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Kelly Hansen

The Bumpy Road Of Musical Beginnings


In this episode

Welcome to another episode of In Search of Excellence! My guest today is Kelly Hansen, the lead singer of the legendary rock band Foreigner, which has had five platinum records and sold more than 80 million albums.

He was also a lead singer of the heavy metal band Hurricane, popular in the 80s. Kelly is a great musician with an amazing life story.

00:00 Kelly’s Family and Growing Up

- A vivid picture from his childhood of his parents carrying albums under their arms
- Mom had a GTO convertible
- At school, he sang in the school choir – a part of the curriculum
- Discovered that he can sing almost accidentally
- Didn’t know how to use his voice, took some singing lessons
- Realized he could do that as his job

09:55 The Beginnings of Kelly’s Singing Career

- The first gig was at teen dance night
- He was a part of a cover band
- Later, they played at high school dances
- Ended up playing all over Southern California
- Played a military base in Yuma, Arizona
- Music requires a lot of sacrifices and hard work
- The band Hurricane
- Parents were supportive

18:00 After High School

- Left the high school band
- Had his own bands - Kelly Hansen band, The Last Tango
- Played around LA
- His father was his manager
- Also started doing sessions
- Played in a couple of cover bands
- Played 5-6 days a week
- Tried to connect to the audience
- Played with Ross Bolton, a great guitarist
- The Guitar Institute of Technology - GIT

23:39 The Rise and Success of Hurricane

- Met the drummer of the band
- Later on, met bassist Tony Cavazo and guitarist Robert Sarzo
- Started making music together
- Found a new drummer - Jay Shelton
- That's when they really became Hurricane
- Did some demos with the producer called Kevin Beamish
- Mixed them themselves
- Sent them around to record labels
- Made an EP with the producer Max Norman
- The record label noticed them
- Went on a tour
- Went on the road
- Made their second record
- The third record
- Continued doing shows and making songs
- Doug Aldrich came to the band
- Enigma records
- Doing shows on the road, trying to sell records
- Canceling the rest of the tour

41:48 Becoming a Foreigner’s Lead Singer

- In the early 90s, a new style of music was coming in
- Tackled the other aspects of the recording business that he loved
- Album production started to slowly sank down as technology advanced
- Realized he had to go back to what he does best - being the lead singer
- Foreigner was trying to get back together
- Set up a meeting with Tom Gimbel of Foreigner
- Back and forth conversation with management of Foreigner
- Received 5 Foreigner tracks - the original recordings, but without any vocals
- Mick Jones got to hear that CD in New York
- Kelly was one of the first ones to jam with the guys
- He got into the band
- Printed lyrics of songs and was memorizing 24/7

Sandee | Bliss: Beaches

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