Claude Kelly was born and raised by Jamaican immigrants in the heart of New York City where he was exposed to music at an early age. He found his way into the church kitchen during service and managed to turn pots, pans and a ladle into a makeshift drumset. From there he was hooked. He attended Riverdale Country School and then Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, receiving a degree in Music Business and Management. He then returned to New York City, and through networking and word of mouth, met as many producers as he could. By 2002 he had written a song that ended up a compilation by the Japanese clothing line A Bathing Ape. “It was a lucky break,” he said. “It boosted my confidence.”
Kelly got his big break when he wrote the song, “Daddy’s Little Girl” for Frankie J’s 2006 album, Priceless. Although it didn’t chart well, he said, watching his song go from recording to mixing to mastering to music video was the confirmation that he needed to press on.
He parlayed his knowledge of the business and love for music into a successful career, which was jumpstarted when he found himself in the studio with Akon. Kelly’s work so impressed Akon that in late 2007, the singer suggested Kelly write to some of his music, one of which was “Forgive Me”, written for Leona Lewis’ debut album and produced by Akon respectively. Another song he wrote was “Hold My Hand” which was set to feature on Akon’s third album, however the song leaked and it was decided not to be included in the album. The song, which features Michael Jackson, is the first single to be released from Michael, (Jackson’s first posthumous studio album).
Since, Kelly has written songs for Kelly Clarkson (“My Life Would Suck Without You”) Britney Spears (“Circus”), Whitney Houston, Fantasia Barrino, R. Kelly, The Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Jessie J, and Miley Cyrus’ (“Party in the U.S.A.”), which debuted at #2 on Billboard Hot 100, and many more!
Today, for the first time, he’s standing behind the mic as the vocal element of the electric band Louis York. Forged with long time friend and collaborator Chuck Harmony, responsible for producing Rihanna, Mary J Blige, and Celine Dion. In 2014, the duo founded the music collective Weirdo Workshop, home to acts Masha, Kes, and The Shindellas.