Becoming a jazz singer seemed an unlikely prospect for Juliet who discovered her natural talent for singing at a local music workshop whilst studying for a degree in economics . She had never sung in public before but it wasn’t long before she was completely hooked.
Within a year she had auditioned for and been accepted on to the postgraduate jazz course at London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since then, Juliet has worked with many outstanding musicians and performed in venues around the UK as well as in Ireland, Italy, Germany, Israel and Australia.
Juliet recorded her debut album Aphrodite’s Child (33 Records) in 2003. It featured Juliet’s original songs and garnered excellent reviews from critics in the UK and the US as well as widespread radio airplay. A successful UK tour followed with sell-out and capacity audiences at venues across the country. Her songwriting ability has also been widely praised and she took honours in the jazz category of the 2004 International Songwriting Competition.
In 2005, Juliet performed with top UK jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine in a live broadcast for BBC4’s Jazz Britannia season at the Barbican. This was followed by two successful sell-out concerts in Russia and her debut US performance that took place at New York’s Sweet Rhythm jazz club.
Juliet’s second album, Delicious Chemistry (Chantiko), further showcased her talents for writing laid-back, accessible jazz. The album – which was released at the end of 2005 - featured her regular band that included Mercury award-winning drummer Seb Rochford and a guest appearance from Courtney Pine. Juliet also appeared as a guest vocalist on Courtney Pine’s album Resistance in the same year.
In 2006 Juliet opened for the Grammy-award winning vocal group Take 6 as part of the London Jazz Festival at the Barbican and saw demand for her accessible jazz spread overseas leading to more sell-out shows in Germany, Greece and Russia.
Licorice Kiss (Purple Stiletto) was released in May 2009 and is Juliet’s third album. Referencing influences as diverse as Soul II Soul, the Eurythmics and Soft Cell, she offers up her own take on some 80’s classics alongside her own creations that range from toe-tapping grooves to latin-inflected ballads.
Juliet’s project entitled ” Inspired: Celebrating the Divas of Jazz” is a tribute to the jazz singers past and present who have inspired and influenced her. Including songs from Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan, this performance not only showcases some popular favourites but also introduces some lesser-known gems.
Spellbound Stories is Juliet's highly anticipated new album and is a set of songs based on some of her favourite novels. Novels used as inspiration include "The Colour Purple" (Alice Walker), Veronika Decides to Die (Paolo Coelho) and "White Teeth" (Zadie Smith).
“Kelly has been a well-kept secret of the UK scene for some time, but the honesty and charm of Spellbound Stories might change that.” John Fordham, THE GUARDIAN
"This fourth album from vocalist Juliet Kelly completely seduces the senses... Kelly's wordless vocalese in Ghosts (mixed by Seb Rochford) is a standout, while "All He'll Ever Need" illustrates the singer's facility for penning the catchiest of vocal hooks... nothing quite prepares you for the wonderfully strange take on "Wuthering Heights", the album's sole cover." Peter Quinn, JAZZWISE MAGAZINE
"The nuanced warmth of Kelly's rich, full voice is streets ahead of most of her contemporaries and hearing her wrap it around the many styles presented here, which range from drum-driven primitivism to knowingly intimate balladeering, is a delight." BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"Kelly has found a way of marrying a jazz sensibility with R&B-inspired arrangements for acoustic trio that are never cliched. To top it off, she strips Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights to it's bare bones. Haunting." Clive Davis – Jazz Album of the Week, THE SUNDAY TIMES
"One of those rare singers that tells a genuine story with her music, through her passionate performance and naturally warm voice, it's a beguiling combination that's hard to resist. One of the UK's finest singers in any genre" TIME OUT