Biography Sean Kelly
Arcadia Academy of Music is proud to present our artist spotlight on guitarist/songwriter, Sean Kelly. Enjoy!
Guitarist/Songwriter/Artist Coach/Music Director
“Sean Kelly is much more than just an incredibly talented guitarist. His focus, energy and work ethic is the definition of professionalism. Every musician can learn a thing or two from Sean.”
Dee Snider (Lead vocalist of Twisted Sister, solo artist, author, playwright)
“Sean Kelly is one of the most talented and professional musicians I have ever worked with.
He has mastered his craft, and in the music business this is priceless. In a live setting, in front of anywhere from five to five hundred thousand people, he delivers an equally fierce, confident and passionate performance. In the studio, Sean offers sage guitar input, with a quick musical capability that can be as soulfully broad or technically particular as is required. As a songwriter, he is intuitive and open. On top of all of this skill, he’s one of the nicest human beings I know with an incredible heart and genuine goodwill. ”
Nelly Furtado, (Multi-Platinum, Grammy award-winning artist)
In his 5 years as an Artist Coach with Canada’s Music Incubator, Sean Kelly has successfully helped a number of artists develop their individual musicianship, songwriting skills, and ensemble playing.
In his role as lead guitarist for Grammy award winning superstar Nelly Furtado, Sean has performed to millions of fans on some of the world’s biggest stages. Sean has worked with and learned his craft from a wide variety of other Platinum and Gold selling artists, including Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Lee Aaron, Honeymoon Suite, The Canadian Brass, Alan Frew (Glass Tiger), Helix, Gilby Clarke (Guns N Roses), Howie D (Backstreet Boys), Rough Trade, Coney Hatch, Doc Walker, Carvin Winans and many more.
Sean has contributed as a songwriter to new albums by Honeymoon Suite, Lee Aaron, Helix , and Diemonds’ 2016 Juno-nominated Never Wanna Die.
Sean authored the book Metal On Ice : Tales from Canada’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Heroes (Dundurn Press) and produced the accompanying Metal On Ice soundtrack album (Coalition Records/Warner Music Canada).
Having fronted his own band (Century Media recording artists Crash Kelly), and successful solo career as a classical guitarist (two US Billboard Top 10 classical albums, and sales of over 10,000 copies), Sean brings an understanding of the artists’ perspective to his work as a Music Director, Artist Coach, and Guitar Teacher. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Education Degree from Nipissing University
For more information, please visit www.seankellyguitar.com
How did you first hear about Arcadia?
I was asked by my friend Steve “Skull” Saunders to do a guitar clinic for the students of Arcadia in 2014. This led to me being asked to adjudicate at the 2015 Arcadia MusicFest.
What can you tell us about your current projects, and are there any upcoming events?
I had a busy summer touring Canada with a number of acts…Honeymoon Suite (I subbed in for their amazing guitarist Derry Grehan for a few dates), Rough Trade, Lee Aaron (we also completed her new album which should be released in early 2016), and my new 80’s influenced hard rock band Trapper (we opened for Def Leppard on a few Canadian arena dates, which was a real thrill!). I have also been busy as a recording session guitarist, playing on various albums.
How has it been balancing your professional music career and your teaching career?
I view them as mutually beneficial endeavors, and I find that performing and recording enrich my teaching and vice versa. Balance comes by being organized and thoughtful of the people you work with. Communication and honesty help me keep things on track.
If you had to recommend to a student a great song by a rock band, what would it be and why?
There are so, so many examples to choose from , but right now my mind is racing towards Van Halen’s “Mean Street”…it’s a perfect storm of developed technique, impeccable groove and feeling, and reckless abandonment, all wrapped up in a great composition. Edward Van Halen represents a great balance of control and freedom. Also, check out House of Pain from the 1984 album!
What’s it like working as a session musician and what are some of the required skills needed to be a good session musician?
The 5 T’s…Time, Tone, Technique, Touch, and Tuning. Versatility is key, as is the ability to come up with great parts quickly, parts that enhance the material you are working with. Be on time, friendly, and it is always best (at least at first!) to keep your mouth closed and your ears open!
Do you have any songs, performances, or videos of your music anywhere online that you’d recommend?
Here are some live clips with Nelly Furtado.
And here is a live acoustic performance with Nelly Furtado…the solo at 2:50 is something I’m quite proud of, it was improvised and always brings back great memories of being “in the moment” with the great musicians I was playing with!
Here are some highlights of the “Metal On Ice” Concert Event @ Opera House, Toronto on May 10, 2014 — featuring Brian Vollmer (Helix), Nicholas Walsh (Slik Toxik / Famous Underground / Moxy), Darby Mills (Headpins), Carl Dixon (Coney Hatch), Lee Aaron + guest appearance by Drew Masters (M.E.A.T Magazine) & featuring guitarist Sean Kelly.