Kelly Cherelle Price (born April 3, 1973) is a seven-time Grammy-nominated American R&B singer–songwriter, formerly on the Def Soul label.
Price was born in Queens, New York, and began singing in church as a toddler. Her first professional engagement was with George Michael at Madison Square Garden in January 1992. During rehearsals for the Grammy Awards, Price was overheard singing in the rehearsal hall while everyone else was on a meal break by Mariah Carey, who was late. Price was later introduced to Carey’s husband, Sony Columbia’s then CEO Tommy Mottola. She made a name for herself as a backing and guest vocalist, appearing on a number of hit singles such as Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy”, The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems”, and Whitney Houston’s “Heartbreak Hotel”. She has sung background vocals for Faith Evans, Aretha Franklin, Brian McKnight, SWV and R. Kelly.
Price issued her debut album, Soul of a Woman, in 1998 on Island Records, which contained the hit single “Friend of Mine”. A remix of the song, also included on the album, features R. Kelly and Ronald Isley. In the remix, Isley takes on the fictional role of the singer-protagonist’s Godfather (“Mr. Biggs”), taking her husband (R. Kelly) to task for cheating on her with her best friend. The “Friend of Mine” LP version and the remix both charted as No. 1 hits on the U.S. R&B chart and made history by doing so with no music video to support the song.
She issued her second album, Mirror Mirror, in 2000 on the Def Soul imprint of Def Jam Records; Island and Def Jam had merged in 1999, with Price and labelmates Dru Hill being reassigned to Def Soul. Mirror Mirror featured the singles “You Should’ve Told Me” and the Grammy Award nominated “As We Lay”, a cover of Shirley Murdock’s 1986 hit. A remix of “Love Sets You Free” was issued a single in 2000, produced by Teddy Riley and starring a number of fellow R&B performers. Price was featured in the 2003 film, Bringing Down the House, performing a cover of the 1983 Rufus & Chaka Khan hit “Ain’t Nobody”. A Christmas album, One Family, was issued in 2001 which had a piano appearance from GospelJazz legend, Ben Tankard. Two years later, Price returned with her third regular studio album, Priceless.
In October 2005, Price recorded her first live gospel project. The This Is Who I Am album has been released on October 24, 2006 on her own label, EcclecticSounds Records. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Gospel Charts and peaked at No. 9 on the R&B album chart. Kelly Price was inducted as an honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority in July 2006. In early 2007, Price kicked off a tour with the ‘Sisters in the Spirit 2007’.
In 2006, she recorded the song “Why?” for the soundtrack Why Did I Get Married?, the film version of Why Did I Get Married? Priceless Secrets from The Soul of A Woman, in which Price created the role of Sheila alongside Tyler Perry who used the song titles and lyrical content of Price’s hit recordings to develop the story. In early 2009, she was featured on Coko’s gospel album entitled The Winner in Me on the track “Oh Mary”. In June 2010, Price promoted her single “Tired” on The Jazz Joy and Roy syndicated radio show as “some of the best work of my career to date.” The song was also featured in Tyler Perrys 2011 film Madea’s Big Happy Family. On February 9, 2012, in a pre-Grammy party to celebrate Price’s nominations, the singer sang “Jesus Loves Me” with Whitney Houston in what turned out to be Houston’s last public performance two days prior to her death. In September 2009, it was announced she would be joining Deborah Cox and Tamia to form the super group The Queen Project. The women seek to empower women of all ages, races and backgrounds by doing a number of community service projects.
As of early 2014, Price is working on new material for her follow-up album and is currently booked. In 2016, Kelly was included in multiple songs on rapper Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo. Kelly was a co-writer with American R&B singer K. Michelle, on her single Not a Little Bit which was released on January 22, 2016. It is the lead single from the singer’s third studio album, More Issues Than Vogue.
Listen to some of her songs below