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When Kelli Johnson sings, people listen. Whether performing as the lead singer for the dynamic acoustic act Sweetwater Road, or as a solo artist, she commands attention. With a voice that radiates emotion and clarity, and a fervent and deep songwriting ability , her songs draw listeners in and hold them captive from start to finish.
Born in Calhoun County, Alabama, as the second youngest of five children, Kelli began singing at the age of 4. Surrounded by Southern Gospel and country music , Kelli quickly began picking out harmony parts, and began honing her writing skills, penning her first tune at 8 years of age.
She was part of the Bluegrass favorite Distant Cousins and wrote four of the songs on the 2004 release Somebody in Alabama Loves You."Their local show "Pickin and Singin" with the Cousinsâ was a regional favorite in Northeast Alabama, and ran for over 4 years on WJXS TV 24 out of Jacksonville, Al. Soon after, Kelli began producing and hosting her own show,'Kelli Johnson LIVE" in 2006, which showcased local artists and musicians.
In July 2007, she released her first solo album, Kelli Johnson, which included 8 of her original songs, and was co-produced by Bryan Carter . Her crowd favorite cut,"Somebody in Alabama Loves You" has been recorded by several artists, including Blue Circle Records recording artists The Bluegrass Soul Pickers on their cd "If I Ever Get Home" , and Bluegrass Recording artist Pam Thrower and Shine on her debut cdÂ So Blue,"and the upcoming album from Swiss recording artist Rick Harris.
Kelli has played and recorded with Distant Cousins, Chimney Peak, Sweetwater Road, and has shared the stage with acts such as Claire Lynch, Valeri Smith, IIIrd Time Out , and opened for Marty Raybon, Exile,Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Sugarland!
In 2009 she was the opening act for the First annual Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame Induction, where she later performed with Bluegrass Legends Three on a String, Gary Waldrop, Jake Landers, and the Whites.
She was a Top Four Â finalist on the tv show " Original Artist" hosted by ABC 33/40 and Herd Records out of Mobile, Alabama. After the contest she continued on at Herd Records as a songwriter and jingle writer. Several of her songs have appeared in regional and national tv commercials, and she was chosen to write "Brand New Day" for the 2010 Judge Roy Moore Gubernatorial campaign.
In 2011, she won the title of Alabama State Champion for the Texaco Country Showdown, the nation's largest and longest running talent contest.
Her gospel album- Johnson, Cone and Ryan, which features Alabama Bluegrass Hall of Fame Inductee Brad Ryan of Three on a String, and fellow Sweetwater Road vocalist Michelle Cone was released in February 2012.
Her 6 song acoustic album "Live from Dugger Mountain" is set to be released in the fall , and she is currently working on her second solo studio album, set to be released this fall. Her first single , "You Are my Everything" is available now on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Rhapsody.