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Kelly Willis

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Lawton OK, United States (1968 – present)

Kelly Willis is a country music singer-songwriter noted for her clear, unadorned vocal style and her fresh-faced beauty. Willis’ music has been described as contemporary country, alternative country and new traditionalist.

Kelly was born in Lawton, Oklahoma on October 2, 1968, Willis was the youngest of three children. While her father was a U.S. Army colonel, Willis’ mother had a strong interest in music and sang and acted in amateur musicals. Willis began singing when she was nine as a way to comfort herself after her parents divorced.

==Career==
Willis joined her first band in high school. Her boyfriend, drummer Mas Palermo, introduced Willis to his rockabilly band. The band took her on as the lead vocalist and soon rechristened the band Kelly Willis & the Fireballs. After Willis’ high school graduation, the band decided to move to Austin, Texas, to participate in the vibrant Austin music scene. After a few months in Austin, however, the band broke up. Willis and Palermo, married in 1989, formed a new band called Radio Ranch. In Austin, Willis attracted the notice of several influential Texas singer-songwriters including Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett. Griffith introduced MCA producer Tony Brown to Willis. Brown was very impressed with Willis’ vocal abilities and signed her to the MCA label in 1989.

MCA embarked on a big marketing campaign to tout Willis after she recorded her first album on the label, the 1990 album ‘’Well Travelled Love’‘.

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