While most people will be at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday night to hear the legendary Paul Simon, they will get an extra treat with opener Kelly Sweet. Sweet, whose voice graced the soundtrack to “Gladiator,” has a style that fits her name with her soft voice and light lyrics.
Much of Sweet’s musical passion and talent came from the nurturing environment of her parents – a jazz musician and an artist – who played music to her even before she was born. Sweet, who is classically trained, began her musical training as a toddler and now speaks and sings in four languages – English, French, Sanskrit and Italian.
Sweet, a self-described gypsy, moved to Utah with her mother at the age of seven, introducing her to new people and places, both of which gave her inspiration to write and perform. Since then, she and her mother traveled the country performing in a variety of venues and continuing to work on her craft.
Falling somewhere in between Norah Jones and Dido, Sweet’s music is soothing and romantic. Her new album, We Are One, has a large variety of songs ranging from the more personal “We Are One” to the playful “Raincoat,” is never boring.
It took some time for Sweet to create her first album and work her way up the music industry ladder and she has hopes to take her career even further with tours and possibly even dabbling in movies.
“When [I] told [him] that it took two years to make my debut record “We Are One”, because we recorded about 40 songs to find out who I wanted to be, Paul Simon turned to me and asked. ‘Who do you want to be?’ At which point I told him, ‘What I am,'” Sweet said.
After singing the national anthem at sporting events and playing in small venues, touring with Paul Simon is a bit different for Sweet, and she is thrilled to have the opportunity.
“It is truly an honor [to perform with Paul Simon]. His songs are voices for generations of people, and there are so many hearts his music has touched, mine included,” Sweet said. “[There are] such beautiful stories he weaves. It has inspired me immensely in my own writing.”
Kelly Sweet and Paul Simon will be performing at 7 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday.