Strumming the guitar and singing from when Elly Kellner was 9 years old, music was always her greatest source of joy and comfort. Not long after she picked up the guitar she started writing her own songs. These musings were first heard in an environment where mental abuse and neglect took centre stage. Despite this, or maybe even because of this, music always remained the one steady factor in her life. Something she could depend on and find solace in.
In 1996 Elly’s songs were recorded for the first time, resulting in the release of a cassette tape album called ‘Burn Out’. This was long before the term burnout was linked to physical and emotional exhaustion. The title had more to do with the friend who made the home-recordings and his love for motorcycles. Elly on the other hand developed a love for recording and to this day it is her most favourite part of music making. You can find an overview with all her releases here.
Four strings and a love for England
As a teenager and young adult Elly put all her emotions and sometimes anger into playing loudly on her Western guitar. This resulted in the two thinnest strings breaking a lot so by the year 2000 she gave up and bid them farewell. With a special tuning this made for a unique sound. Most of Elly’s songs are now still written and performed on her 4-string guitar. It is her preffered instrument.
Elly spent several years performing solo before setting up the Acoustic-Noise duo ‘Keshri’ in 1999 with Andra Veraart, releasing a full length CD, The Keshri Transition (2001). In 2003 Elly moved from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. Walking the English soil for a couple of years she enjoyed the spotlight at Open Mic Nights and a couple of gigs in the London area. Returning to the Netherlands in 2006 she presented herself in a band setting, releasing her first self titled EP in CD format.
Matthews Southern Comfort
At the Pastorale Au Parvis festival in Nisse (2007) Elly met Iain Matthews. Shorty after he invited her to play at his Common Grounds concert series. From 2011 she performed with Iain and his Matthews Southern Comfort band with BJ Baartmans & Bart de Win. They recorded ‘Kind of Live’ and she joined the band on the road for a number of years bringing beautiful harmonies to the people of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Italy.
Elly first met Canadian troubadour Shannon Lyon in 2011 after she saw him performing in her hometown. The story goes that she was so touched by his music that she cried and immediately offered to sing backingvocals for him. Together they recorded the beautiful and melancholy album ‘Broken Things’. Elly sang backing vocals to many songs after that and joined Shannon live on tour in 2015. This was the first time she started vlogging, so the entire experience, from her point of view, is still available on Elly’s YouTube channel.
In 2019 Elly was invited to join the BEYOND Music Foundation. Through their online platform she was able to connect with musicians from around the world. She collaborated on five songs and her co-write ‘Different, You and I’ with Heather Bond from Nashville (USA) earned them both a spot on Beyond Music’s first album Same Sky.
Under the guidance of Grammy-winning producer Larry Klein (USA) Elly, Heather and 19 other artists recorded the album in Studios La Fabrique (France). This was a big confidence booster that was much needed after a hiatus of a couple of years. Elly also made vlogs during the recording proces. A nice insight into her personal experience those two weeks.
In 2020 Elly took part again and worked on 16 songs, collaborating with 32 people from 21 countries. The song Si Ghan (a co-write with Dyllann from Cameroon) won them a Special Corona Award.
At the end of 2019 Elly was awarded the Tamoil Culture Award for the Arts & Literature. Excerpt from the Jury’s speech: “Elly is able to write about what is sharp and painful in a way that makes it slightly muffled and vague and therefore easier to digest and look at. At the same time she knows how to make the vague visible with exactly the right words and has thus far written over a 1000 songs.”