A talented voice

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bria Kelly to visit Suffolk Center

On “The Voice,” the anxious performers do their thing, then face the judges. The judges face away, turning their chairs around to illustrate their approval.

THE VOICE -- "Blind Auditions" Episode 601 -- Pictured: Bria Kelly -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

THE VOICE — “Blind Auditions” Episode 601 — Pictured: Bria Kelly — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Then the judges — Adam Levine, Usher and Blake Shelton — campaign like anxious politicians for the honor of representing the candidate.

One night, a pretty girl from Smithfield, Va., started chirping and, after only a handful of notes, the judging trio turned their chairs on 19-year-old Bria Kelly — a sign of eager approval.

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The next step was for Levine, Shelton, and Usher to campaign for the chance to mentor the ultra-talented Virginia Commonwealth University student. The winning candidate was Usher.

“He campaigned hard to get me on his team,” said Kelly, a finalist who defeated about 1,000 others just to get that far. After she was announced as the winner, her parents, Jan and Bill were pictured backstage in ecstatic pride for their young’un, an only child.

She is sharing her talent with the world, and her next gig is Saturday at the Suffolk Center For Cultural Arts, where she will display a strong voice and a lovely personality.

Most stories of this type veer away from a list of facts and figures. This story is an exception, because her story is exceptional.

At age 11, Bria Kelly won the Philadelphia Eagles national anthem competition. She performed the national anthem for 45,000 Eagles and Jets fans at an NFL football game in Philadelphia, and she sang it at the Country Music Association Music Fest in 2010. She won Altavista’s 2000 Country Showdown contest, and was a finalist in the West Virginia state finals.

But it doesn’t stop there. Kelly was a semi-finalist on season 7 of “America’s Got Talent,” possibly making her the only performer to become a winner on both high-rated shows.

That’s heady stuff, but it doesn’t go to her head. Learning about graphic designing has gone into her head. The former Smithfield High School honor student is studying that subject at VCU.

“I want something on the back burner,” Kelly said, during a phone interview.

Currently, the front burner is keeping her occupied.

She is comfortable with her success, and impresses with the relaxed way she handles interviews.

And Kelly is comfortable with most types of music — opera and old-time country are out — but she prefers today’s country and pop. She is especially fond of Bonnie Raitt.

Kelly also writes songs and plays guitar, a talent she got from Dad.

“I gave up when she surpassed me,” Bob Kelly said.

Vocally, she is following in Mom’s footsteps. Momma Jan won several high school competitions.

Kelly has her own band, cleverly named “The Bria Kelly Band.” The drummer is the boyfriend of one of her girlfriends. The rest of the crew — honestly — came from Craig’slist.

If you want a pre-concert listen to this talented youngster, you can find it on her website and on You Tube. The videos are impressive, some of them profiting worthy causes. One of them is a clever item featuring her animals, “Do Goodin’ Son Of A ….”

“I’m filming the next one myself and doing my own editing,” she said. “I enjoy all this artistic stuff.”

“I don’t care about the fame,” she added. “I just like getting out there and singing, and making people happy.”

For tickets and information about Saturday’s show, visit www.suffolkcenter.org.