23-year old Grace Kelly is a rising star in the jazz world.
The Korean American alto sax player and vocalist has performed in 28 countries and played with such greats as Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Esperanza Spaulding and David Sanborn.
AsAmNews caught up with her after her performance at the Fillmore Jazz Festival in San Francisco.
Those that follow us on Periscope through our Twitter account had a chance to see some of that concert live.
“I grew up listening to music my whole life,” said Kelly after an autograph session with her fans. “I started performing and touring at the age of 12, had my first album at 10 and now have nine albums. I’ve gotten to play probably over 700 concerts all around the world. I wrote my first song when I was 7. I just knew like 3 chords at the piano and then I started singing along with it. Boom, I wrote a song.
Despite her success at a young age, Kelly still exudes a youthful enthusiasm for her craft. The packed and enthusiastic crowd at the Fillmore Jazz Festival moved toward the front of the stage to feel closer to her good vibe and music. The audience stretched for half a city block jamming one of several concert areas of the street festival. Among those in the audience were her parents who she calls her number 1 fans. Kelly wore a crop top and showed off a star tattoo on her midriff and another of a piano and gold stripe on her forearm.
“They’re just like really fun,” said Kelly about her tattoos. They’re not permanent. You just kind of stick them on. I’m a little too wimpy to get a permanent tattoo.”
The child prodigy received her BA from the Berklee School of Music at age 19. She is originally from Boston and currently lives in Los Angeles.
“I think the first thing that drew me in was just the music. I loved it so much and I never thought this was going to become a career. Its just spiraled into what it is today. I certainly didn’t have any Korean American or Asian American role models. I just went where my music took me and its been nice to be a role model for other young Korean American girls.”
She says support from her parents has been a key to her success. Her dad has been her manager since age 12.
“I think my parents are coming from the point of view we want to support our daughter with what she wants to do. They do that for my sister as well and that happens to be music for me so I started to learn about the business. They just started to take me to jazz clubs when I was little and have been been there.
“My mom in the very beginning was not so sure about this life. I have musicians in the family and it can be a very rocky, not stable road. But once she saw it was the only thing I wanted to do, she was behind it.”