Welcome! Please allow me to introduce myself…
My name is Kelly Walsh.
I have been immersed in music since I was but a wee lad. Born in the early 60’s, I remember singing songs by Elvis, Jim Croce, John Denver, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, and other soon-to-be-legends while I played in my front yard and found my way through childhood in a tumultuous time, heading into my teenage years (little did I know how funky things would get!)
In the 70’s, things got a lot more intense quickly and music often reflected that. I grew from 8 to 18 over the decade and wow did my world, and the world, change over those years. Those who lived it know that “the 60’s” as we think of it lasted well into the early 70’s. Vietnam, Woodstock, hippies, anti-war demonstrations, and other “youth movements” carried well past 1969 and strongly influenced music, radio, and pop culture into the following decade.
I remember vividly being scared that my older brothers might have to go to Vietnam and fight for a cause that I wasn’t too young to consider bullshit. Old men sending young men to die for a questionable cause. Hell no, we won’t go! “And it’s one, two, three, What are we fighting for ? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn, Next stop is Vietnam” – Country Joe and the Fish.
But I digress.
Before continuing, I feel I owe a note of gratitude here to my close friends as a kid – Frank and Phyllis Mastronardi. They were monster Led Zeppelin fans and from a very young age I was listening to Zeppelin as a latch-key kid while hanging out after school at their house. Phyllis also gave me an old beat up Les Paul guitar that became my first introduction to the instrument. But I had barely a clue what to do with it and the few strings it had left (and man was that thing heavy!).
By 1977, in my 15th year, music came into focus loud and clear. My older brother gave me a second-hand stereo. My first two records were Led Zeppelin II and Jethro Tull’s Bursting Out. I remember getting in trouble because I woke my Mom up while she was sleeping on the next room, while I was listening to those records on headphones (no wonder my hearing is a little trashed, not to mention the many concerts to come in the pursuing years…what’d you say sonny?)
Life would never be the same. Ian Anderson just blew my mind. How unique, amusing, and talented! And the lyrics, the stories, the images. The band was awesome and the songs were incredible and it just drew me in. I became a life-long fan then and there. I have often said that the music of Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull is woven into the very fabric of my being.
In that same year, I found “my crowd” in high school when I realized an old friend’s brother and some neighborhood pals had a band together and they were playing the music of Zeppelin, Tull, Yes, Kansas, Rush, Styx, and other musical heroes of the day. It didn’t take long for me to realize that these 16 and 17 year-old dudes were tackling some very complex and amazing songs! I became a bit of a prog rock snob (but thankfully I would outgrow that before too long).
Milestone moment: Moving on from the little kiddie “love you Mom” poems that comprised the totality of my writing in my younger years, I wrote my first real song lyrics when I was 16, funked out by a girlfriend who seemed to have dumped me. The first of so many songs to come.
I went off to college in 1980 and I used part of my first student loan to buy a guitar. I also took a music theory course. Things started to make a little more sense, but I still had a long road ahead of me.
Once I started trying to play guitar, it didn’t take long for me to rediscover and more fully appreciate the blues music that my brothers and my cousin Greg (rest in peace brother) were so immersed in. Once Stevie Ray Vaughn came along, I was totally sold and have never looked back.
Keeping the Dream Alive
Over the coming decades I wrote a lot of songs. I jammed with buddies, but never really did much in terms of live playing. But I never stopped playing, writing songs, and learning, even if it meant playing quietly in my basement while my kids slept. I was always “keeping the dream alive”! In the early 90’s I bought a Tascam 4 track deck and that began my exposure to recording my own music. Later in the 90’s, I gave Software Audio Workshop a try (SAW was one of the first Digital Audio Workstation packages, to my knowledge). I kept writing and mixing, but it was still really just a fun a hobby.
And the years rolled by…and became decades.
As I started to near 50, I decided to get more serious and began to work on a record. In 2014 I published my first EP, Keeping The Dream Alive, published via CD Baby (postscript: in 2022, I cancelled that arrangement after realizing that they owned all of the publishing rights, and that they were really not working as distributors any more). I was very pleased with the results, and set the goal of doing a full length LP by the age of 60.
While I would have enjoyed building a fan base, it is pretty hard to do when you are not a performer, and I was far too busy with my day job (and side hustles) to focus much energy on building a digital following.
Meanwhile, Back at the Batcave…
While I clearly had a passion for music throughout my life, I did not choose to be a professional musician, but I did pursue my life and my interests with the same passion that I bought to music. As a professional, after years of schooling I attained both a Bachelor Degree in Math & Computer Science and an MBA. I have been an information technology manager since 1987. I lived through the dawn of the PC, the Internet ‘revolution’, the move to mobile, and so on. I learned how to manage technology implementations, and became very familiar with many aspects of the operations of a successful business.
One particular side-hustle I pursued along the way was a blog I started in 2009 focused on emerging education technologies (EmergingEdTech.com), which was became very successful. This led to other undertakings and opportunities over the years, including: writing and publishing a couple books, developing and delivering a 4-week online training course focused on flipped learning that I delivered to hundreds of educators all across the world over a four-year period, writing for University Business magazine for several years, and teaching at The College of Westchester, where I work as CIO & CISO. As I have turned my attention to music over these last few years, I have been slowing down that work, but it helped to lay a foundation of knowledge that would prove very useful!
I was fortunate to get a good deal of media coverage over the years, recognizing my professional accomplishments. A series of Huffington Post “Top Social CIO” lists were a real highlight for me, along with inclusion on several “Top Higher Ed Tech Influencers” listings, and mention in numerous other respectable media sources. I was very grateful to receive a CIO Award from InfoTech in 2020, which was based on results from a survey of managers, leaders, and key personnel at the college, assessing the value and satisfaction they receive from my department’s support and project work (95% rating for Satisfaction and a 94% rating for Value). This was such an amazing form of recognition for my work in this role, coming from the people that myself and my staff serve (although my staff deserves this recognition far more than I do)! All of these experiences would lend themselves very well to the opportunity that eventually came up with TEAM (Transcend Entertainment And Music).
Transcendence…the road to TEAM and professional participation in the music industry
These last few years I have been enjoying an incredible musical renasissance. I am learning more than ever and producing music at a much higher level than I ever really though I could (check out all the awesome new music on my home page)! In late 2019, I joined Aaron Davison’s HowToLicenseYour Music Premium course offering in 2019 and soon connected with Gary Gray and the weekly Mastermind sessions he was running via Zoom during the pandemic, with musicians from all across the world. Around the same time, Gary started to consider establishing a start-up music sync licensing education company, working with some of the experienced professionals who were participating in these calls (many of these musicians came from a wide array of professional backgrounds and were willing to volunteer time to help get the ball rolling).
In 2021, we established TEAM and acquired new Artist Model. I am dedicated to the success of this endeavor, and I have worked my way from IT Director to Vice President of Production & Quality Control. We are working together to build a future in the industry and differentiate ourselves through a laser-like focus on quality (over quantity) and by making actual opportunities for sync licensing a unique aspect of the TEAM Assembly Line. I am honored to be working with my amazing TEAM colleagues!