Kelley's Journey of Faith 'I'm here at this time in my life because that's where God wants me to be. I wouldn't change the process in anyway.' Kelley's life journey is a testimony to God's sovereignty and her willingness to faithfully follow His call - through seemingly insignificant moments, awesome opportunities and even the most daunting set of circumstances. Born Kelley Taylor Clark in the picturesque Midwestern town of Plymouth, Michigan, on September 14, 1966, Kelley dreamed of being a superstar since she was two. While other kids were playing dolls, Kelley was playing headliner, emerging from behind the giant wingback chair in the living room, pretend microphone in hand, poised to 'wow' the acquiescent. 'Luckily, my parents had friends who were willing to refresh the audience,' Kelley says. Way before the popularity of karaoke, little 5-year-old Kelley sang and danced along with the jukebox at Plymouth's Elks Club where her grandparents were members. Becoming ever more in demand, club member's eventually chipped in to buy her a microphone and speakers. About this time, Kelley's brother David was born. David suffered brain damage during delivery and the Clark family bonded together to raise a child with special needs. Kelley, used to welcoming recognition and acceptance, was suddenly faced with a social stigma she didn't understand. 'People weren't as informed and accepting back then,' she recalls. Moving to the heartland of Carmel, Indiana, bound the family closer together. With her parent's attention spread thin, Kelley's role as big sister became even more demanding. Often ostracized because of her brother's disability, her music let her express herself during times of frustration and doubt. It is said when we are down to nothing, God is up to something - giving us strength, ideas, discernment, opportunities and faith. All we need to do is open our hearts and minds to recognize His gifts. Kelley accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior during this time - as one of her songs says...'just in time.' She continued to cling to His gifts of song and writing. Kelley comes by her exuberance honestly. Her parents, as board members of the town's community center, spearheaded an initiative to build a safe haven for kids and teens. Kelley, ready to follow their lead, asked if she could start a band to entertain the kids. Kelley was 15. 'This was a big deal - a 12-piece band with back up singers and dancers,' Kelley remembers. 'Dad bought us a sound system, I choreographed the whole thing and we gave three-hour performances every Friday night.' Kelley's fame and confidence grew as she won Entertainer of the Year honors in 1983 at a citywide talent contest sponsored by the City of Indianapolis. Then, as a graduate of Carmel High School, she earned her associate's degree from Indiana University with a concentration in business administration. One of the greatest thrills of her life was the opportunity to tour with the USO in 1988 and 1989. Kelley honed her performance and dance skills while entertaining American troops in Australia, Hawaii, Okinawa, Korea, the Philippines, and Japan. First influenced by country music, Kelley grew up on Crystal Gale, Willie Nelson and Linda Ronstadt. She's been a 'closet writer all her life, did a couple of originals and started doing studio work when I was 18.' About her music, 'it's something I've always kept between God and myself.' She worked with a vocal coach, but found the approach wasn't for her. 'For some reason, He's given me this talent.' Kelley believes in developing one's own personal sound and is grateful for being able to perform for a living since she was 16. Some of Kelley's later musical influences include an eclectic collection of artists: Etta James, Martina McBride, Sarah Evans, Garth Brooks, Reba McIntire, Babbie Mason, Cece Winans and Dolly Parton. In 1991, she met and married Naval Academy graduate - and her future, biggest fan - Jon Rees. With Jon's support, Kelley received regional and national runner-up honors in 1996 and 1997, respectively, in the Jimmy Dean Country Music Showdown (now sponsored by Colgate Palmolive). Together, they moved to Jacksonville, Florida where they began their family and Kelley formed the dynamic rhythm & blues national show band, DIGGIN' RHYTHM & BRASS in 1998. As the lead singer and band leader, Kelley has performed in international venues, opening for renowned artists such as Huey Lewis and The News, Kool & The Gang, Steve Miller, Grover T. Washington, KC and The Sunshine Band, and Cece Winans. One of her most memorable events includes singing at a campaign rally for former President George Herbert Walker Bush. Prior to the release of her debut album 'One Voice,' in August 2004, Kelley was active in her community singing in her church, as well as providing entertainment at charitable fundraising events. She also taught dance and aerobics at her neighborhood YMCA. With the love of Christ and her family, Kelley is pursuing a career in Christian music. 'I have so much to be grateful for - my health, the love of a wonderful family, and a career orchestrated by God and fueled by passion to spread His message through music.'
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