Amir Kelly is a master of existing in multiple worlds. Born to an Indian mother and a Black father, Amir embodies his mixed heritage through his fierce and tenacious nature. Moved by the enchanting melodies of Bollywood and the rich layers of 90s R&B, Amir has created a genre of his own that he calls as Blindian Pop. ‘This fusion proclaims his artistic purpose—one of authenticity and reclamation,’ he states, ready to take on the musical throne.
How did music find its way in your life?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. For career day in Kindergarten, I dressed up as a popstar, and my desire to create music grew continuously each year. Music has always been the only option for me. When I was in high school I heard about the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California, and knew that was where I was supposed to be. I was rejected from the program initially, and although I felt crushed, I attended Chapman University to study Opera. Although I made some really great friends, that community really didn’t foster my love for music, or help me grow as an artist. The summer after my first year at Chapman, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Burkitt’s Lymphoma. This experience changed my life drastically, as it showed me that tomorrow isn’t promised. After my treatment was over, I knew that my purpose in life had yet to be filled. I re-auditioned for the USC Pop Program, and was accepted the following year.
How did all of the above shape the musician in you?
During my younger years, I spent so much time absorbing music from both sides of my culture. I was surrounded by Bollywood movies, Aartis, 90’s R&B, and Classic Motown.
All these sounds together informed my taste and artistry. My time at Chapman gave me a lot of vocal techniques from the classical realm, that I was able to translate into my pop music. My desire to better perfect my craft and dig deeper as a musician was really inspired by my time at USC.
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June - October 2020