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By Touch The Road
Raised in the inspirational hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica, Kelissa developed a natural inclination for
music, largely influenced by a Rastafari and reggae upbringing. With parents as lead vocalists in the original reggae band ‘Chakula,’ creation and appreciation of music were constant features in her home.
Kelissa sojourned with her music to Africa where, during extended periods in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana, she had multiple opportunities to broaden her musical scope. During her time in Africa, she expanded her musical abilities by teaching herself the guitar, collaborating with several musicians and producers, and performing on multiple occasions.
Kelissa also spent extended periods in California, USA where her college curriculum was heavily involved with music. She was an avid member of several music ensembles and gained significant exposure on music production and studio recording. As co-founder of the Black Arts and Cultural Dance (BACD) group on campus, Kelissa created a platform that facilitated her on-going interaction with different audiences and talented young performers from across the world. Kelissa’s unique background and rich international experiences have influenced her music by coloring it with diverse sounds, insightful messages and captivating performances.
Kelissa currently resides in Jamaica and continues to make music her central purpose. Since returning to Jamaica, ‘Anbessa Music’ teamed up with ‘Zinc Fence Records’ to produce her first Extended Play (EP) project ‘Rebel In Disguise,’ which was first released during her tour of Africa. In August 2012, Kelissa returned to Africa with two filmmakers as part of the ‘50 Days in Afrika’ initiative. The Trio travelled to 6 countries (Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia & Kenya) to document the thriving arts industries on the continent. The tour featured multiple performances by Kelissa in each country, reinforcing her musical foundation in Africa and harnessing cultural exchange. Kelissa was the first Jamaican to perform at the annual ‘Felabration’ festival in Nigeria and shot her first music video for the tour’s theme song ‘Afrika.’ This experience provided her with many performance and production opportunities that enhanced her exposure in Africa and added to her musical inventory.
Since then, Kelissa’s music has made significant impact locally and internationally. She has featured on several major concerts in Jamaica such as Rebel Salute, Sumfest and Redemption Live, and since 2013, she hosts an annual show called Kelissa Live. Kelissa also served as one of the musical ambassadors for the Bob Marley 71st birthday celebrations. These opportunities have enhanced her local following and have enriched her artistry.
Her performance experience has also extended to the international stage where she has had multiple opportunities to share her music. Kelissa has featured on several shows across the United States, and the United Kingdom. She also recently participated in a tour across Europe, performing on 22 shows in multiple cities alongside Chronixx, Dre Island and Zincfence Redemption. She recently returned to the United States with Chronixx and her brother Keznamdi to perform in numerous cities across the West Coast, and anticipates further local and international appearances. Kelissa is currently working on exciting new projects by her own label Anbessa Music, and other musical collaborations.
Her newest single ‘Best Kept Secret’ has set the tone for her upcoming project, blazing the airwaves with sweet vocals and hard hitting instrumentation. Kelissa’s soulful, rootsy and world beat music continues to provide a reservoir of her life experiences that is driven by her passion to uplift and
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