John Keller Bio
In the ever-changing music business, where styles come and go almost daily, one thing remains constant: the need for a good song. John Keller has spent a lifetime in pursuit of that elusive commodity. In the words of Danny Strick, co-president of Sony Music Publishing, “John Keller happens to be one of those rare composers whose music is always original and at the same time very commercial.”
From Berlin and Gershwin to Lennon & McCartney, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Randy Newman, and Van Morrison, John’s influences are wide ranging. From Rock, R&B, Folk and Country, to Classical and Jazz, his songs add up to an eclectic blend of many styles, and defy easy categorization.
Musically, his songs are both sophisticated and earthy, combining stirring melodies and memorable chord changes. His lyrics are often revealing first-person narratives, displaying an emotional honesty and openness.
As a child, John was surrounded by music of all kinds. He began playing guitar at the age of 7, and later studied classical guitar and piano at 14. He continued his studies at California State University at Northridge. His mother taught classical piano, and his older brother, Dan, introduced him to R&B and Rock ‘N’ Roll.
John recalls, “The first record I remember hearing was ‘Yakety Yak’ by the Coasters. It remains one of my favorite records. Artists like the Coasters, Ray Charles, James Brown and many others formed the soundtrack to my early years. I soaked it all up, and to this day the music I originally heard continues to inspire the music I write. As I got a little older I began to discover Classical music and Jazz, and gradually my music reflected a broader range of styles.” He adds, “I’ve always drawn inspiration from the rich musical traditions of the past. Unconciously, I keep faith with those traditions.”
In addition to writing and producing his own songs, Keller produces the work of talented newcomers and veteran artists alike. In 1999 John produced Tonio K.’s Yugoslavia, and in 2005 he produced “Outta Here” by Kim Fox. In 2012 he produced an EP for the band, Everett Coast, and in March 2014, he produced an album for Lady Lazarus.
Since 1980 he has been a staff songwriter for Warner-Chappell, Almo-Irving, Geffen, BMG and Sony Songs. John’s songs have been recorded by a wide variety of artists including Rickie Lee Jones, Aaron Neville, Al Green, Etta James, and Wynonna. With long-time collaborator, Tonio K., he wrote the hit song, “Love Is,” performed by Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight.
Keller has collaborated with numerous other songwriters, including Will Jennings, Gerry Goffin, David Baerwald, David Was, Kim Fox, Danny Wilde, Shelly Peiken, Bonnie Hayes and many others.
2015 has seen Keller complete Young Man’s World, an album of his own songs, as well as produce singer-songwriters including Ben Wellington, Taylor Rae Vencill, Brittany Anderson, Lady Lazarus, Anna Ranoso, Aaron Brown, Erinn Selkis, Cynthia Ford, Gina Brockway, and Jon Udell.
When not in the studio, John teaches a songwriting class and workshop at The Songwriting School Of Los Angeles.
For further information, contact johnkellermusic.com.