Describing the music of midwestern songwriter/performer Kellie Lin Knott often leads listeners to interesting comparisions. Fans have suggested that her voice is a cross between Alanis Morissettes contraltro bravada and Billie Holidays subtle, sexy delivery, that her harmonic, rhythmic and lyrical sensibilities are purely Joni Mitchell, and that her jazz-influenced, groove driven acoustic guitar parts are fueled with an early Ani Difranco-like energy. Yet this songwriter is never angry or forceful. Her touch is deceptively light, and her lyrics imbued with a graceful intention.
Kellie Lins first full-length CD, Comfortable, is now available for sale at www.kellielinknott.com. Songs from Comfortable have earned her the distinction of being included on Bay State Sounds Best of Boston 2004 compilation, 1st place in an International Song Competition, 3rd place in the Midwest Song Competition, finalist slots in the Minnesota Folk & South Florida Folk Festivals, honorable mention in the Great American Song Competition, and a showcase artist at the prestigious Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in Hilldale, NY. NPR's All Songs Considered e-show also featured songs from Comfortable. She has opened for Susan Werner, Colleen Sexton, Catie Curtis & others.
These days, Berklee College of Music educated Kellie Lin can be found on the road at numerous festivals, house concerts, bars, coffeehouses and listening rooms, or testing out new material on the street corners and subway platforms of her adopted home town of Boston, MA. The young road warrior makes her living from performance and CD sales, and, for 2 full years, like pop-star Jewel before her, lived quite happily out of the back of her car.
What chain of events led a once shy and quiet Minnesota girl to lead such a bohemian lifestyle? It all began in a congested coat closet, where Kellie Lin could be found crooning show tunes from behind closed doors. For quite some time her dog, Brandy, was the only family member who saw Kellie Lin face to face as she sang. Thankfully, by age 8 Kellie Lin got over her fear and joined her fathers band, belting out backing and lead vocals on Bette Midler and Linda Ronstadt tunes at VFW halls, bars, and private parties.
On her 12th birthday, Kellie Lins father brought home a well-worn nylon string guitar as a gift. Her father continued to provide inspiration, along with recordings of the Indigo Girls, Dire Straits, Bette Midler, Nanci Griffith, James Taylor, Bernadette Peters, Bruce Hornsby, and others. From this eclectic mix of influences Kellie Lin fashioned her unique style of playing and writing, combining the myriad traditions of jazz, folk, pop, bluegrass and rock. After hearing Mary Chapin Carpenters Come On, Come On, Kellie Lin knew shed found her calling: that of a touring musician. At the tender age of 14 Kellie Lin graduated from singing rock covers in bars with her fathers band to performing originals at area schools, coffeehouses, and special events with her acoustic duo, Those Two Girls.
During the Those Two Girls years, Kellie Lin and musical cohort Ruth Johnson were awarded the 1996 Minnesota Peace Prize for their efforts in spearheading a two-year musical campaign to raise awareness and funds for domestic abuse prevention. The campaign, fronted by the girls, culminated in a benefit concert raising several thousand dollars for the beneficiary organizations. The inspiration for the project came as Ruth and Kellie Lin balanced high school, marching band, concert choir, special ensembles, speech, drama club, and 4 church choirs (all different denominations), along with their coffehouse careers. They became aware of ongoing child abuse even in their own circle of friends and set out to make a difference using music as their medium. Those Two Girls performed the National Anthem for the Minnesota Twins on National Stop the Violence Day and were featured on several local news programs. This led to collaboration with education and health organizations throughout the state.
Kellie Lins experience producing and performing up to this time drove her to search for a college with both music business and performance curriculum. She began her college career at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA as a voice principal. She eventually switched her instrument to guitar for a greater challenge.
Barely into her second year of college, Kellie Lin hit a road block in pursuing her life long dream. She was forced to stop playing guitar for two years due to repetitive stress arm injuries. Several doctors insisted she would never play again. She returned home to be with family as she searched for a satisfactory solution to her difficult situation. After two successful surgeries, Kellie Lin proved the naysayers wrong by returning to Boston to finish her guitar training.
Kellie has since worked with The Spirit of Boston, The Roots Agency, and The International Folk Alliance in various positions such as singing/dancing cocktail waitress, music publicist, booking agent, concert promoter and artist manager. In July 2003, she gave up all of her day jobs to pursue performance full-time.
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