Kelly lives in North Hertfordshire and comes from a working class family, with no previous connections in the music scene. Listening to Bob Dylan, Alanis Morissette and Dolly Parton from a young age gave Kelly a passion for music, and an influential immersion into her paternal grandmother’s Irish culture created a musical inspiration for her self penned songs. After graduating from Royal Holloway, University of London, working in a local bar for a year and then travelling around Europe, Argentina and Brazil in spring 2013, Kelly decided that on her return she would pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.
Folkwords’ Best Album By A Female Artist 2014, “This Land” Kelly Oliver is an exciting, contemporary take on the acoustic folk tradition. It’s a genre Kelly is fast establishing herself in since winning an Emerging Excellence Award from Help Musicians UK in October of last year. Alongside acoustic guitar melodies and notes of Irish storytelling, Kelly includes harmonica, self-taught, which has led to sponsorship from leading brand HOHNER.
This Land, released in October 2014 by Folkstock Records, features legendary fiddle player Dave Swarbrick, as well as BBC Folk Award Nominees Sunjay and Luke Jackson. Kelly has appeared live on BBC regional stations, including BBC London radio in an interview with Gaby Roslin. Her singles ‘Diamond Girl’, ‘Jericho’, ‘Rio’ and ‘Same World’ have enjoyed numerous regional BBC and local radio plays, including on BBC Radio 2’s Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe, Bob Harris’ BBC Radio 2 Sunday show and Chris Hawkins’ BBC 6 Music show.