Judah Kelly is having a real good time

Subscribe to Forte Magazine

Judah Kelly is having a real good time

Emerging from the nationwide success of winning the 2017 series of The Voice and the release of his debut album Count On Me, Judah Kelly had a realisation that his next step would be a crucial one. Freed of the bright lights and intense scrutiny, Judah knew that he had a chance to establish an even stronger musical identity for himself and lay the groundwork for a career playing the music he loves. Enter his new album, Real Good Time. We chat to Judah about the album, his shows and what’s next.
Hi Judah, thanks so much for taking the time to chat to Forte Magazine. How are you and what have you been up to recently?
I’m fantastic, thanks for asking! I haven’t been up to much, I mean other than releasing a new album and touring. Outside of that, just living life and enjoying my time.
Congratulations on the release of your album Real Good Time. While it’s still only early days, how’s it all going; how are you feeling about it all now that it’s out for all to hear?
You know it’s going pretty well. Talking to people it’s mostly good reviews, someone’s always not gonna like something but I’m really proud of the album and that’s probably the most important thing. I always have been and always will be my toughest critic.
After winning last year’s edition of the reality show favourite, you disappeared for a while to decide what kind of artist you wanted to be moving forward. How important was it to you at the time to take a break?
I always knew I wanted to be a country singer. I think it was just important to take a little time before getting back into it just so it didn’t confuse audiences. It’s weird, after all these years playing country I had to re establish myself as a country artist. On the show I had to sing songs that showcased my voice and for the most part I was singing pop songs so that’s what people excepted from me. That’s never what I wanted to do.
Can you fill us in on what you got up to over that time and what sparked the creation of the album?
I gigged. I toured through September last year and then mostly did corporate stuff. Nothing really sparked the idea, it was kinda just time. The first album had done its time and I was ready to get a real ‘me’ album out.
Was there something specific that happened that signaled to you that it was time to return?
Nothing really signalled that it was time. I just felt like I was ready to get music out and I was ready to start touring the new album. The first album just no life left in it so it was time for a new one to be born.
We’ve found your 13 track album to be very uplifting and inspiring, blending pop, country and soul. Can you tell us about your main influences for these songs?
Thank you. That’s exactly what I was aiming for. I don’t want music that’s just going to add to the void of crap and meaningless music. I want authentic music that makes ya feel something. Whether it’s excitement from a humorous song like ‘Real Good Time’ or something more meaningful like ‘Call It A Night’ or ‘Found’. I just picked songs that made me feel something while I listening to them, that’s all.
The sound and production of this album has clearly evolved and progressed from your debut album – were there any standout lessons you took from that first album experience and applied to this one?
Oh yeah! That’s the benefit of having time on our side. It really feels like a band went in together to a studio and recorded songs. It doesn’t sound like session guys that were hired to come in and read charts. Album 1 was 10 days. Album 2 was months. Months to find songs and weeks to record, mix and master and then a few more weeks just to let the songs breathe and that gave me time to really make sure these songs were the right ones.

You’ve been busy this year, touring with Adam Harvey and The McClymonts, along with your own headline shows coming up. How’s it all going so far?
It’s going great! I really love going out and playing shows and to do it with such cool people just makes the whole experience so much better. Playing my own shows is an absolute blast, it still blows my mind that people want to come out and listen to me sing.
With all these shows and as winner of The Voice last year, you clearly do know your way around the stage and how to connect with audiences. What’s the most important thing to you when you’re on stage?
The most important thing? Just be genuine. I make sure I play songs that I really want to play. Audiences always know when your hearts not really in it so I always make sure that I believe in the songs I’m playing. That and of course just having fun!
Did you take anything away from your time on The Voice that you can apply to your own headline shows?
Just to believe that I’m meant to be there. I still struggle a lot with whether or not I’ve made the right choice by getting on stage and singing. I realise that I’m good at it but it baffles me that people come out to listen to me. I’m working on that though.
Thanks so much for chatting to us. What comes next for you after these tours wrap up; where would you like your music to take you next?
Thanks for having me! Well, I want this music to take me where ever it’s meant to take me. I just want to be able to make people feel some sort of emotion while listening to me sing and if I can pay my bills from it along the way that definitely helps, and if it gets bigger than that, then that’s even better!
When & Where: Workers Club, Geelong – Friday October 26. You can get tickets here.