Kaleia Brown grew up on the west side of Baltimore, Maryland. As young as Three years old, it was clear that singing came natural to her as she could sing songs on the radio in perfect pitch. Soon after, she’d join the children’s choir in church where her soulful voice was developed. During Kelli’s Middle and High School years, she continued developing her voice singing in the school’s choir. And on many occasions was chosen to sing lead. Influenced by the greats, Kelli honed her skills listening to R&B/Soul music. Studying the likes of Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin and Sylvester, she crafted a sound that paid homage to them yet was her very own.
In her late teens Miss Kelli, formerly known as Marty St. Michaels, began her transition and started performing in the DMV area. Wanting to do more than perform live, she began writing and recording demo’s with a friend. Those songs eventually landed into the hands of DJ Pope (Basement Boys, DJ Spen, Ultra Nate’). DJ Pope released the Sylvester remake ‘Sell My Soul’ on Shelter Records, a subsidiary of Rhythm Records. With Miss Kelli’s stellar vocal performance leading the track, the song was a big club hit in the US and Europe. A few more records followed including another Sylvester remake ‘I Need You’ in 1998. By Spring of 1997 Kelli co-wrote ‘Happy Song’ with House music producer Charles Dockens (Sheila Ford, James Howard) released by Groove On Records. With quite a few club hit records under her belt, Kelli began performing in clubs like the Sound Factory Bar, Paradox and the main stages at Gay Pride festivals across the country. In 2006, during Pride Festival in San Francisco, she was awarded the Sylvester Heritage Award, named after the legendary singer/pioneer.
Miss Kelli is a Baltimore legend who continues to shine. In 2015, she won Philadelphia’s Song Bird competition. For the past twenty years, she’s been an advocate for LGBTQ rights, speaking and performing at events across the country. Her 2019 CD ‘Transcendence’ garnered great reviews in the R&B and Dance world and has inspired DJ’s and producers from Italy, Africa, Spain and Brazil to remix songs from the CD. Miss Kelli goal is to open doors for other Trans-Artists to be taken seriously in mainstream music. With new music on the horizon, She’s excited to be a part of ushering in the new Era of Trans Entertainment.