Passenger Profile: Charlotte Kelly

By Kenny Kerner
taxi member success kelly
This is a very special story about a very special young lady. With a tortured childhood—moving from one foster home to another, and "not being able to see like other children," Charlotte Kelly achieved incredible success. She overcame adversity and stands as an inspiration to us all. As we begin a brand new year, how refreshing to read something that can go a long way toward motivating each one of us.

Here's Charlotte's story:

You began writing and singing at the age of seven. Was this as a release for the sake of releasing your emotions from the childhood problems?

CK: Yes. Being passed from one foster home to another and not being able to see like other children, meant that feeling lost and confused were regular emotions for me as a child. So, crying became singing. I would lock myself away in the bedroom with a hairbrush as my microphone and sing my pain away.

You achieved an enormous amount of success at an early age. Did this lead you to believe you wanted music to be a career or were you just having fun with it?

CK: From an early age, I knew I was born to sing. Because of my eyesight, or lack of it, I felt that God had, instead, blessed me with the gift to sing and write songs. I'm not making excuses for my eyes, but I felt there wasn't much else I could do anyway. Not that I wanted to, as I was happy immersing myself in my music; it was my way of hiding from the outside world. Sometimes, I would stand looking in the mirror imagining I was on an American TV Chart Show and say: "Hi, this is Charlotte and you're watching 'America's Top Ten.'" So, before I even had any sort of success, I knew that I wanted music to be my career. I also have fun though, because I enjoy writing songs and I absolutely love singing to live audiences; although I can't really see them, but I can hear their appreciation and that makes it all worthwhile for me!

At what point did you actually figure out you could make money/a career in music?

CK: When I didn't make any! Because of my age and lack of wisdom, I had allowed myself to be ripped off by ridiculously long retention periods on my songs, co-writes with people I hadn't even met, whose names were added to the credits in exchange for a large cut, and managers who were paid largely for doing very little. Then I realized that all of this greedy behavior was fueled by money. As I didn't used to be business-minded, because I thought being creative was all that counts, I naturally trusted all of those around me and couldn't understand why they were making money and I wasn't! So, eventually, I finally plucked up the courage to escape from my shackles and start over. I found a new manager who truly believes in me and supports me 100%. Although I am quite generous by nature, this time I would also like to reap some of the rewards.

Simon Cowell is now a major star on American Idol. Can you please tell us the story of how you two were involved and how it ended?

CK: Simon had heard a few of my songs through my then-manager and after he had put most of them on hold, he requested a meeting at his BMG London office so he could see me and discuss an idea he had for a new TV show. I walked into his platinum disc filled room and saw him (what little I could see of him) sitting on his music biz throne surveying his realm. He then reprimanded me about this crazy notion I had had in a moment of weakness about not wanting to be an artist anymore and banged on about the passion and soul in my songs, saying: "If you've lived it, it must be real." Then he outlined his suggestion for the new show, which would effectively be a fly-on-the-wall documentary following me around virtually 24/7 watching my ups and downs of juggling daily life with trying to be a recording artist. I felt dizzy, but calm. Here was a man who believed in me and, to be honest, I was flattered by the complimentary things he said. However, I declined because I did not particularly wish to be yet another product of a reality TV show — I bare my soul in songs, I don't need to do it in real life. I must say here that, despite his reputation, Simon didn't have his usual sting-in-the-tongue attitude; he was a gentleman and charming throughout, and gave my confidence a much needed boost — after all, I'm only human. The lesson was clear though, there was no giving up, nor turning back now; patience will pay!

How did you first hear about TAXI?

CK: The good thing about being visually impaired is that we tend to have excellent hearing and I frequently heard my manager mention a company called TAXI who, he said, was the biggest independent A&R company in the world. He'd seen their full-page adverts in various magazines and so, eventually, I decided to head in their direction.

Why would someone with all the incredible success you achieved need a company like TAXI?

CK: My encounters with success have so far been brief and sporadic, due to the lack of control I exercised over my career. In this business you need all the help you can get and as I'm only interested in a record deal in America, we decided to investigate TAXI further. My manager was impressed by the information available on the Web site, the level of professionalism and also, the care and consideration shown toward its members. The listings really swung it though; they were exactly what I was looking for and so TAXI seemed the obvious way forward! Talent is only a part of the package, you also need a great team around you who can help point you in the right direction.

Are there any goals you have yet to achieve in the business?

CK: Apart from a few double or triple platinum-selling albums (only joking actually I'm probably not), I would like to collaborate with a couple of living legends like Rod Stewart and Babyface. Seriously though, there are many goals I have yet to achieve in this business and, like many, I would love to win a Grammy. Until then, I will settle for feeling inspired and trying to make great records.

How has TAXI helped you?

CK: Where else can you find this many legitimate contacts under one roof? TAXI has helped me by being a great vehicle to transport my songs directly into the hands of those who can deliver what I'm after. It cuts out one hell of a lot of hard work! Also, the many excellent and constructive critiques I've received from the TAXI listeners have proved invaluable and served to reassure me that I'm definitely on the right road!

What are you up to these days?

CK: Well, when I'm not visualizing a record deal, I draw on my experiences for inspiration and continue to write and record more songs while trying to stay peaceful and focused, and patient. I shall continue submitting songs to TAXI until I get the deal that's right for me!

Now that's a success story! And though she's only visualizing now, don't be surprised if in the not too distant future you see this TAXI member walking down the red carpet at the Grammys. For Charlotte Kelly, anything is possible!

See How TAXI Works

"I think I'm lucky that I've found out about TAXI so early in my career."
— Djamel,
TAXI Member

"I enjoyed and benefited from my TAXI membership for the last year, so I renewed for another."
— Robert Shulze,
TAXI Member

"I've gotten one solid offer from a record company/publisher . . . and two other songs of mine are on the desks of A&R executives at major labels. Quite simply, TAXI works!"
— Paul Schwartz,
TAXI Member

"TAXI not only helps me craft better songs, but it hones my people and business skills, as well. And that's worth a lot more than the price of admission."
— Zupe,
TAXI Member

"My only regret is that I didn't join TAXI years ago — but it's never too late to make up for lost time."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member

"I received a giant BMI check from TV airplay that I probably wouldn't have earned without TAXI."
— Julie Ann Bailey,
TAXI Member