Kelly in 2015
|Born||1980 (age 38–39)|
New York, NY
|Genres||Pop, R&B, soul, dance, country|
|Labels||Weirdo Workshop |
Claude Kelly (born 1980) is an American singer, songwriter and music producer. He is a four-time Grammy Award nominee, and has written or co-written songs for Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Kesha, Brandy, and One Direction. He and Chuck Harmony make up the R&B duo Louis York, and founded the music collective Weirdo Workshop.
Early life and education
Kelly was born and raised in New York City. His Jamaican-born mother introduced him to a variety of music styles, including jazz, reggae, blues and R&B. Growing up, he studied piano and flute at the Third Street Music School Settlement and sung with the New York Boys Choir. Kelly attended Grace Church School, Riverdale Country School, and then Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating with a degree in music business/management in 2002.
After graduating from Berklee, Kelly worked as a session singer on the East Coast, before starting to write his own songs. He placed his first song in 2002, when "You're Taking It" was included on a CD compilation for Japanese clothing line A Bathing Ape. He wrote "Daddy's Little Girl" for Frankie J, which was released as a single in 2006, and led to a publishing contract with Warner/Chappell Music. That year, Kelly was introduced to producer RedOne, and began working with him and Lady Gaga, who was at the time working on her first album. This led to an introduction to Akon. Kelly and Akon co-wrote "Hold My Hand" with Whitney Houston in mind, but Akon liked the song so much that he decided to record it as a duet with Michael Jackson. It was one of Jackson's last recordings, and appeared on his 2010 posthumous album Michael.
Nicknamed the Studio Beast, Kelly has written numerous hits, including the Britney Spears song "Circus", which he wrote with Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on the Billboard Pop Songs and Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts; Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You", which he co-wrote with Max Martin and Dr. Luke and hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100; and the Miley Cyrus single "Party in the U.S.A.", written with Dr. Luke and Jessie J, which spent 28 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #2. He has been nominated for four Grammy Awards: the 2011 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for Fantasia's "Bittersweet"; two 2012 Grammy Awards, for Song of the Year for Bruno Mars' "Grenade" and Best R&B Song for Ledisi's "Pieces of Me"; and the 2013 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song for Tamia's "Beautiful Surprise". He was named to The Hollywood Reporter's 2013 list of Music's Top 35 Hitmakers.
Kelly has written songs for Whitney Houston, R. Kelly, Miley Cyrus, Olly Murs, Jessie J, Britney Spears, Leona Lewis, John Legend, Faith Evans, Joe Jonas, Jason Derulo, Backstreet Boys, Adam Lambert, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, One Direction, The Wanted, and the K-pop girl group Wonder Girls. He co-executive produced Karmin's 2012 EP Hello and Tamia's 2012 album Beautiful Surprise, and co-produced Masha's debut rock EP Stupid, Stupid Dreams in 2013.
In 2014, Kelly and fellow songwriter and producer Chuck Harmony formed the R&B duo Louis York. Their debut EP, Masterpiece Theater – Act I, was released in 2015. The first single, "Clair Huxtable", is an ode to Phylicia Rashad's character on The Cosby Show. The EP was the first release from their music collective Weirdo Workshop, with distribution from Sony's RED Music.
Kelly served as a vocal producer for the US version of The X Factor in 2011 and 2012. In August 2013, it was announced that he and Jenna Hally Rubenstein were partnering to executive produce and develop a reality television show to find undiscovered music moguls.
|2011||Grammy Award||Best R&B Song||"Bittersweet" by Fantasia||Nominated|
|2012||Grammy Award||Song of the Year||"Grenade" by Bruno Mars||Nominated|
|Grammy Award||Best R&B Song||"Pieces of Me" by Ledisi||Nominated|
|2013||Grammy Award||Best R&B Song||"Beautiful Surprise" by Tamia||Nominated|
|Masterpiece Theater – Act I|
|Masterpiece Theater – Act II||
- Shirley Halperin and Bob Love, "THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers," The Hollywood Reporter, February 6, 2013.
- Gerrick D. Kennedy, "Hitmakers Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony debut as Louis York," Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2015.
- Small, Mark. "Claude Kelly '02, Chasin' the Chills". Berklee Today. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- Mitchell Peters, "Songwriter Claude Kelly has Eyes on Making Songs That Last," Billboard, August 10, 2012.
- "Interview with Claude Kelly," Hit Quarters, May 24, 2010.
- "Exclusive Grammy.com Interview With Claude Kelly," Grammy.com, May 21, 2013.
- Zack O'Malley Greenburg, "Michael Jackson and Akon Song Originally Intended For Whitney Houston," Forbes, February 20, 2012.
- Mariel Concepcion, "Claude Kelly Hits Big With Clarkson, Spears," Billboard, January 29, 2009.
- "Circus — Britney Spears". Billboard. Nielsen Company. Retrieved 4 January 2010.
- Jon Caramanica, "Miley Cyrus, Growing Up, Tests Identities," The New York Times, June 29, 2010.
- Elias Leight, "Jessie J on Writing 'Party in the U.S.A.': 'It Paid My Rent for 3 Years'," Billboard, December 29, 2014.
- Zack O'Malley Greenburg, "Claude Kelly Talks Grammys, Grenades and Bruno Mars," Forbes, February 11, 2012.
- Janice Brown, "Studio Beast in the Hot Seat: Claude Kelly," Sonic Scoop, February 10, 2010.
- "Claude Kelly Hits Big With Clarkson, Spears". Billboard.com. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- Jocelyn Vena, "Joe Jonas Playing 'Sex Symbol' on New Solo Album," MTV, March 18, 2011.
- Alan Gonzales, Alan. "Wonder Girls & Claude Kelly's Cambio video feature revealed!". Allkpop.com. Allkpop. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Robert P. Walzer, "The Apollo Auditions for the Future," The Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2011.
- Kimberly Nordyke, "Hitmaker Claude Kelly, Jenna Hally Rubenstein Developing Reality Show to Find Undiscovered Music Mogul," The Hollywood Reporter, August 21, 2013.