Montreal’s Ian Kelly is relishing his current time on the road as a king of solo adventure.
He brings his superb set of tunes to The Hideout on May 6th.
With more than 25 dates set across the nation, the gifted singer/songwriter is looking forward to stripping back his songs to feature him, his guitar and the piano.
“It’s been going great – the initial purpose of this was for me to be able to spend some time on the road by myself. I felt like I could use some alone time,” he says during a chat from Halifax. “It’s been a year and a half since All These Lines came out, and we’ve been touring that album with six people on the road for the past year and a half.”
This time around, he decided to strip the show down a bit and go solo.
“It’s a lot of road and it’s about one and one-half months of solitude, I reckon it’ll get pretty lonely,” he says. “I never left the house with a backpack and traveled the world by myself when I was younger, I think this would be my version of that. It’ll be interesting to spend all day without a road partner and play a gig at night. Some people would make a documentary or even a reality show with such an experience. For me, it’ll probably end up being in an album or at least a few songs.”
Meanwhile, All These Lines debuted in the iTunes top 10 albums in Canada along side Eminem, Arcade Fire, Celine Dion and Katy Perry.
The album also garnered two nominations at the 2014 ADISCQ gala.
“The creative process is an intricate one – you need to go to all of these different places in your mind, in your heart and in your soul – and doing stuff that triggers emotions and it gets pretty messy sometimes. But definitely, it’s interesting,” he explains.
Looking back, Kelly hails from Montreal’s west end.
“From what I can remember, there was always music playing in the house. My dad used to play the upright bass in the living room while listening to the stereo. He would take the bass out of whatever jazz music he was listening to and play along with those great drummers and piano players. So I’ve always been around music – especially instrumental music.”
He also remembers his brother listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix when Kelly was in his early teens. “That really got me interested in rock and roll. I then knew that I wanted to have a band.”
Ultimately, the band never really materialized. But it’s all good as Kelly went on to launch a successful solo career, and consistently surrounds himself with top-notch musicians as it is.
When he was working as a soundtech at Spectrum in Montreal, he bought a computer and started doing his own home recordings. He also learned to play a bunch of instruments and he wrote, recorded and produced his first album, Insecurity, at home on his own, playing every note on the disc.
He eventually decided to quit his job and pour his time, energy and resources into pursuing his love of music.
“I think at some point you have to say, all right, this is what I’m doing – I’m all in,” he explains of his commitment to his own musical path. “After all, if you want to go to the Olympics, but only train on the weekend, I’m not sure it’s going to happen for you,” he adds with a laugh. Other CDs to follow Insecurity included Speak Your Mind and Diamonds & Plastic.
Meanwhile, Kelly has certainly kept himself busy. In 2014, he was producing other artists and writing music for television. And this year, he will be working on scoring pieces for a full-length feature film. He is also prepping a blu-ray DVD release of a concert that was taped this past winter in Quebec that should be released at some point in the next couple of months.
Of course, Kelly loves hunkering down at home with his growing family, and really, it’s the best of both worlds as his studio is right next door.
“If I can work from home in my pajamas then I’ve succeeded,” he laughs. “I want to have singers and songwriters come on over to my place and work with me.”