Charles Kelley

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For the founder and president of Bridge Builders International, see Charles David Kelley.
Charles Kelley
LadyAntebellumAwardsApr10 cropped charles.jpg
Background information
Birth name Charles Burgess Kelley
Born (1981-09-11) September 11, 1981 (age 33)
Origin Augusta, Georgia
Genres Country, country pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, drums, guitar, ukulele, tambourine
Years active 2006–present
Labels Capitol Nashville
Associated acts Lady Antebellum, Josh Kelley

Charles Burgess Kelley (born September 11, 1981) is an American country music singer-songwriter and founding member of country pop trio Lady Antebellum, who formed in 2006 and are signed to Capitol Nashville.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Kelley was born in Augusta, Georgia, the youngest of three boys for Gayle and Dr John W. Kelley, a cardiologist. He began his musical career at the age of 11. His older brother, Josh Kelley, is also a musician and singer. As teenagers, Charles, Josh and oldest brother John formed a band called Inside Blue; the band released a five-song CD that garnered the attention of a major label.[2] In middle school, Kelley met Dave Haywood[3] and, at the age of 14, they wrote their first song. They both graduated from Lakeside High School in Evans, Georgia.

Kelley attended the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, where he was a member of the Nu Zeta chapter of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.[4] He graduated in 2004 with a degree in finance.[5]

Before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in mid-2005 to pursue a musical career, Kelley worked in his brother John's construction business in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as an accountant for an affiliated waste management company.[6] Kelley made the move after his brother Josh, who was a pop musician at the time, bought a house in Nashville and convinced him to come live there so they could write songs together.[7]

Musical career[edit]

Part of Lady Antebellum[edit]

Main article: Lady Antebellum

Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood founded the country music group Lady Antebellum in 2006 and released their self-titled debut album in April 2008. The trio either wrote or co-wrote ten of the eleven songs on the album, which featured production by Paul Worley and Victoria Shaw. The album included the trio's debut hit, "Love Don't Live Here", along with the singles, "Lookin' for a Good Time" and "I Run to You", the latter of which became their first Number One hit on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in July 2009. It was certified platinum by the RIAA in October 2009. In 2008, they returned to Charles' and Dave's former high school alma mater, Lakeside High School, and performed a short concert in the gymnasium.

In January 2010, Lady Antebellum released their second album, Need You Now, which was led off by the five-week No. 1 and crossover hit, "Need You Now". All three members of the band co-wrote eight of the eleven songs on the album and produced alongside Worley. The album generated the No. 1 hits, "American Honey" and "Our Kind of Love", and the Top 10 single, "Hello World", and was certified triple platinum in October 2010.

In May 2011, Lady Antebellum released "Just a Kiss" as the first single from their third studio album, Own the Night, which was released on September 13, 2011.

Other projects[edit]

Kelley's other works consist of co-writing songs for other artists, mainly with Lady Antebellum bandmate, Dave Haywood. One of those songs was "Do I" on labelmate Luke Bryan's 2009 album, Doin' My Thing.[8] Written in late 2008, the song was released to radio in April 2009 and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in December of that year.[9] The song also featured Lady Antebellum's HIllary Scott on background vocals.[8]

In 2006, prior to forming the band, Kelley released a solo album called "2 to 9's". The record met with little mainstream success, but was well-rated by listeners.[10]

In 2009, Kelley and Haywood penned a song called "It's Only" for Danny Gokey's debut album, My Best Days, with "I Run to You" cowriter, Tom Douglas.[11] That same year, the two also wrote "Love Song" with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, which Lambert would later record for her third studio album, Revolution, and Kelley would sing background on.[12]

In 2010, Kelley and Haywood wrote "Kiss Me Slowly" with Will Anderson, lead singer of the pop rock band, Parachute. The song made it on to Parachute's second studio album, The Way It Was, and was released to iTunes in the weeks leading up to the release of the album.[13] That same year, Kelley, along with Scott and Haywood, recorded a duet with Maroon 5 called "Out of Goodbyes" as Lady Antebellum. The song was included on Maroon 5's third studio album, Hands All Over, but was never released as a single.[14]

In addition, Kelley has co-written numerous songs for his brother, Josh Kelley. Those songs are "Just Say the Word" and "Pop Game" on Josh's 2006 album, Just Say the Word, which were written by the brothers with Haywood;[15] "Lift Me Up" and "Stay Awake" on 2008's Special Company;[16] and "Georgia Clay" and "Ain't Lettin' Go" on his 2011 country debut, Georgia Clay.[17]

Kelley and Haywood co-wrote the semi-autobiographical track "Better Than This" on (Encore), the 2013 re-issue of rising country star Hunter Hayes' self-titled debut album.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Kelley is married to longtime girlfriend Cassie McConnell. The couple wed in a Nashville courthouse in late June 2009 as a legal formality before having a destination wedding in the Bahamas. After the wedding, Lady Antebellum tweeted a photo of Kelley showing off his wedding band, saying, "What is that you see on Charles' hand... yep a wedding ring!!!" McConnell represents several country musicians, including her brother-in-law, Josh Kelley. Charles and Cassie wed on July 6, 2009. On Aug 7, 2015 it was announced that the couple are expecting their first child in Feb 2016. [19][20]

As a result of his brother Josh Kelley's marriage, Charles Kelley is the brother in-law of actress Katherine Heigl.

Kelley had the lyrics, "All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise," from the Beatles song, "Blackbird", tattooed on his right forearm in early 2009.[21] In 2010, Kelley got a second tattoo, a design of the "flower of life", on his upper left arm.[citation needed]

In addition to being an avid golfer,[22] Kelley is a motorcycle enthusiast and owns a 2006 Harley Softail Custom.[23]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Award Outcome
2010 Grammy Awards Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "I Run to You"[24] Won
Best Country Song - "I Run to You" Nominated
Academy of Country Music Song of the Year - "Need You Now"[25] Won
Country Music Association Song of the Year - "Need You Now"[26] Nominated
2011 Grammy Awards Album of the Year - "Need You Now"[27] Nominated
Best Country Album - "Need You Now" Won
Record of the Year - "Need You Now" Won
Song of the Year - "Need You Now" Won
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal - "Need You Now" Won
Best Country Song - "Need You Now" Won
BMI Pop Song of the Year - "Need You Now"[28] Won


  1. ^ Sean Dooley. "Lady Antebellum - Biography". Entertainment. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Gayle. "Charles and Josh Kelley recall proposition by the 'Godfather". Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ Darden, Beville (May 23, 2008). "Lady Antebellum Talk Crushes, Clashes, & Chemistry". Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ Lichtenauer, Tad (April 2010). "Grammy-Winning Artist". The Cross & Crescent. Retrieved January 18, 2011. 
  5. ^ Rhodes, Don (November 1, 2007). "Augusta Musicians Finding Fame With Lady Antebellum". Augusta Chronicle. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  6. ^ Scarlett, David (May 5, 2008). "Destined to be Together: Lady Antebellum's story of rejection, homemade drums, and a big leap of faith led them down the path they were meant to follow - to each other". Country Weekly 15 (9): 42–45. 
  7. ^ Darden, Beville (November 25, 2009). "Josh Kelley Comes Back Home to Country". Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen M. (May 22, 2009). "Luke Bryan - "Do I"". Retrieved March 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Luke Bryan Album & Song Chart History - Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  10. ^ "2 The 9's by Charles Kelley : Reviews and Ratings". Rate Your Music. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Danny Gokey - It's Only". Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Love Song". Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Kiss Me Slowly". Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ Castellanos, Melissa (July 7, 2010). "Maroon 5's Adam Levine Lured by "Lady A"". Retrieved July 16, 2010. 
  15. ^ Collar, Matt. "Just Say the Word - Josh Kelley". Retrieved April 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Special Company - Josh Kelley". Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  17. ^ Leahey, Andrew. "Georgia Clay - Josh Kelley". Retrieved March 19, 2011. 
  18. ^ Mansfield, Brian (June 17, 2013). "Hunter Hayes extends debut album with '(Encore)'". USA Today. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Hamm, Liza (July 10, 2009). "Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley Gets Hitched". Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  21. ^ Hackett, Vernell (March 26, 2010). "Lady Antebellum Think About Their Ink". Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  22. ^ Hollabaugh, Lorie (July 2, 2010). "Lady Antebellum's 'Need You Now' Almost Didn't Happen". Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  23. ^ Paxman, Bob (October 6, 2008). "Finding Time... for a Good Time: A rare day off finds the members of Lady Antebellum enjoying their favorite activities". Country Weekly 15 (20): 36–39. 
  24. ^ "Complete List of 2010 Grammy Winners - AOL Radio Blog". February 1, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  25. ^ "ACM Awards Winners 2010 - The Boot". April 18, 2010. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  26. ^ "CMA Awards Nominees. See Who Wins Wed., Nov 10 on ABC!". Retrieved November 10, 2010. 
  27. ^ "2011 Grammy Awards Winners - The Boot". February 13, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  28. ^ "2011 BMI Pop Music Awards Photos". May 19, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 

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