About Kelly Vaughn
Kelly Vaughn is a singer/ songwriter from Dallas, TX. With a new album and line-up Kelly is positioned to take 2023 by storm!
Contemporary artists that draw comparisons are Rob Thomas, John Mayer and Third Eye Blind.
His guitar playing has been described as a cross between Santana and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Kelly has also been compared to Christian artists such as Josh Wilson, Brandon Heath and Chris Tomlin.
“It’s the Journey not the destination. Right?”
I took a Walkman and a Members Only jacket and traded my neighbor for a beat-up drum set. That’s how it all started. I went out in the garage and bashed that old Ludwig snare to death. Nothing much came of it though. I had no musical training and no musical background. I could swear I hit one little riff that sounded like Sharp Dressed Man from ZZ Top. Beyond that I was sort of stumped and not sure where to go next.
In the Summer I went to visit my grandmother and I heard on the radio that the Scorpions were giving a concert in a few days. I asked my dad and was shocked that he agreed to take me. The opening band just happened to be Bon Jovi. It was their first tour and I had never heard of the them. On the night of the concert when the lights went down, and Bon Jovi came out onto the stage I was transformed. From the first word he said I was captivated. It was in that exact moment when it hit me: I want to be a rock star!
I sold that drum set and bought a used acoustic guitar and that was really the start of my musical journey. While it was the big stars of the day that influenced me initially it was people I knew in real life that really helped and motivated me. People like Lauren Buck who was the youth minister at my church. I watched her play that black Ovation guitar for several years and always marveled at her talent. She taught me my first few lessons. Then there was Jim Mitchell with whom I shared a love for James Taylors music. He was full of good advice and even loaned one of my early bands money to get started. Bob Curry offered me the use of his warehouse to rehearse. I was so lucky to have these fine people as examples and mentors.
I spent a couple of years trying to learn my instrument through various teachers which was difficult. Then I made one of the best decisions of my life and took a music theory class as a Senior in high school. That turned out to be a great move! It unlocked it all for me. I began to improve drastically and I quickly got up to speed with my peers.
One day I decided I needed to get in a band, so I went to the Dallas Guitar Show with that in mind. I just walked around and started talking to people and before the day was over I had an offer to join a band. Things moved quickly from there and I started writing songs and performing with that group. In a short time I moved to a new band with some older guys that were more experienced. It didn’t take long before I was in a top band in Dallas, headlining gigs, making recordings, getting on the radio and had a booking agent. I thought things were coming along just about as they should. I was working hard at it and it was all coming to me.
Then something happened. Nirvana came out and it killed hair metal which was what I was doing at the time. The whole business turned upside down and my band broke up. It was a hard lesson. What I learned is that when your livelihood is tied to other people you don’t really have as much control of your own destiny. So I decided to cut my hair, sell off my equipment and go to college.
My very first weekend at Stephen F. Austin State University I saw this extremely mediocre band playing at a club and people going wild. I couldn’t believe it. I decided I had to put a band together and a few weeks later I was right back in the thick of things. I kept writing, recording and playing live. I was in a great band that was a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and Hootie and the Blowfish. Things were looking good and the band planned to continue after we all graduated and see where we could take it. Unfortunately, everyone pretty much went their separate ways after graduation and I decided to move back to Dallas.
Within a month I had a new band in Dallas and I was playing shows. By this point I knew that I was going to do music professionally no matter what the cost. It was in my blood and I knew that I could try other things but that I would never be able to shake the calling. I write songs, play guitar and sing. That’s who I am and I decided to accepted it. Of course there was still that little matter of paying my bills. I finally got hooked up teaching guitar at Nadine’s Music Manor and that was really the perfect job for me. I taught during the day and recorded and played shows at night.
All through the 90’s and 00’s I made a ton of albums with my best friend Mark Burgdorff in a group we called Kickstand. We played all the hot spots in Dallas like Curtain Club, Galaxy Club, Trees, Club DaDa and the Gypsy Tea Room. We constantly revamped things, explored different styles and played all sorts of different places. Things never quite panned out like we had imagined or hoped and we came to a cross roads.
It was around that time when I met my wife Stefanie and we had gone to a contemporary service at my church. Within a few weeks we were asked to join the band and things took off from there. Someone asked me if I could write a worship song. I thought about it for about 2 seconds and I said of course I can! So I did and it was well received by the congregation. (that song is called “My Strength”) I knew right then that I was going to change my direction a little bit and I was excited about it.
I dumped some of my silly material and kept only the songs with a positive message. Then I added some of the Contemporary Christian songs I had been writing. I saw an immediate impact at my shows and even with my band mates. I knew then that I had something special going.
I released the My Strength album in 2014 and the 10,000 Charms album in 2017. Both albums are filled with upbeat, positive songs.
I am committed to moving forward. Part of the fun is that I don’t always know where the journey is going to take me. I’ve played a ton of bars and clubs but also benefit concerts, churches, festivals, private parties, weddings and even some funerals. I believe music can be used to heal, to celebrate, to uplift and inspire people. I am blessed that I get to do this everyday of my life.
I thank all of you who continue to support me. For those of you that I do not know yet I hope you will give me a chance and listen to my music. I would love nothing more than to call you part of the family.
God Bless You!