Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
10:46 pm EDT
Monday, May 23, 2022

Playing by heart


STORY: Aaron Klingerman

Kelly Jarrard was 13 when her father handed down his 1971 Martin acoustic guitar. She’s been in love ever since.

For 10 years, the Stockridge, Georgia, native has patiently been honing her craft. And with heart.

“Music is my passion,” Kelly said. “There’s nothing else that makes me happier.”

It’s easy to see why. Kelly comes from a family of musicians, has been performing for years and recently earned a music degree in vocal performance from Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia.

Now living in Mount Dora, Kelly plays mostly cover songs in local establishments around Central Florida, but the requests for her original songs are increasing, and rightfully so. She won her high school talent show performing an original number, “Weatherman,” which is still among her most requested songs. Citing influences such as Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Amy Winehouse, it’s no surprise that Kelly is all about soul. Outstanding vocal range, soulful lyrics and an infectious smile keep her fans as locked into her performances as she is.

The Ruby Street Grille in Tavares, one of her frequent gigs, is home to a wide range of local talent.

“This is becoming a hub for the local music scene, and we search long and hard to find the best talent,” said Ryan Veraghen, co-owner of the downtown restaurant. Ruby Street offers lakeside dining, and a viable “local alternative to Orlando and the theme parks.”

Kelly is among the best local talent in the area. However, with several original songs penned, a producer she’s excited to work with, and an upcoming trip to the recording mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, planned for her first studio record, she may not be only a “local” talent much longer.

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