*chan·teur | [French shahn-tœr]
noun: 1. a male singer, especially one who sings in nightclubs and cabarets; especially a singer of ballads
A message for these times
Today, the future of the arts and the ability to make a living creating and sharing it is being redesigned, restructured and reformatted. Even if/when we return to at least 80% capacity of in-person gatherings, the live stream format will continue to evolve and become more innovative to bring you the highest quality in entertainment. I also know that when we can have audiences in our presence once again, the appreciation of our gifts fused with our appreciation of your presence will be extraordinary. I so look forward to that.
What we have learned is that art - music in particular - is essential in the health and well-being of those who create it and those who experience it. Art gives life.
But needless to say, we have struggled like no other time in our lives as artists and we desperately need your help. We will have to update our equipment to meet the higher standard that streaming into your home demands. We will need to upgrade microphones, lighting, speakers, chords and amplifiers. Add go that mechanisms to finance advertisement for upcoming appearances, printing, wardrobe, studio time, etc. Yes, it will require a multitude of elements to attain a certain level of excellence.
And then there's just plain survival. Basic necessities like housing, food, transportation and health care have dealt a major blow to our streams of income and psychological equilibria. Your patronage will help us tremendously to weather this moment with some dignity. It will keep our creative spirits high and allow us to patiently endure until this difficult time has passed. God bless you and thank you in advance, and immeasurably, for your love and support.
My Origin Story
I have been fortunate enough to spend my entire life as an artist.
It was at the age of nine that I first stumbled across the cement stairs of Karamu House in Cleveland, and it was there that my journey into the world of creativity began.
I lived only two blocks from historic Karamu House, the oldest black theatre in the United States. I remember every day I would ride my bike to the theater, toss it onto the stairs, run inside to get a sip of cold water from the fountain right outside the office of the founder, Rowena Jelliffe, then I’d dash out. One day when I arrived for my daily quenching Mrs. Jelliffe (we were on daily speaking terms) was waiting for me by the water fountain. She informed me that she had enrolled me in a dance class and to ask my parents if I could attend. “Yes!”
I haven't looked back since, and my journey has been blessed and wonderfully spectacular. I was privileged to be trained and nurtured by the crème-de-la-crème of America’s most talented artists. Robert Guillaume (Benson), Ron O'Neal (Superfly) along with theatre legends Al Fann, Minnie Gentry, George Gould and many other luminaries of screen and stage. Priceless.
I haven't looked back since, and my journey has been blessed and wonderfully spectacular.
It was at that same institution where at the age of seventeen I became the protégé of the great Mike Malone. His mentoring was life-changing. It opened doors of opportunity and exposed me to training of the highest caliber. This type of generous support from my elders has benefited me throughout my life, and I see it as incumbent upon me to honor their nurturing by setting and achieving the highest of artistic standards.
Earlier in life, my humble request whispered to God, was to allow me to help heal through music and art. Sometime thereafter, I was met with the unique opportunity to perform weekly at the InterContinental Hotel on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. I would sing each Thursday evening, soothing the hearts of the families and friends of hospital patients from around the globe. Life-changing.
That experience shaped my outlook and laid the foundation for the purpose I now bring to every opportunity to perform. Heal the people.
That experience shaped my outlook and laid the foundation for the purpose I would bring to every opportunity to perform from that day forth. Heal the people.
I have experienced some unforgettable moments in my career, and yet I believe that 30-plus years as a professional Singer-Actor Director-Choreographer have all been preparation for the wonderful chapter I am now composing...
Singing beautiful jazz music around the world.
Night clubs! Concerts! Globetrotting! Special appearances!
A jazz chanteur!
And now, it is with great pride that I invite you to look over the highlights of the work presented and compiled on this website and to be inspired to reach out. I hope you are enchanted and moved by the Reggie Kelly experience.
Much Love and Peace,
(1.) "Miss Eugenia Love teaching a children's dance class at Karamu House” (1965) photo: Paul Tepley. The Cleveland Press Collection, Michael Schwartz Library, Cleveland State University
(2.) “Karamu House” Ohio Bicentennial Commission, The Cinergy Foundation, and The Ohio Historical Society