Kelly Richey

Kelly Richey
Kelly Richey has been described as “Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman’s body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out.” That’s an apt appraisal of the Lexington, Kentucky native who’s been based in Cincinnati for many years. Richey has often been compared to such greats as Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan because of her ability to capture and entertain an audience with ripping guitar leads that both sing and astonish. 

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Kelly.

I grew up playing music, I was playing piano as soon as I could reach the keys, singing in my bedroom with the door locked while performing in front of the mirror, banging on drums that my neighbor had until he gave them to me so I'd play them at home instead of in his basement, and then came my guitar.  It was a Sears special, a 3 watt amp and a Les Paul style guitar.  When I hit a power chord, the amp bounced across the floor and I went through three of these guitars in three months because I played them until they fell apart, literally! 

It was the late 70's and girls didn't play guitar so the harder they laughed, the more I practiced.  The guitar gave me a voice that I'd never had and with each babysitting job, my amps grew bigger and louder.  I felt empowered, I felt safe and I felt for the first time, heard.

As a teenager, I practiced guitar 12 hours a day. I never set it down. I took it to school, I took it to the kitchen table and if I took a walk it was strapped on.  


What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
More than anything in the world, I love to learn...ie...to expand my mind, my world view, to expand my abilities as an artist and as a thinker.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
As an independent artist, the biggest challenge has been the constant pressure to keep things moving forward.  Maintaining a full time band means maintaining a full time tour schedule.  If you're going to tour year after year, records must be written, recorded, released, and promoted...etc.  Shows must be booked, advanced, played and re-booked.  Websites and mailing lists built and maintained.  Press and radio interviews must be established and fulfilled.  In short, I front the band, book the band, own the record label, record and release the CDs, own and maintain the van...etc.  I've done this on my own for 19 years and I'm exhausted.  After awhile, It's hard to remain enthusiastic when the crushing weight of expectation rests squarely upon your shoulders, hence, I'm taking a break.  It's time to regain my creative nature and fall in love with my art once again...from there, possibilities are abundant!

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a rock star or a preacher.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I've toured so much that I have yet to establish much of a relationship to the music community in my area.  I look forward to being off the road for awhile and embracing what's around me!

What other artists out there do you love?
John Mayer, Mary Gauthier, The Frames, David Gray

What does your future hold?
I've just announced that I will be taking a year off from touring...  I have been touring non-stop for over 25 years and would very much enjoy a full time break, enjoying the freedom to write, gain new perspective and allow a new musical experience to emerge...I simply can not do this while continuing to tour non-stop.

My plan is to remain active with my music and I will be keeping a journal of events via my blog that will consist of both video blogging as well as an outlet for writing and journaling. I feel a deep need to integrate my music, coaching and teaching as I emerge from this experience. I am excited for this opportunity and intend to embrace each and every possibility it will bring. Newsletters will continue twice per month and they will include not just updates, but newly recorded material, videos and links to new and exciting discoveries!!!

I will be playing an handful of select shows as a solo artist throughout the year so stay tuned for updates!