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Keyboard Kelly- interview

Kelly (best known as KeyboardKelly across social media) is a skilled musician, and highly experienced pianist, sharing her incredible talents with the world, bringing so much joy through her TikTok LIVEs and other content too. Amassing lots of viewers who adore her work, she performs their requests by playing by ear, and therefore amazingly picking up almost any song! Also gigging with two bands of which she founded, there's simply no limit to the magic of music she offers.


Certainly an inspiration to many (myself included), Kelly is well worth the watch- keep reading to find out a bit more about her background and some exciting upcoming plans...

 

Can you tell us a bit about your career journey, and working with your bands?


My career as a musician started as a piano teacher – I taught for over 20 years, specialising in working with children and adults with visual impairment, autism and learning difficulties. But I always knew I wanted to do more with my music, and I was keen to get into performing.


So, in 2004 I founded my first band, Boogie Monsters - a live and interactive rock band for kids, which is so much fun because we get to introduce little ones to the joys of music and get them to experience their first real live gigs. We also perform together as The Uproar which is a party covers band for weddings, events and functions.


During lockdown we were unable to play together for a long time, and so I started my first solo online piano request livestreams. Initially these were aimed at children, but since then it has evolved and I now perform twice a day to adults on TikTok as KeyboardKelly, taking requests from people all over the world! It has been so successful that I have been able to give up all my teaching work, focusing entirely on my bands and my livestreams!




Who or what inspired you to get to where you are now, and which musicians do you look

up to?


My Grandma first inspired me to play the piano, she was a pianist and encouraged me to get lessons from the age of 7. I love all kinds of music from a range of different styles, and I wouldn’t say I have any musicians that I look up to or inspire to be like – I just love playing everything!




What makes you so passionate about performing to an audience, whether in person or

over social media? 


Because music has the power to connect people in such a special way. It can lift people's spirits, bring back memories, and just make people feel good. And being able to share that with others is such an incredible feeling.




What benefits does it have playing by ear, rather than sheet music?


I am classically trained and I can read sheet music, but playing by ear has so many benefits when you are performing live. It allows for more spontaneity and creativity, as I can take requests on the spot and play whatever the audience wants. If I can hear it in my head, I can play it!  




Why do you think it's so important to share your music with others, and particularly boost

the presence of musicians as TikTok creators, and 'online buskers' doing it for work?


It is great to see so many musicians performing LIVE on TikTok and reaching new audiences that might otherwise never see them - it's important because music brings people together, no matter where they are in the world. And with TikTok, it's so easy to connect with people, discover new talent and people to create music with. Plus, it's a great way for musicians to make a living, build their communities and share their talents with the world.




What do you feel has been your biggest achievement?


I would have to say it's just being able to bring joy to others through my music. Whether it's teaching a child to play their first notes on the piano or performing for a packed crowd, knowing that my music is making a positive impact on others is the best feeling in the world.




I hear you've got a special live event coming up... could you please tell us a bit about this,

what to expect, and why we should buy tickets?


I am so excited about our upcoming live event in Outwood, Surrey on September 30th, 2023. It's going to be a fantastic evening, bringing together several TikTok music creators to perform for their communities. I will be playing with my band The Uproar, and you can expect lots of great music, dancing, food, a bar and a whole lot of fun! It is a great way to meet people that you have only ever seen in online chats, and to watch your favourite TikTok music creators performing live!


SoundStageLiveEvents are hosting the event, and you can find out more and get your tickets

for just £20 plus a booking fee here:




What aspirations do you have for your music beyond this, and where would be your

dream to play?


I just want to keep playing music for people all over the world. Whether it's through my bands or on TikTok, I just want to keep sharing my love of music with others. And my dream? Playing at Madison Square Garden in New York City!




What advice would you give to someone who sees your work and would love to give it a

go themselves?


If you're thinking about giving livestreaming a go yourself, my advice is simple - just go for it! Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and share your talents with the world. And most importantly, be true to yourself and have fun with it. Music is all about expressing yourself and enjoying the moment.


 

Huge thanks to Kelly for taking part in this interview- it has been really lovely to hear from you!



Make sure to get your tickets to the live show through the button earlier on in the article, and follow Kelly on TikTok here:


Published on 6th March 2023, written by Hannah Crouch

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