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Her story is one that is not unlike many: aspiring songwriter dreams of someday debuting on stage to glory and fame. Then school, relationships and “real world” responsibilities would put it on hold. For years. For many, these pipe dreams would have stayed put in an old scrapbook pulled out on Friday nights. But for Kovach, aka KelMarie, it spawned a seconnd life and chance in the Sunshine State.

Most weekend nights you can find the Lilly, Pennsylvania native playing at one of many local establishments. And through the standard fare of cover songs, you’ll hear heartfelt original compositions. It is these original songs that inspired her to take the leap from nightlife patron to nightlife performer.
    “I started writing lyrics when I was 13”, she says. Dreams of hitting the big time like her heroes Jewel and Alanis Morissette fueled her ambition during high school and college years. It was after college that she got married. In fact, it was only years later when the marriage dissolved that she began to take performing seriously again. She began teaching herself guitar; a means to an end to be able to sing a couple of cover songs at open mics. Then came a “too good to be true” recording project in California that never materialized. Eventually she evolved into playing hour long sets and putting lyrics to music to perform her own songs.
    In just a short time frame of three years, KelMarie has already made a name for herself. She has made 5 trips to perform in Key West, although the travel involved for a single show is starting to take its toll. “If I could book a couple of shows together and go every other month, that would be better,” she states still grateful for the opportunities. Locally, you can find her at various eateries and bars including Jake’s Crab Shack in Melbourne Beach and Tailgaters Tavern in Rockledge. “I enjoy both kinds of places,” she says. “The restaurants have better hours and kids to entertain. I like that.”
    Entertaining is what she does. Admittingly working without a set list, Kovach prefers to winging it depending on venue and mood of the crowd. Covering artists such as Chris Isaak, Taylor Swift to top 40 hits, she’s found that venues are also open to her original songs and sometimes even request them. One venue, Darci’s Bacon Blues in Cape Canaveral, spotlighted her songs with a full night last month. “I was able to play 20 of my original songs, in chronological order”, she said. All of her songs have an emotional investment. Songs like “Empty Bottle” with lyrics; “Oh there’s an empty bottle to help you sleep tight/ but you don’t get to tuck me in at night” reflect her painful honesty in lost love. With the song “Circus” (The Circus is over darlin, cuz I need all or nothing) KelMarie’s straightforward but catchy hooks and melodies make you tap your toes and paint a picture.
    KelMarie’s website is also pretty straightforward and gives a pretty fulfilling profile of the artist. The audio section includes 8 original songs, lyrics included. The recordings are minimalistic; acoustic guitar and vocals except for the first two. One of those songs, “Be Prepared”, was recorded by Trebla Productions. “She came in last year to record it”, sound engineer Al Biele recalls. “She had it all laid out nicely and we worked together on the arrangements and melodies. I was super happy on how well it came out. Kelly is a great songwriter. She has passion for original music and the ability to write a song that others will want to hear.” And that’s all she really needs. The inclusion of the lyrics paints a picture of where she was at a time of her life when she wrote the song.
    Go back to last year at Lou’s Blues’ and Trebla’s Avid Original Music Competition. KelMarie was an added attraction to the finalists performing. I was one of the judges and remember her being a little shaky in the beginning of her set. But as the words came out, you could see and hear the confidence building; all the while wearing her musical influences on her sleeve. It would be months later, with the intent of writing this article, that I would see her perform again. I dropped by unannounced at her weekly Wednesday night slot at Off The Traxx in downtown Melbourne. I was in my day job clothes and incognito so she didn’t recognize me but did ask if I had any requests for her to play. I politely declined as to not blow my cover. After a stripped down version of U2’s “All I Want Is You”, she finished her set with two original songs, including “Couple Bad Moves and a Big Mistake.” This song is one of my favorites from this assignment. The lyrics don’t really let you in if the lost love is a mistake or not. Keep them guessing, I guess...
    KelMarie looks to release an EP sometime this summer. Full blown production on songs like “In The Cloud” (one of her own favorites) may be included in place of the softer acoustic/voice recordings. Although she performs either solo or as duo, a full band situation is always a possibility. Kovach has recently been added to the collective known as the SCHD Out Reach band. Members include rock legend Jack Starr and Georgia Randall, performing mainly at Space Coast Harley in Palm Bay. “They have been supportive of my career in original music,” she states. She’s also received a lot of support by Phil DeAngelo, owner of Jake’s Crab Shack and other venues, who put a “bug” in Brevard Live’s ears about her talent.
    No matter where or what song she is singing KelMarie is happy to be able to concentrate on her career. “I don’t have kids so I am able to commit to music right now”, she said. If the past couple of years are any indication, you’ll be hearing a lot from and about this lifelong “overnight” success.

Brevard Live Magazine
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Melbourne, Florida 32902

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