June 2, 2017
By Mia Zarrella | October 25, 2016 | Culture
From child prodigy to international virtuoso, jazz star Grace Kelly is on the rise.
A Brookline native and Berklee graduate, sax prodigy Grace Kelly is propelling jazz into the mainstream—and how!
Jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly’s meteoric rise is best told by the numbers. The Brookline native and Berklee College of Music graduate is only 24 years old, yet she excels in not one but five careers, as musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, and composer. She has headlined 700 concerts, including one with Wynton Marsalis and another at Carnegie Hall. She has played in 30 countries and recorded 10 albums. Her future? Endless—no number for that…
You started performing at 10 years old? “I progressed really fast. Six weeks after I picked up my first saxophone, I was already learning jazz standards. I recorded my first album at 12.”
What’s your musical style? “It’s the type of jazz that celebrates improvisation but also very much connects to the audience, even to the people who don’t like jazz.”
How was your experience performing with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert? “I had two days to practice baritone and clarinet before I was on national TV. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.”
Tell us about your tenth album, Trying To Figure It Out. “There have been a lot of ups and downs the last couple of years in my musical career, so I decided to make an [album about] that journey. The beginning starts in much more of a dark place and every track grows more toward redemption and light.” Kelly will perform in Rockport on November 4 and in Natick on December 3.
photography by john huet