Kelea (aka Kelly Gardner) is a versatile, multigenre artist who performs musical showcases utilising vocals, keys, harmonies and soundscapes. She is also a powerhouse rock vocalist with a large vocal range and was one of only six West Australians to represent WA at The Voice Australia S8 Blind Auditions Top 100 (Sydney 2019).
Kelea's new EP Of Sound Mind is "proof positive of her stylistic bravery, with the diversity of sounds and genres united by her beautiful voice. From the ethereal Aqua And Blue, which captures shades of both Enya and Kate Bush while ululating on a sonic ocean swell, to the driving indie pop of Galaxy, very much an anthem for female and LGBTQI rights. The brooding Look Myself In The Eye continues the thematic emphasis of self-empowerment in a complex modern age, while Start Again is an easier, breezier listen, but absolutely entrancing nonetheless" (Bob Gordon).
The IT Guy, meanwhile, “a tongue in cheek song about having a crush on the guy down at the IT Store,” is "a pop tune that lies somewhere between the new wave brilliance of Sparks and the intellectual quirks of Australian singer, Kate Miller-Heidke" (Bob Gordon). The song is accompanied by a sci-fi-spoof video directed by Revelation Film Festival Blind Date Music Video Competition winner, Amy Ruth Gibbs. Kelea launches Of Sound Mind on 16 January 2022 with her all girl line up Krissy Sanfead (guitar), Dusty Bassinger (bass) and Renae Buckley (drums).
Kelea also has four single releases - Evolution (2017), Dear Sir/Madam (2019) (WAM), Are You Ok? (2020) and Sand In My Pocket (2020).
Dear Sir/Madam was nominated for WAM's Song of the Year 2020 (Folk Category). A moving ballad about ageism and unemployment accompanied by a poignant music video, it has been uniquely identified as the only song of its kind in the world on this topic (Susan Flory, “The Big Middle” (US), Jan 2020) and was featured by leading international anti-ageism activist Ashton Applewhite (US) on her social media. Kelea was subsequently featured in high profile financial magazine Forbes.com (US) and was a finalist on US compilation album “Songs for Social Change” 2019 (RAWA). The video also aired at “Rooftop Movies” in Northbridge as part of WAMFest 2019.
Her third single release - Are You Ok? (Mar 2020), was nominated in the Act Belong Commit category for Song of the Year 2021 (WAM) and is a dedication to firefighters with proceeds going to those featured in the music video.
Her as yet unreleased Take My Hand was nominated in the Top 30 Ballads of the nationwide Australian Songwriting Association (2021).
Kelea has both degrees in Law & Commerce from the UWA, studied Jazz Vocals at WAAPA, Aural at the Victorian College of the Arts and Songwriting studies at NMIT. She is also a Music Facilitator for Catch Music - an all-ages, all-abilities, all-inclusive music organisation specialising in special needs and is an Arts Worker for DADAA Limited.
Kelea is a member of APRA, PPCA, AMRAP, Women of Music Production Perth, WAM, the Australian Songwriters Association, I Heart Songwriting Club and the Beaufort Street Songwriters Club. She has enjoyed radio play across Australia including 94.5fm (commercial radio), Triple M Wheatbelt, Voice of the Avon, RRRfm in Melbourne and has performed live on ABC Regional and RTRFM (Perth).
“You probably wouldn’t think the topic of age discrimination by employers would make much of a song. Well, sit back, relax and watch the poignant video of “Dear Sir/Madam” from Australian singer/songwriter Kelea. Get some tissues first. I was tipped off to the song by a Facebook post about it from anti-ageism activist..Ashton Applewhite. Then, I was so moved after watching the video, I needed to learn the backstory. So, I rang up Kelea — her real name - Kelly Gardner - in Perth and heard out.” - Richard Eisenberg (US)
“It’s a beautiful and and heartfelt song for the rejected masses that uses slide guitar motif and minor key changes to channel the feeling of dejection. Held together by Kelea’s crystal clear voice, this should be a successful application for a long career in music” - Andrew Thompson (WA)
— Around the Sound 7 November 2019