NextStop Magazine recently caught up with the exceptionally talented singer-songwriter Rorie Kelly for a fast chat about her new album, where she likes to play on Long Island and what she wants for Christmas, among other things. A regular on the local indie music scene for many years, especially considering her youth, she can often been heard at Patchogue Theatre’s totally cool Live in the Lobby Series or serenading veggie seekers at area Farmer’s Markets. Currently she’s working on a new album and has created a crowd funding campaign on RocketHub. There are still a few days left to contribute—click here to chip in or check out roriekelly.com to hear some songs, watch some vids and buy some merch.
Tell us about your current recording project.
The new album I'm working on is called Rising Rising Rising and I'm really excited about it because I am finally getting to really tell a story with an album. This album is all about facing down your demons and learning to befriend yourself in the face of a world that keeps telling you not to. It is my own story but I have learned that singing and sharing my own experiences can help others with their story. And that's what this is all about. I want it to be a healing, inspiring, eye opening album for anyone ready to take that journey.
What do I get if I contribute to the crowd funding campaign?
Everyone who contributes gets the music (obviously). I've also got snazzier rewards for those who want to contribute more—including house concerts, dedicated YouTube covers, and hand-drawn dinosaur pictures. Also, it is now the final stretch of my campaign so I've upped the ante a bit—anyone who contributes this week also gets a haiku written by me about how awesome they are. [Click here for more about the project]
Any plans for live shows this summer?
This summer I'm taking a little bit of a break from my usual epic gig schedule, so I can focus on recording. However there will likely be a few gigs on the North Fork and around Long Island and NYC. I'm also doing some web-based concerts on ConcertWindow—follow me on ConcertWindow to get notified when one is coming up.
What’s your favorite personal musical moment, on stage or off?
For me the biggest moments are offstage when someone tells me I have had an impact. I had one woman (now a dear friend) come to me after I played a song and tell me, "Your music is helping me live." She had been through some incredibly traumatic stuff—you would not believe this woman's resilience and strength. She thinks I'm the inspiring one... But the reality is, her strength and commitment to find her happiness inspire me daily.
What are your favorite Long Island venues to play?
The Live in the Lobby series at the Patchogue Theatre has become my home away from home. It is run entirely by volunteers and populated by people who are ravenous to hear live, original music in an intimate setting. (But one where you can still get a beer!) I always feel effervescent for days after playing a Lobby gig. Some other truly amazing venues on the island are the Homegrown Music Cafe in Mt. Sinai and the "Music From the Hive" series, which is a monthly songwriter-in-the-round series at Still Partners in Sea Cliff.
Where on Long Island have you not played that you would like to?
Let's get big! I've dreamed of playing Jones Beach since I was a teenager. One day I'm going to make it happen, too.
What was last playing on your car’s radio?
Kirsten Maxwell's album "Crimson." Kirsten is a young Long Island songwriter with a voice like you would not believe, and you can hear her at kristenmaxwell.com.
What do you want for Christmas? Or your birthday, or Chinese New Year, or just in general?
I'll tell you the real, boring, obvious truth: I want music to be my full time existence. That is the goal I am working towards every day. I'll get there. But if someone could help me get there a little sooner, I sure wouldn't complain.
Friday June 19: The Cup, Wantagh
Saturday June 20: New Hyde Park Farmer's Market
Friday June 28: April Diane Book Signing, In2ition, Oakdale
Sunday July 12: Diliberto Winery, Riverhead
Saturday July 18: New Hyde Park Farmer's Market
Friday July 23: Alive After 5, BrickHouse Brewery, Patchogue
Sunday July 26: Babylon Farmer's Market
Sunday July 26: A Lure, Southold
Monday July 27: Harry Chapin Tribute Concert, Eisenhower Park, Westbury
Photo: Ian Darson