SAXOPHONIST, SINGER, SONGWRITER, COMPOSER, ARRANGER
Having studied saxophone since the age of ten, she is rapidly making her way up in the jazz music world. Grace’s talents far outstrip others her age. Now just sixteen, Grace has already recorded and/or performed with many notable musicians: Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Dave Brubeck, Hank Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Morgan, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland, Harry Connick, Jr., Russell Malone, Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jerry Bergonzi, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dianne Reeves, Chris Potter, Adam Rogers, Christian Scott, Billy Hart, Winard Harper, George Cables, Ronnie Matthews, Ray Drummond, Peter Bernstein, and James Cotton, among others.
Grace has performed in many notable venues in the U.S., Europe and Asia such as Carnegie Hall, Rose Hall at JALC, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club Cocoa Cola, Scullers Jazz Club, Regatta Bar, Dakota Jazz Club, Kennedy Center, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, Newport Blues Café, Boston Symphony Hall, Jazz Standard, Pabst Theater, 50th Grammy Awards (After party), Jazz Bakery, (LA) Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, (Kennedy Center),. Grace has performed as far away as Tromso, Norway, Salzau, Germany, and Seoul, Korea.
Media appearances include NPR “Day To Day” , NPR “ Here and Now”, NPR “Piano Jazz”, “Chronicle”, WGBH with Eric Jackson, XM Radio, WICN, KSFR, KCSM, ABC's WCVB-TV,
CBS TV4, Fox 25 News, NECN, EBS Radio and EBS TV and numerous radio interviews. Featured in many magazines and newspapers in U.S., Europe and Asia such as: LA Times, Downbeat, Jazziz, Jazz Times, Jazztitek, Chosun Daily News, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and many others.
Film: “Delta Rising” a Blues Documentary, including Willie Nelson, Morgan Freeman and others.
Grace appeared as special guest artist for two nights with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops 2007 Jazz Series. One of the selections Grace performed was her award winning composition “Every Road I Walked” which she also arranged for the entire Pops orchestra. It was her first arrangement for an orchestra and strings. Grace also performed with Diane Reeves and the Boston Pops Orchestra.
"Live At Scullers" (2013) Jason Palmer, Pete McCann, Zack Brown, Mark Walker, Eric Law, Jaime Woods, Chantalle Sterling
"Grace" (2012) George Russell, Jr, Jamey Haddad, Peter Clemente
"Man With The Hat" (2011) Phil Woods, Monty Alexander, Evan Gregor, Bill Goodwin
“Mood Changes” (2009) Terri Lyne Carrington, Jason Palmer, Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, with special guests Adam Rogers and Hal Crook
“GracefulLee” (2008) Lee Konitz, Russell Malone, Rufus Reid, Matt Wilson
“Every Road I Walked” (2006), Terri Lyne Carrington, Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, and special guest Christian Scott
“Times Too” (2005), Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, Yoron Israel
“Dreaming” (2004), Doug Johnson, John Lockwood, Jordan Perlson
Grace began attending Berklee College of Music on full scholarship, at age 16, in Sept 2008. Graduated at age 19 in 2011.
Awards and Distinction Highlights
Winner New England Music Awards - Jazz Act of the Year 2013
Winner NATIONAL Jazz Act Of The Year in 2012 Phoenix "Best Music Poll"
"Top Ten College Women 2011", Award, Glamour Magazine 54th annual competition
- Named five times in the annual Downbeat Magazines 2009, 2010 ,2011, 2012 and 2013 Critics Poll as one of the Alto Saxophone "Rising Star” (Youngest Ever named to critics poll)
Nominated “Breakthrough Artist of the Year” 2013 SiriusXM Watercolors
-CNN “Making of a Prodigy” feature story.
- Recipient of the ASCAP Foundation 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013 Young Jazz Composers Award
- Voted "Best Jazz Act” in Boston four consecutive years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 FNX/Phoenix Best Music Poll
- Voted "Jazz Act of the Year" 2008 and 2010 Boston Music Awards
-Nominated "Jazz Act of the Year" 2008 thru 2013 Boston Music Awards
- Winner Jimmy Woode Award Saxophone Soloist, Tuscia in Jazz Italy
- Finalist 2009 Jazz A Juan Revelations, Les Pins, France
- First ever recipient of the "Brad Delp Rising Star Award” - 2009 Limelight Magazine Music Awards
- Recipient of the 2008 Francis B. Lanier Award New England Conservatory Prep School (Youngest ever and first non-classical musician to receive the award.)
- Performed winning composition "Every Road I Walked” at the 2007 ASCAP Foundation Annual Awards in New York.
- 2006-2009 Winner of twelve (12) Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. Jazz Soloist, Jazz Vocalist, Pop/Rock Blues Soloist, Composition, Extended Composition, Arrangement
- Recipient of the Berklee College of Music Superior Musicianship Award
at 2007 Berklee High School Jazz Festival
- Grace Kelly was the youngest ever winner of Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship at the 2006 East Coast Jazz Festival.
- Winner International Songwriting Competitions in 2006 & 2007 for "Filosophical Flying Fish” (Every Road I Walked) and ISC 2008 for "101”
- Grace Kelly was judged the top woodwind soloist and the top vocal alto soloist at the 2007 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival
Grace has participated in the:
2008 Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble
2007 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead at the Kennedy Center in Wash. D.C.
2007 Steans Institute at Ravinia,
2006, 2007 and 2008 Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony,
2006, 2007 and 2008 Stanford Jazz Residency Program,
Grace currently studies saxophone with Lee Konitz, Jerry Bergonzi, and Allan Chase. Grace is the youngest ever to complete the four year Jazz Studies certificate program at New England Conservatory Prep School. Grace also plays piano, soprano and tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute, and some drums. www.gracekellymusic.com
Born Grace Chung on May 15, 1992 in Wellesley, Massachusetts to Korean parents, Grace moved to Brookline, MA when she was two years old with her mother and sister after her parents divorced. Grace’s mother married Robert Kelly in 1997 and a few years later Grace and her sister Christina were legally adopted by her stepfather and thus her name became Grace Kelly. Grace was brought up by a family that greatly appreciates music and the arts. When she is not busy with her burgeoning musical career, Grace likes to dance, act, and hang out with her friends. She picked up the acting bug from her sister Christina, currently a student at Harvard University. Grace also has two stepsisters and a stepbrother: Heather, Sara and Tim. Tim was a sergeant in the Marines and served twice in the war in Iraq.
Mother Irene Chang Kelly believes that learning piano is the best way to prepare for a lifetime of music, and so Grace began piano lessons at age six. She began with classical training but soon changed to jazz because she had the propensity not to stick to the notes on the page but wanted to make up her own melodies. Grace wrote her first song “On My Way Home” at age seven.
All public school students in Grace’s hometown are required to choose an instrument and take a year of school-sponsored instruction in fourth grade, and Grace chose the clarinet. But this fourth-grader had already gotten hooked on another sound: the warm, almost-human voice of the saxophone. Her mom always loved [saxophonist] Stan Getz and would be playing him at home when they had Sunday brunch. Grace always wanted to play saxophone, but they didn’t let you take it until fifth grade. So she started on clarinet. Grace couldn’t wait until fifth grade, so halfway through fourth grade she started private lessons on the saxophone. When Grace was 12 she met Ann Hampton Callaway, a renowned cabaret artist, prodigious recording artist and award-winning songwriter. Seeing all that Grace had accomplished in those two short years, it is no wonder that when Ann Hampton Callaway met Grace she declared of Grace that “her sensitivity, control and focus as an alto saxophonist is impressive. When I played some songs of hers for the legendary drummer Victor Lewis [who has played with Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, and many more], he said, ‘Wow, I love her sound.’”
Grace currently studies saxophone with Jerry Bergonzi, Lee Konitz, and Allan Chase. She also studies composition, arranging, flute, drums, and piano. Having participated in the certificate programs at both Brookline Music School and the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, Grace is the youngest ever to complete the four year Jazz Studies Certificate Program at New England Conservatory Prep School.
Grace began taking voice lessons this past year although she has been singing since she could talk; her soulful, versatile voice is quickly becoming one of her trademarks whether she’s crooning a love song or belting out the blues. She has kept up with piano all of these years, but now mostly uses those skills in conjunction with her creativity to write original songs. A visit to the Kelly’s proves this very quickly, for Grace is frequently trying out a new idea for a song on the piano or guitar or listening to one of her creations via Sibelius, a music notation program, connected to her keyboard. “Grace has always had an innate creativity. When she was younger she never really needed toys because she could make up stories, songs, and dances – entertaining herself for hours by standing in front of a mirror and performing for her own reflection. She remembers Grace practicing piano and ten minutes later she’ll be making up songs instead of practicing. She’s a very creative being,” remarked Mrs. Kelly.
Grace plays the alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, piano, some clarinet, flute, drums, bass and sings. The styles of music that intrigue Grace are many. Although jazz is her first love she embraces blues, funk, rock and contemporary styles. Some of the artists on Grace’s nightstand are Paul Desmond, Joshua Redmond, Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Brad Meldau and Pat Metheny, Dave Brubeck, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Billy Childs, Steve Wilson and Frank Morgan. Grace is also inspired by Ella, Sarah, Billy, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Dianne Reeves, Ann Hampton Callaway, among others. Grace loves old movies and more recent romantic comedies. Some of her favorite actors are Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Orlando Bloom, Cary Grant, and of course Princess Grace Kelly
What does the future hold for this emerging musical powerhouse? Grace says she hopes to become better and better at playing all her instruments and to do a lot more composing and arranging. “I just want to share my music with as many people as I can, hoping that my music gives as them joy and pleasure.”
As Ann Hampton Callaway predicts, “There is no telling how far this child prodigy will go with the limitless possibilities of her voluminous talents. Grace is following her heart and that path is sure to lead her on a great adventure that all listeners, lucky enough to discover her, will relish.”