Kelly Kemp’s roots may firmly lie in punk rock, but her gentle and misanthropic brand of acoustic music extends far beyond that. Based in the seaside town of Southsea, just outside Portsmouth (UK), Kelly combines elements of folk and country with infectious pop melodies and a punk rock ideology to narrate dark, beautiful and honest vignettes of modern life.
One of the most important and impactful voices in the UK’s DIY music community, Kelly first made her mark fronting NoComply. When the band went their separate ways in 2006, she decided to go it alone, touring the UK whenever possible and playing with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Frank Turner and William Elliot Whitmore along the way.
In 2008 Kelly released her first album via This One’s For The Crew Records. Tackling subjects of love, touring and inequality it was a fiery debut born out of her environment and stories from her time on the road. Always one for collaboration, her next release would see Kemp teaming up with Bangers on a split 7” release with El Morgan and The Arteries (Specialist Subject Records) in 2010 – proving that, although she’d gone solo, she’d definitely not left punk rock behind. Her sweet and melodic vocal was in stark contrast to the frenetic instrumental backing her up, but the result was a total success. Another joint effort followed in 2013, one that saw Kelly working alongside Giles Bidder (Great Cynics) and Roo Pescod (Bangers). The result was The Darlington Sessions #1 (Cats? Aye! Records / Darlington Road Records), a record on which Kelly continued to show off her songwriting prowess whilst having fun in the process. This release was well received by both press and fans alike and helped spawn The Survival Tour.
Since then, Kelly has continued to write songs for what would eventually be, her forthcoming second full-length, Come Back, Come Back! and form Dear Everyone, a folk trio, with El Morgan and Helen Chambers. Recording for Come Back, Come Back! began at the beginning of 2014 with, friend and producer, Tim Greaves at Darlington Studios, Southsea and features appearances from Kelly’s Dear Everyone bandmates amongst others. Come Back, Come Back is set for release sometime before the end of 2015.
“Kemp’s voice is enchanting and mesmerises me in a way that few singers are able to manage” – Punknews
“Kelly’s writing has a real, cynical, yet escapist feel to it…but the way [she] puts it across turns it into a kind of romantic misanthropy” – The Ruckus
“The punk ethics are still there but the screaming brutality has gone…It’s simply stripped down stuff, one voice, one guitar and a whole lot of storytelling.” – Punktastic