Kelly Marie was born Jacqueline McKinnon on October 16th, 1957 in Paisley, Renfrewshire. She began to train for a performing career at age ten: she began appearing in singing competitions
at age twelve and made her television debut at age fifteen. At age sixteen as Keli Brown she appeared on the televised talent show "Opportunity Knocks" winning four times with her rendition
of "I Don't Know How to Love Him." This led to her first recording contract with Pye Records. Marie's debut single "Who's That Lady With My Man" was released in April 1976. It reached #1 in
France and earned her a gold disc for sales in excess of 500,000 copies. The follow up "Help Me" was also a hit in France reaching #8. Also that year Marie was credited for her cameo vocal on
"Sister Mary" a #2 hit in Ireland for Joe Dolan. Her 1977 single "Run To Me" was a hit in the Netherlands (#22) and South Africa (#5) & in 1978 "Make Love To Me" gave Marie her most significant
success (to that point) in the English speaking world reaching #2 in South Africa and #5 in Australia: the track spent forty-one weeks in the Australian Top 40 and was ranked as the #12 hit of the
Vanguard Records optioned her version of "Run To Me" for 12" single release here in 1977. A competing version by Elaine Overholt on Henry Stone's T.K. Records effectively cancelled either
from becoming hits. Marie's Peter Yellowstone produced version is clearly the better of the two. In 1978 Vanguard took another chance and released "Make Love To Me," another
Marie-Yellowstone collaboration. Once again a competing version, this time by Helen Reddy, failed to allow Kelly to score a hit. In both cases Kelly can claim to have the original versions, if not
In 1979 Kelly and Yellowstone picked a Ray Dorset penned tune to record for her new label Calibre Records. Dorset who was a member of Mungo Jerry ("In The Summertime") had written the song several years earlier
specifically for Elvis Presley to record. But Presley died before it could be pitched to him. "Feels Like I'm In Love" was a bouncy, bubbly pop ditty. Kelly's shrieking vocals were definitely one of the hooks. The original 12"
single, which featured a long and short version, was on blood red vinyl which most people didn't even realize unless it was held up to the light. The original version got the ball rolling for Kelly's lagging career but wasn't
exactly the hit it would soon become.
By early 1980 the song had generated enough interest for Calibre to release an album, "Feels Like I'm In Love," for Britain's consumption. A second 12" single was released to help promote the album. "Loving Just For
Fun" shared the same synthesizer effects and background "ooohs" and "aaahs" as it's predecessor but it was more downtempo and an original penned composition. Back in America "Feels Like I'm In Love" had caught on in
major clubs. I remember spinning it as much as three or four times a night to a packed floor. Naturally the interest that the U.S. sparked in the song was cause enough for a remix. Calibre released a Fred Frank remix
backed with "Hot Love" as a double A-sided 12" single. Frank's remix was crisp and clean and played up the horn section. It featured an easy intro, a break and an easy outro for D.J.'s. The song had now stretched into a
two year ordeal. American record companies could no longer ignore Marie and the phenomenon that was "Feels Like I'm In Love." Roadshow Records, now a part of Coast To Coast Records, licensed the Marie recordings
for U.S. release. The "Feels Like I'm In Love" album was released domestically in the spring of 1981. Bobby "DJ" Guttadaro was brought in to overhaul the tracks. His remix of the title track was released on a 12" single. His
version was similar to Frank's with easy mixing features, however his version played up the synthesizer effects and he gave it a cold ending. Bobby's 12" also featured a remix of "New York At Night" which allowed Bobby
(and Lance Wise) to rap alongside Marie. A second domestic 12" single was released in late 1981 of "Loving Just For Fun" and "Take Me To Paradise." Both were remixed by Guttadaro to play up their rock elements but
failed to chart.
Meanwhile back at home in England, Marie and Calibre had moved on to new material. Her 1981 releases in England were "Head For The Stars," a great up tempo track with weak lyrics. Backed with "Love Trial,"
another lyrically bland inane number. Late that summer she had the chance to work with Biddu a successful artist in his own right and producer of Tina Charles' massive hits. He produced "Don't Stop Your Love" which
became Marie's second biggest hit in the U.S. up to that point. It was backed with her earlier recording of "Make Love To Me."
1982 would be her final year with Peter Yellowstone, the man who had guided her career for over five years. The final two 12" singles the duo released were "I Need Your Love" and "Love's Got A Hold On You."
Ironically these two tracks were amongst her best recordings ever. And despite a lack of American record company interest in Marie's career her import 12" singles kept finding their way to U.S. clubs. This made her name a
staple on most club play lists and earned her a spot in disco history.
Producer-less Marie toured heavily in 1982-1983. By 1984 she had found a producer for her next 12" single. Ian Anthony Stephens was on a red-hot roll in this era having struck gold with Hazell Dean and Paul Parker.
Stephens produced "Breakout" for Calibre Records. The song was exciting in that it took Kelly in a new fresh direction, gone was the bubblegum-ish sound of the Yellowstone recordings, replaced with a sleeker more
mature sounding Marie. But the success was short-lived as Stephens moved on to other projects.
Nearing the end of her longstanding contract with Calibre Records she connected with John Davies and Nigel Stock for her last Calibre 12" single, 1984's "I'm On Fire." The song was a high energy thriller with intricate
arrangements and a dark tone. It was another huge club hit. Stock and Davies were employed by Skratch Music and were having major success with their work on Passion Records. Naturally their next release with Marie,
1985's "Don't Let The Flame Die Out" was released on Passion Records. The song was a near replica of their first work with Marie and yet still became another hit for her. Two more 12" singles were released by Passion to
mixed reviews, "Are You Ready For Love" and "Burning" (Sapphire featuring Kelly Marie). Later that year the duo had trouble coming up with material for Marie and picked a disco classic for her to cover. Her version of
"Born To Be Alive" was sacrilegious, how can one top Patrick Hernandez' version? Thankfully she cut her ties with Stock and Davies after this fiasco. She had one final 12" single on Passion. 1986's "Hands Up" was produced
by John Springate. The latin tinged flavor thinly masked an attempt to recreate her success with "Feels Like I'm In Love." The song was not the Ottawan hit from the 1970's.
She took a break from recording around this time, when she met her husband and began a family which would extend to five daughters and one son. A PWL remix of "Feels Like I'm In Love" gave the song further
mileage and concluded her affiliation with Passion Records. She returned with 1988's "Stealing My Time" which paired Marie with Ian Levine. The song was picked up for the U.S. by Megatone Records but failed to pack
dance floors. A couple of duets with Tina Charles, "To Sir With Love" and "Your Disco Needs You" from 2002 received minor attention.
In May 2005, Marie appeared on the TV show, "Hit Me Baby One More Time," singing "Feels Like I'm In Love" and "Oops!... I Did It Again" in hopes of progressing to the final round to compete for a major label release
of a new single. The popular vote went to Chesney Hawkes and the ultimate winner was Shakin' Stevens. In 2007 "The Ultimate Collection" was released featuring all of her 12" classics. Since then Marie is content to be a
Mom and looks forward to releasing new material soon. To read more about Kelly and to watch for upcoming releases visit her own web site.