As Seen In Folio Magazine, April 29, 2008

BEYOND THE NORM – By Kara Pound, Folio Weekly,
Jacksonville, FL. April 29, 2008

Dashing, debonair Norman Kelsey is an old soul with a funky new sound.

Norman Kelsey’s debut solo album, released at the beginning of this year, is described in the press material as “sexy dance floor fillers, heart-stopping slow jams and a stadium anthem about universal love.” Unlike the glad-handing drivel issued by most record label PR departments, this description is surprisingly accurate. “I really enjoy writing songs that are poppy, that people will want to dance to and smile when they hear the lyrics,” says Kelsey of the songs on “A Talent For Loving.”

The dashing 39-year old Jacksonville native and graduate of Terry Parker High School says he never realized his vocal abilities as a youngster. “I was kicked out of church choirs and removed from school choirs, so I didn’t really thing I could sing,” he says. “I liked singing, but nobody ever said ‘Hey, you’re a good singer,’ until my friends from high school [commented on my voice].

Kelsey is referring to a talent show during his senior year when his friends put a band together and asked him to sing. What seemed at first to be a novelty grew into a passion. “That was really where the bug bit me, and from that point on, all other aspirations kinda went to the side.”

After the talent show, the band, called The Flaming Yogurt, made its public debut at long-since-defunct alt-rock club Einstein a Go-Go in Jacksonville Beach . “One of the great memories of my musical career was playing there and knowing that that was the place to play at the time and that it has obtained legendary status,” says Kelsey. But the West Coast called, and soon Kelsey left his bandmates for LA.

For the past 15 years, Kelsey has been living and working on his solo career in Tinseltown while touring the UK as lead singer of Rush Hour Soul. He says that places like Liverpool dig his pop sound, which he considers thematically universal. “I try to take inspiration from just about everything,” says Kelsey. “People I meet, experiences that I have, books I read, if I see a movie that I think has a really great title.”
Kelsey is also heavily influenced by his Jacksonville childhood. Back in the ‘80s, Northeast Florida was a great place to see music, Kelsey says; he counts Duran Duran, Hall & Oates and Tom Petty among the bands he enjoyed seeing.

His friends back home still regard his career choice as strange, he imagines. “I think everyone thought I was going to be a politician or run for some sort of office,” says Kelsey. “But, actually, music is a better way to reach people, I think, and effect change in society.”

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