Kelli Scarr was born in Monterey, CA and spent the first part of her childhood in the Salinas Valley, a part of California referred to by author John Steinbeck as the “pastures of heaven”. At the age of twelve, Kelli moved with her mom and brother to the small mining town of Folsom, California, made popular by its’ local prison and a very special concert held there in 1968. It was during her frequent drives between her parents’ homes in these two towns that she spent her time listening to the radio and soaking in the dusky skies that would later provide the colors for her music.
Her interest in music and recording grew early, starting at the age of three with her nana using a handheld cassette recorder to record her singing. Growing up amongst the soundtrack of her parent’s records and singing in the Lutheran church of her hometown, music quickly became an important part of Kelli Scarr’s life.
After high school she moved to Boston, Massachusetts to study voice at Berklee, and she soon joined the band Moonraker. Following college, Kelli, along with Moonraker, moved to Brooklyn, NY where they were thrown head first into the ever-expanding indie scene, opening for bands like the Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. After several years of touring and three albums, the band dissolved in 2005 and Kelli started to shift her musical focus more towards film scoring, composing the score for Matthew Nourse’s full-length feature, “The Pacific and Eddy” and Jeremiah Zagar’s documentary, “In a Dream” (HBO). Kelli soon found herself nominated for best original score for, “In A Dream” by the Cinema Eye Honors alongside fellow nominees Nick Cave and Danny Elfman. It was also during this time that Kelli joined Brooklyn-based alt indie group, Salt and Samovar. During an almost accidental bill sharing, Kelli was noticed by local NYC musician, Moby. After striking up a friendship, Kelli and Moby were soon working on music together with Kelli singing the title track of Moby’s haunting and introspective 2009 release, “Wait For Me” (Mute). Kelli also quickly joined Moby’s touring band for a world tour to support the critically acclaimed album. On top of singing and playing keyboards within Moby’s band, Kelli was also asked to open the shows, playing her own music in supporting slots for Moby and winning over crowds all over the world.
Amidst all of the transitions and touring, Kelli had begun recording songs on her own. She began simply by recording quiet piano songs at home in between working her hospital day job and in brief moments to herself during her three year old son’s naps. From what began as a simple process Kelli quickly found herself with a collection of recordings that spanned the world, two and a half years and included a diverse cast of musicians, engineers and producers. From sessions at home with amps in the corner of her bedroom, to sessions recorded in a secluded cabin in Canada, to Moby’s home studio in NY, her music soon expanded into the vision of the winter days and lush landscapes in which they were captured, resulting in a swelling, lo-fi dreamscape. The themes and inspiration for her music ranged from the once small gold rush town of Folsom, CA, now turned suburban sprawl, to the raising of a child and the wishes of a parent. For a majority of the record the songs acted as a therapeutic release and moment of reflection for the relationships in her life and the struggle to find peace within them. Along with these moments of self-release, her songs captured the images of her childhood and reflected everything from scenes of driving through California to the memories of her favorite childhood movies like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. After a long and exhausting two and a half year process Kelli had a record of mainly home recordings, which she named, “Piece”; a name she adopted early on with the advice of friend and filmmaker Matthew Nourse, to help her visualize the album as a “snapshot in time” within an otherwise hectic time.
In the end “Piece” reflected a large portion of Kelli’s life and those around her. From the sounds of her creaky upright piano and midnight acoustic recordings to the whimpers of her son waking up from a nap in the next room, “Piece” captured an extremely personal journey, providing a photo album’s worth of lush images. “Piece” will be released on July 27th, 2010 as the debut for indie start-up label, Silence breaks.