SINGER-SONGWRITER ELLY KELLNER

The most melancholy Lady of the Lowlands

Melodic melancholy is what Antwerp-born and Netherlands based singer-songwriter Elly Kellner serves up. Her lyrics feel like a soft, warm whisper in your ear but are radically honest at the same time. On a guitar with just four strings she occupies a unique piece of territory somewhere between jazz and folk.

Elly previously worked with Grammy Award-winning producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchel, Tracy Chapman, Bob Dylan), Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort) and was awarded with the Tamoil Culture Prize for the Arts & Literature.

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 a time when fantasy was a much needed escape from reality. Besides fantasy, music always remained the one steady factor in her life. Something she could depend on and find solace in. After her songs were first recorded in 1996 Elly developed a love for recording and to this day it is her most favourite part of  music making.

Motivation

“Elly Kellner’s melodic sad songs have a way of disturbing and comforting the listener all at the same time.”

With her lyrics Elly tries to go beyond existing taboo, into the core of her inner world, with the firm belief that there must be others who’ll recognize the mutual experience and hopefully feel less alone as a result.

Promo Photo of Elly Kellner , most melancholy Lady of the Lowlands

Releases

On her latest EP The Right Tools (2021) she sings about the ways we try to understand, help or comfort ourselves. Whether it’s through someone else’s embrace (Come in the morning), the question of trust (Won’t Mine Kill Yours), using the right tool in every situation (The Right Tools) or the knowledge that home is always should be a safe haven (Come Home). In the closing track Late Bloomer, besides Elly, Iain Matthews can also be heard. Together they sing about standing still and how a late bloomer can accept the delay. Kane Mathis (US) plays the Kora in this; a West African harp with 21 strings. The EP was produced by Elly Kellner with the indispensable assistance of BJ Baartmans.
 

After a hiatus of a couple of years Elly returned to music in 2019. She started writing in English again with vulnerability as the main subject for the lyrics. Five songs were released on I Could Have Made a Child (2020). Songs about fear and protection (Sharp Corners),  loss and the art of letting go (I Will Start Over). The title track is a song for anyone whose heart suffers because of childlessness, no matter the story, causes or reasons behind it. The EP concludes with Mountains of Men, a meditative song that indirectly questions wether we want to follow the well trodden path, leaders who claim to know best or will we listen to our gut and choose the road less traveled?

You can find a complete overview of all releases via the music page. There you can find the story behind each album, songlyrics and videos.


Four strings and the 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.

In 2003 Elly moved to the United Kingdom. Walking the English soil for a couple of years she enjoyed the spotlight at Open Mic Nights and performances in the London area.

 

Elly Kellner performing with Iain Matthews

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.

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Tamoil Cultuurprijs

At the end of 2019 singer-songwriter 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.”

Watch Elly’s speech (in Dutch)  

Singers Elly Kellner and Nashville Heather Bond in Studios La Fabrique in France 2019

Beyond Music

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). 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 an award.

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BJ Baartmans, Shannon Lyon and Elly Kellner sharing the stage in 2015.

Shannon Lyon

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.

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