HomeBad Ass AsiansThe New Face of Jazz-Grace Kelly

The New Face of Jazz-Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly

By Logan Wilber
Asian American Life Intern

With 10 albums released at the age of 25, jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly doesn’t have to toot her own horn, or in her case, her own woodwind; but she keeps doing it.

Television appearances and touring performances aren’t enough for Kelly, she is currently working on an 11th studio album, and producing two web series.

“It’s my way of trying to bring my music and jazz, and the horn to places and audiences where you wouldn’t expect it.” Kelly says, “But I think it’s important as a young artist to be merging traditional media with social media, and just trying to make this music presented to everybody.”

Known as the new face of jazz, Kelly, who is Korean American, might be recognized more by her aqua-streaked hair. Despite her signature look, Kelly knows her opportunities within the industry are strictly merit based.

“I’ve been extremely lucky that I’ve had mentors in this.” Kelly’s mentors include Phil Woods, Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr. Her gender, ethnicity never mattered to those musicians, or the jazz community. They “never judged me on how I looked or said no she can’t join us because she doesn’t look like us” Kelly said.

“The community is kinda like if you can play, then you can play” Kelly proudly said.

And Kelly can play. She has made regular appearances on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, toured over 30 countries and even performed at President Obama’s inauguration.

For more on Grace Kelly watch Asian American Life’s Kyung Yoon’s story here:

Watch the full episode of Asian American Life. This month the team features popular Asian American food instagrammers who are turning their photos of food into a career; a look at the rise of poke restaurants in the mainland, and the reasons why so many South Asians own motels across the country.

Asian American Life, produced by CUNY-TV in New York, can now be seen in syndication at PBS stations across the country. Check your local listing for details.

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