Kele Le Roc
Kele le Roc was born Kelly Biggs in Mother's hospital, Hackney, East London. Her Jamaican mother was a clothes designer and her England born father, a dancer and model. It was obvious from an early age that kelly had a penchant for all things musical. “My earliest memory” says Kele “was when i was about 3 I was watching a musical on the telly and the Nicholas brothers were tap dancing. I remember trying to copy them. From that day my mother decided to send me to dance school.
Kele loved dancing and had dreams of performing in the West end and on Broadway. Singing obviously went hand in hand with this, but at the age of 12 kele suffered a bad knee injury. This incident propelled kele into focusing more intently on her singing.
The first song she ever recorded was a cover version of “Rolls Royce” Its Over. Although it wasn't long before kele was writing and recording her own material. She found a musical home with production team “Best Kept Secret” it was the first time that kele had worked with producers that she felt understood her musically and where she wanted to go with her sound. It was also where she would get the name Le Roc. “My engineer Digital named me Le Roc. It was kind of after a prince song called rock hard in a funky place, when I would sing he would say you rock hard.... So when the time came for a stage name Le Roc seemed quite apt. There was No Mr Biggs or Biggy smalls yet so Kelly Biggs just didn't sound right at the time.” says kele.
The sound that they would create together led to the white label release of underground hit “let me know” and got the attention of major labels, At the time 16 year old Kele was continually on tour supporting US Artists like Total, Horace Brown and Mona Lisa whilst studying performing arts at Epping Forest College. The 2 main contenders were First Ave and Sony Records in Chicago. Sony records in London had referred her as they felt her American sound and look would be more suited to that market.
Kele decided not to go to Chicago and pressed on with her career in London with notorious music duo “First Ave.” Kele was signed to them in 1996 and Licensed to Polydor Records in 1997. Kele spent 3 months in Los Angeles co writing and recording her first album “Every Body's Somebody” working with the Likes of Rhett Lawrence, (Mariah,Monica Eternal) Harvey Mason jr,(Brandy,Chante Moore, Aaron Hall) and Robbie Neville. CooLio and the great late Roger Troutman also featured on her first compilation.
“L.A was amazing” says Kele “here i was a teenager from London driving around in a convertible mustang living in a hotel in Beverley hills and hanging out with people like Bruce Willis, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, Genuine and Hype Williams to name a few. I even met Rick james once at the traffic lights.”
Her first album was released in 1999 from which Ms Le Roc had 2 top ten singles and received an accolade of awards including 2 mobo's for best single “my love” and best newcomer. Sadly she parted company with Polydor due to creative differences but still remained at First Ave where she would fight to leave for a 3 years. Whilst First Ave had full belief in kele's abilities it was realised that they didn't know what direction to take her unique style in. “London is very contrived” says kele “especially for black music if they can't put you in a box and tick it they don't know what to do with you. At that time I wanted to make American sounding rnb but I'm also a big Prince fan and love his uniqueness so my style is a little quirky. First Ave didn't get me but wouldn't let me leave as they knew i was a star, so basically just left me on the shelf.”
In the meantime she found solace in working with other talented artists and exploring other genres of music. Artists like Courtney Pine, Danny Foster, Omar, Masters at work, Estelle, Todd Edwards, Delinquents, Fireworkz, Lemar, sticky, H money, Fundamental, Darren Martyn, Davinche, Shola Ama, Truth, Redrat, Done, ShyFx, JD aka da Dready, Fanatics, Agent X, Roni Size, Cassius Henry,Space cowboy, Damage and in 2001 released world wide smash “Romeo” with Basement jaxx.
“It's ridiculous but a few people were up in arms about me singing different genres, as far as I'm concerned God gave me a voice to sing he didn't give me limitations. I'm a soul singer and love all types of music, that i sing from my soul. ironically enough the garage remix of my love is my biggest hit to date and still regularly requested i always joke that song pays my bills” laughs kele.
When kele finally managed to negotiate and buy herself out of her deal in 2002 she then had the challenging task of A and R ing her new album project she also decided to add a few more strings to her bow and branched out into presenting and acting. Kele's skilful dance moves had a cult following on the channel four late night hit “bustamove” and she has starred in Mtv's Dubplate drama and indie films such as Rewind and Dirty Money 2. Kele is a residential showbiz presenter on INC tv and also Lived her original dream of starring in musicals touring the world as a principal in Spirit produced smash “i can't stop loving you” the life of Rays Charles. She runs and designs her own female club wear clothing Line “Funkin Bytch” and jewellery Line Glam Roc! Both available via mail order and in selected stores. These all seemed like natural progressions to kele as she saw it as just doing things that she enjoys already on a daily basis.
In may 2008 kele was selected amongst 8 other musically talented young individuals to go to Mali in west Africa to work on a music project called Routes to Roots. The project run by Biggafish was a unique platform to connect talented artists from England and Africa and to create an album, educational book for schools and a documentary series to be screened early next year on Mtv. Such experiences have allowed Kele to grow in many ways. She was once told you don't have to Live the lesson to learn it and whilst she appreciates that, kele would not change a thing in her life good or bad as it all has taken her to where she is right now and to a place where she is extremely happy. “I am so blessed” enthuses kele “it took a while, but I'm happy with the people i am creating my music with, i love my family especially my mum who is my hero and bought me up all by herself. I have wonderful friends and fans who are eagerly anticipating my new album penned Le Roc Music.
2015 and Kele is now Back in the studio with the infamous Basement jaxx and on tour. Also working with the house legend Roger Sanchez and new kids on the block Gorgon City. Fans of Kele's online cookery sessions can look forward to her cookery and entertainment show coming soon currently penned "What LeRoc is Cooking".
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