Behind the Lyrics: The Inspiration behind a Local Musician
Photo provided by Kellen Pomeranz
Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement from a trusted teacher to recognize our full potential. At 11 years old, Kellen Pomeranz was taking guitar lessons when her teacher suggested she start writing her own songs. Three or so years later, the same teacher brought her to Group Effort, a recording studio in Kentucky.
“We recorded my first song, ‘Shades of Grey.’ I shadowed the engineer, that’s how I learned about production, arrangement and putting records together,” recalls Pomeranz. “From then on I was hooked. I got Garage Band after that, which is an intro recording software and I started making my own demos – it just kind of evolved from there.”
After graduating from Cincinnati Country Day School in 2007, Pomeranz went on to Northwestern University where she graduated from the Bienen School of Music with a degree in music technology. Throughout high school and college, she continued to perfect her craft.
Pomeranz got her first big break in December 2014 when viewers across the United States tuned in for the finale of NBC’s “The Voice.” Finalist Chris Jamison from team Adam Levine sang “Velvet” a song co-written by Pomeranz.
“We wrote ‘Velvet’ for an R&B artist, but he didn’t end up taking it so it was just sitting in our catalog. Our manager was working with ‘The Voice’ at the time and Adam Levine’s artist needed a song last minute – it was the Thursday before the show and they pulled it,” says Pomeranz. “I typically write more pop music – that was the funny thing about ‘Velvet’ – it was a step outside of my usual box writing R&B, but it was really fun. It turned out really well, so I’m actually starting to write more R&B now.”
Twelve million viewers tuned in to watch the finale. As a result the song “Velvet” rose to No. 3 on iTunes and has been viewed almost one million times on YouTube.
“Velvet” has since opened a number of doors for Pomeranz, including an opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to work with Jamison. In addition, she has had the opportunity to meet with popular songwriters and producers. As she continues to build her career, Pomeranz is looking forward to the release of “Neon Girl,” a song she recently wrote.
“Pay attention to lyrics – it’s something I always put a lot of thought into even when I’m working with another writer or producer – it’s really what I love about music,” says Pomeranz. “I know the melody is the first thing that sticks with people but I always appreciate and notice really good lyrics – I think it’s what takes a song over the top.”