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Robin McKelle: Bio

A savvy songwriter and a powerhouse vocalist, McKelle has long found a home where soul, jazz,pop, gospel, blues and the American Songbook cross paths. In her live performances, she exudes a bandleader's moxie that recalls the Rat Pack era.  While comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald are common because of her warm alto voice, her early influences were mostly Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.  McKelle's voice mirrors the power of those three vocal titans while maintaining the refined nuances of Fitzgerald.  In her early days, McKelle shared the stage with such prestigious artists as Michael McDonald and Bobby McFerrin.

McKelle's seminal album Introducing Robin McKelle featuring the vocalist performing a list of standards of the jazz repertoire afront a big band, was released in 2006.  This release was followed by 2008's big band release Modern Antique.  2010's Mess Around featured McKelle with a paired down ensemble and a repertoire running the gamut from jazz to soul to pop. 

Soul Flower, Merry Christmas Vol. 1 and Heart of Memphis featured McKelle's hard-partying ensemble The Flytones Led by bassist and co-producer Derek Nievergelt.  On these releases, McKelle amps the grit to 11, displaying her versatility on a wide array of material.  2016's The Looking Glass was McKelle's first album of all original material.  McKelle's Melodic Canvas saw a turning point for the vocalist.  "Tackling tough subject matter including politics, faith and more, McKelle's Melodic Canvas offers listeners a timely social commentary with a rich, soulful sound. Blending elements of blues, jazz, gospel and soul, the album is an inspired work of pure, aural bliss" (Eponymous Review)

There's an insightful storyteller's voice that connects her songs, a narrative thread that feels smart and soulful. In her songwriting and in the arrangements/production of the album, she mixes her varied influences together with strength and grace.

1 Do You Believe
2 Lyla
3 Come to Me
4 You're No Good
5 Swing Low Sweet Chariot
6 Simple Man
7 The Sun Died
8 Yes We Can Can
9 It Won't End Up
10 Il Est Mort le Soleil
Robin McKelle - DO YOU BELIEVE - Eric Legnini REMIX
'Yes We Can Can' at Festival Jazz a la Villette
Robin McKelle Live Session for Jazz FM
Robin McKelle & the Flytones - Stax Soul Session - 1
Robin McKelle - Lyla

An Enigmatic Sound, a Storyteller's Narrative and a Live Performance Style Imbued with Rat Pack Moxie Singer and Writer Robin McKelle is a Genre-Blurring Musical Alchemist, Taking Listeners on a Sonic Trip to the Old South, Sprinkling in Hints of the Motown Era or Even a Sade Album, and Mixing it Together to Create Her Inspiring Melodic Canvas' of Soul, Jazz, Gospel and More. On her new album - Melodic Canvas, McKelle is empowered by not trying to fit into a box, and the music is deeply textured, rich, and authentic. Melodic Canvas is also a timely social commentary, from the struggling teen in ‘Lyla' to the immigrant tale of ‘Simple Man'; the moments of social awareness, in ‘Yes We Can Can' (an Allen Toussaint cover featuring Chris Potter) and ‘It Won't End Up', are wise and inspiring without feeling heavy-handed; on first single ‘Do You Believe', McKelle questions religion, hate, misogyny.