Charlotte (singer)

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Charlotte Kelly
Born Charlotte Kelly
Coventry, England, UK
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
Years active 1990–present
Children 3
Parent(s) Tony Kelly and Michelle Kelly
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • guitar
  • Parlophone Rhythm
  • Big Life Records
Associated acts

Charlotte Kelly is a British singer-songwriter, composer, arranger, and record producer. Kelly rose to fame in the mid 1990s as one of the lead singers of British R&B group Soul II Soul, one of the London's best-selling groups of all time. She performed lead vocals on their single "I Care" for their fourth studio album Volume V: Believe (1995). She continued to record and perform with the group until the release of their final studio album Time for Change (1997). During their hiatus, Kelly released her debut solo album Just Another Girl (1998), which sold exclusively in Japan. She released her second album Charlotte (1999), which included number-one dance hit "Skin".

Kelly reunited with the group in 2010 for their Reunion Tour. Following the conclusion of the tour, Kelly continued to perform with the group as the lead singer. In 2013, she left the group to pursue her solo career.

Her work has earned her several awards and nominations, including three United Nations Music Aid Awards, a UK Songwriting Contest Award and Unisong International Song Award. Kelly has also received the Heritage Award from Performing Right Society along with the members of Soul II Soul.[1]

Early life[edit]

Charlotte Kelly was born in Coventry, England, to Michelle Kelly and Tony Kelly.[2] Her parents were the former owners of a record store named "Moonshine" in Lower Ford Street, Hillfields, Coventry.[2] She also has a two sisters and a brother. Kelly was born blind at birth with no sight at all in her left eye and virtually none in her right eye.[2][3] At a young age, Kelly knew she wanted become a singer after listening to the music being played in her parents' record store.[2]


1992-93: Beginnings[edit]

Kelly started her career as a singer at the age of sixteen when she signed her first record contract with Big Life Records.[2] In 1993, Kelly released her first single titled "Sugar Tree". The music video debuted on ITV Chart Show in October 1993. In 1994, she released two singles titled "Climb My Stairs" and "All of Your Love". Later that year, she was introduced to Jazzie B (of Soul II Soul) who would produce her next single titled "Queen of Hearts".[4] The song featured background vocals from Lamya (of Soul II Soul).[5]

1994–97: Soul II Soul and career breakthrough[edit]

After releasing this demo, Kelly toured as a background singer for Soul II Soul. She was later asked to become a full-time member and one of the lead vocalist of the group.[4] In August 1995, Soul II Soul released their fourth studio album, entitled "Volume V: Believe". The album charted at number 13 on the UK Albums chart. The album's second single "I Care", which features lead vocals by Kelly, peaked at number 17 on the UK Singles chart.[6] Kelly also sings lead vocals on songs "Don't You Dream" and "Pride".[4]

In 1997, Soul II Soul released their fifth studio album, entitled "Time for Change". Kelly performed lead vocals on the titled-track "Time for Change". Later that year, Kelly left Soul II Soul pursue her solo career.[4] She signed a new recording contract with Parlophone Rhythm Series.[4]

1998-2000: Just Another Girl and Charlotte[edit]

In February 1998, Kelly released the single "Be Mine". The single charted at number 59 on the UK Singles chart. In November 1998, Charlotte released her first album Just Another Girl exclusive in Japan.[7]

In February 1999, "Skin" was released as the lead single from upcoming second album. The song peaked at number 1 on Billboard's Club Play chart[8] and number 56 on the UK Singles chart,[9] selling over 40,000 copies worldwide.[10] In June 1999, the album's second single "Someday" peaked at number 74 on the UK Singles chart.[9] Kelly's remix project "Remixed to Infinity" was also released exclusively to Japan. The album features a total of eight songs that were remixed from three original songs: "Skin", "Someday", and "Be Mine".

In September 1999, Kelly released her self-titled second studio album "Charlotte". The album's final single "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" was released in 2000 and peaked at number 11 on Billboard's Dance chart.

2002-2010: Songwriting competitions and music production[edit]

In 2002, Kelly released a song "Golden Gate (Lovin' You)", which was featured on the WMC Allstars compilation album. In 2004, Kelly participated in the USA Songwriting Competition. She entered up to four songs and won first prize in the R&B category for her song "Cheeky".[11] In 2006, she participated in UK Songwriting Competition and won first prize in R&B category. She also entered in the Pop category where she received second place. In the same year, Kelly also entered in the Music Aid Awards where she received first place in two categories: "Best UK Female Artist" and "Best UK Songwriter".

In 2010 Charlotte co-wrote the topline to UK number 1 single "Good Times", performed by Roll Deep. This earned Charlotte her first UK number 1.

2010-2013: Return to Soul II Soul[edit]

In 2010, the former members of Soul II Soul reunited for a reunion tour. Following the reunion tour, Kelly rejoined the group as the lead vocalist. The group performed the annual Rewind Festival in 2012. In June 2012, the members of Soul II Soul received the honorary PRS Heritage Plaque award. In November 2013, Kelly left the group again to focus on her solo career.

2013-present: Solo career[edit]

In 2013, Kelly released a single titled "Somebody's Baby". In 2014, Kelly released three singles: "Tell the Sun", "All Coming Back", and "Sonic Sex".[12][13][14]

Personal life[edit]

She has two daughters named Iman and India, and a son named Soul. In 2013, Kelly married music producer Benjamin Bennett. In November 2015, the couple separated, and later divorced, after Bennett attacked Kelly in a domestic dispute.[15]


  • Just Another Girl (1998)
  • Remixed to Infinity (1999)
  • Charlotte (1999)
Title Year Chart positions Album

"Sugar Tree" 1993 Non-album single
"Climb My Stairs" 1994
"All of Your Love"
"Queen of Hearts" 54
"It's Alright"
"I Care" (with Soul II Soul) 1995 17 Volume V: Believe
"Be Mine" 1998 59 Just Another Girl
"Skin" 1999 56 1 Charlotte
"Someday" 74 4
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" 2000 11
"Breaking Me Apart" (featuring Sunship) 2012 Non-album single
"Somebody's Baby" 2013 Charlotte
"Tell the Sun" (with Sunship) 2014 Non-album single
"All Coming Back"
"Sonic Sex"
"Love Shines" (Richard Wessex featuring Charlotte Kelly) 2016
"Love on the Rox" (with Sunship) 2017 Missing in (East) Action

Awards and nominations[edit]

USA Songwriting Competition[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result[16]
2004 "Cheeky" Best R&B Song Won
"Symphony" Nominated
"Raining in Heaven" Nominated
"Spook" Nominated
2005 "I Need You That Way" Nominated
"Come On" Nominated

UK Songwriting Competition[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result[17]
2006 "I Need You That Way" Best R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap Song Won
"Come On" Nominated
"Raining in Heaven" Best Pop Song Nominated
"Better With You" Nominated

United Nations Music Aid Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result[18]
2006 Charlotte Kelly Best UK Female Artist Won
Best UK Songwriter Won
2009 Best Female Solo Artist Won

Unisong International Song Contest[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result[19][20]
2007 "I Need You That Way" Best R&B, Hip-Hop, Rap Song Won
"Symphony" Nominated


  1. ^ Heritage Awards > Soul II Soul. PRS for Music. Retrieved on 30 June 2016
  2. ^ a b c d e Lissaman, Vicky (16 May 1999). "Blind chart-topper Charlotte has the last laugh over cruel schoolchildren". Sunday Mercury. Birmingham. Retrieved 21 June 2016.  Archived at The Free Library.
  3. ^ Hoskins, Barney (19 August 1999). "The biggest secret of my success". The Independent. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Nielsen Business Media Inc. "Vol. 111, No. 6." Billboard. 06 Feb. 1995: 33. Print.
  5. ^ Charlotte – Queen Of Hearts. Discogs. Retrieved on June 24, 2016
  6. ^ "UK Charts > Soul II Soul". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Published by Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (1999, February 6). Clubland Eats Up Charlotte's 'Skin'. Billboard, Volume 111: No. 6, Page 33. Retrieved from
  8. ^ a b Charlotte > Chart History Billboard. Retrieved on 25 March 2017
  9. ^ a b c "UK Charts > Charlotte". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  10. ^ Published by Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (1999, December 25). If Labels 'Believe' In Dance Acts, Success Will Follow. Billboard, Volume 111: No. 52, Page 34. Retrieved from
  11. ^ 2004 Winners Announced, 10th USA Songwriting Competition Begins. Idobi. Retrieved on 21 June 2016
  12. ^ Tell the Sun (feat. Charlotte Kelly) - EP. iTunes. Retrieved on June 24, 2016
  13. ^ Charlotte Kelly - All Coming Back. Youtube. Retrieved on June 24, 2016
  14. ^ Charlotte Kelly - SONIC SEX. Youtube. Retrieved on June 24, 2016
  15. ^ Music producer who punched blind former Soul II Soul singer so hard he broke two of her teeth and told her 'I'm coming for you' after their relationship broke down avoids jail. Daily Mail UK. Retrieved on 21 June 2016
  16. ^ "Testimonials". The USA Songwriting Competition. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Testimonials". The UK Songwriting Competition. Retrieved 24 June 2016. 
  18. ^ "UK Songwriting Contest 2006 Results". Music Aid International Song Contest and Music Awards. Music Aid. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  19. ^ "11th Annual Winners". Unisong International Song Contest. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Cached page of 11th Annual Unisong International Song Contest Winners. Unisong 11th Annual. Retrieved on June 24, 2016

See also[edit]