receiving high accolades from Indianapolis' top jazz DJs and local publications, things are looking up for this 26-year-old pianist/singer. Simply Beautiful displays her vocal versatility as she maneuvers over swinging jazz arrangements, catchy Latin grooves, soulful rock, and even classical seriousness. Simply Beautiful features over 30 of the best jazz musicians in Indianapolis, including singing legend Jimmy Guilford, Rob Dixon, Claud Sifferlin, Frank Glover, Steve Weakley, Mark Buselli, Tommy Mullinex, Oliver Nelson Jr., Frank Smith, Kenny Phelps, Bill Lancton, David Atkins, Ray Cumberland, Ken Fary, Mike Stricklin and many more. This CD of Christmas favorites and Holiday classics has a variety of unique styles and treatments, from the standard jazz trio to salsa to big band to full string orchestra. These songs were arranged by Roberto Monsalve, Rudy Finnell, Rich Dole and Gary Mielke. Simply Beautiful was conceived, arranged and recorded within 30 days by producer, Bill Myers. The CD was tracked in Indianapolis ay Hit City Studios by veteran engineer, Tim Brickley, edited and mixed at the Static Shack by Gary Mielke and mastered by veteran Alan Johnson. Born in Valders, a small farming community in Wisconsin, her parents and four siblings would often sing and perform at their local church. From the early age of 3, she became fascinated with the sounds from the piano and composed her own music for hours at a time. After persistently asking her parents for lessons, she began intensive classical studies six hours per week at the age of 10. Homeschooled, this allowed her the time to focus on her music. She went on to win many awards in local as well as national competitions, and eventually was discovered by Butler University's Professor of Piano, Panayis Lyras who offered her a full music scholarship, which she accepted. Although piano was her first passion, she was also intrigued with various singers and their unique voices. 'I spent countless hours trying to attain Barbara Streisand's vibrato, Dawn Upshaw's clarity, Mariah Carey's flexibility, and Nancy Wilson's phrasing...I experimented with all styles.' She looked for opportunities to sing around Indianapolis while pursuing her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Classical Piano. The director of the University's jazz band encouraged her to sing and invited her to perform on his professional gigs. 'I remember my very first jazz performance was in front of 500 people. The audience was brought to tears and gave such a hearty ovation...I became hooked on performing and realized the power that lyrics could have on people.' She started to sing at local jazz clubs, restaurants, and special events, and landed a weekend job playing and singing at a private country club. She also met Bill Myers, the producer of Simply Beautiful, who heard her singing in a jazz club and began developing her as an artist. He broadened her musical scope by turning her on to musicians such as Gladys Knight, Carole King, and Roberta Flack. By the time of graduation, she had developed a reputation as an outstanding 'pianist AND singer.' In late September, 2002, after a moving performance for The President of Butler, the Head of Alumni, and the class of '43 and '53, it was obvious that it was time to get into the recording studio. Over 30 of Indianapolis' top musicians participated and supported the recording effort, and after one month in the studio, Simply Beautiful was completed. Since it's release on December 14th, the CD is circulating the Midwest and selling online both nationally and internationally.
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