Raised in the inspirational hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica, Kelissa developed a natural inclination for music, largely influenced by a Rastafari and reggae upbringing. With parents as lead vocalists and instrumentalists in the original reggae band ‘Chakula,’ creation and appreciation of music were constant features in her home. Endowed with the natural rhythm of Jamaica, Kelissa’s soundscape has also taken on the characteristics of the various spaces she has inhabited throughout her life.

Her diverse upbringing has colored her music with bits and pieces of her living and traveling experiences that come together seamlessly to create a beautiful tapestry of sound.

Kelissa sojourned with her music to Africa where, during extended periods in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana, she had multiple opportunities to expand her perspective and broaden her musical scope. Kelissa climbed to the peak of Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, which inspired the name for her upcoming debut album “Kelimanjaro,” she visited the historic Lalibela church where music is used as a central part of service and ritual in Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, and collaborated with a variety of musicians and producers on the ground. Her engagement in traditional culture juxtaposed with modern day Africa provided a broad spectrum of life experience and musical context.

Kelissa attended the University of Ghana for a year where she studied the complex rhythms of traditional drumming and xylophone, and was also a student of their renowned dance program.
A few years later Kelissa joined two Jamaican filmmakers as part of the
‘50 Days in Afrika’ initiative for her first tour. The Trio travelled to 6 countries (Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia & Kenya) to document the thriving arts industries on the continent. The tour featured multiple performances by Kelissa in each country, reinforcing her musical foundation in Africa and harnessing cultural exchange. She was the first Jamaican to perform at the annual ‘Felabration’ festival in Nigeria and shot her first music video for the tour’s theme song ‘Afrika.’ Kelissa’s time in the different regions of the continent served as a solid foundation for her professional career in music.

Kelissa also spent extended periods in California, where her self-designed college curriculum was heavily involved with music and the arts. She was an avid member of several music ensembles and gained significant exposure on music production and studio recording. It was during this time that Kelissa launched her own record label and lifestyle brand called ‘Anbessa’ (meaning lion in the Ethiopian language Amharic). The label continues to be the main source of her music productions including her first Extended Play (EP), ‘Rebel in Disguise’ and her most recent project ‘Spellbound.’ The concepts and designs that she initially developed for ‘Anbessa’ are now a full-fledged line available for sale at shows and on her website. Kelissa Music merchandise are all original designs created by Kelissa as part of the Anbessa brand.

Kelissa’s music has made significant impact on the local scene in Jamaica, and on the international stage. She has featured on several major concerts such as Rebel Salute and Sumfest, and since 2013, hosts her own annual concert called Kelissa Live at her home venue, Skyline Levels. She served as one of the musical ambassadors for the Bob Marley 71st anniversary celebrations, and performed on the acclaimed ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ cruise. Kelissa has also had the unique opportunity of featuring on several extensive tours with one of Jamaica’s most treasured young artistes, Chronixx. She has performed in numerous cities across the Unites States, Canada, Europe and United Kingdom, showcasing her powerful vocals and vibrant performance. She recently completed an acoustic tour in New York called ‘Spellbound Sessions’ where she performed in more intimate spaces with her guitar, including the apple store in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Kelissa’s versatile music and exceptional writing skills caught the attention of Vogue magazine as an artist to watch from Jamaica. Kelissa’s music is blazing the international airwaves with her sweet vocals and hard-hitting instrumentation. Her soulful, rootsy and worldly sound continues to provide a reservoir of her life experiences that is driven by her passion to uplift and inspire others.