Declan Kelly was born in Sydney, Australia to an Irish father and Maori mother. Having two strong ancestral ties made it no wonder that creativity and music was running through his blood. His mother Salley, a singer also exposed Declan to the life of a musician and instruments from an early age where he took to the drums and guitar, singing to come later in his life.
During his high school years he grew up in Sydney’s Balmain where live music was abundant and a thriving scene made this village alive and a great place to grow up for a budding musician. Here he met Alex Lloyd and other musicians to form his first band The Beefs, which went on to play in bars underage and also win a number of band competitions as they had a uniqueness in playing rhythm and blues which most teenagers were unfamiliar with and performing music that was current.
When Kelly finished school he was headhunted by one of the hardest working rhythm and blues bands The Bondi Cigars and immediately began touring rigorously, really honing his craft as a musician and then songwriting. He recorded an album with them before parting ways four years later in his early 20’s to form other bands and eventually pen his own tunes.
Having been the drummer for a number of great artists, Kelly learnt the craft of good songwriting, recording authentically and the mastery of studio production, as well as the delivery and fronting of a rockin' live show. This lead to his very own debut album Tales from the Neighbourhood back in 2005.
Andy Glitre, a well known JJJ disc jockey saw great potential in Declan and helped him fund Tales... and through his label saw him receive solid airplay through a changing format of radio. Declan's live show was picked up by many festivals throughout Australia due to his authentic roots flavour that was blossoming in Australia at the time. His love of roots reggae and Polynesian harmony won the respect of many of his peers.
His second album Adrift, saw Declan’s songwriting mature to become deeply moving and personal. His production skills moved up a few gears to produce an authentic, quality album of well crafted songs. Two songs from the album, Far and Away and Hold the Light were featured in the BBC series Top of the Lake, directed by Jane Campion.
The latest production from Declan is a collaborative effort on an awareness and fundraising album called Diesel n'Dub, a collection of reggae and dub versions of Midnight Oil songs featuring a stellar cast including Katie Noonan, Alex Lloyd, Emma Donovan and Radical Son to name a few. Proceeds go to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
Declan continues to write and is in the process of pre-production of his next album. The New album will feature a collection of new works inspired by the number of great artists he has worked and collaborated with in the past. Recorded at his studio 'The Nest' in Surry Hills. Due for release in 2019 with a Single 'Carry me' out at the end of January.