Music Journeys: Kelly Vaughn

Jun 6, 2019

Kelly Vaughn is one of the many artists performing at this weekend’s Columbus Arts Festival.

The Columbus native loved music as a child, but her career took a different path until she reached her 40s. In this edition of Music Journeys, Vaughn explains how returning to music helped heal from a family tragedy.

Fall plays…

For Kelly Vaughn, the song Fall, one of her earliest compilations, represents the restoration of hope and the power of music. 

"It literally saved my life,” Vaughn said referring to music. “I was in the lowest of places. Having my guitar and eventually developing the ability to write and put things on paper, it really saved me. I never imagined it would be something I would do for my career."

The Passage plays…

Vaughn grew up in central Ohio with a fascination for the guitar, an instrument she taught herself to play in high school. Horse training would be her profession for the next two decades, with music serving as just a hobby. That all changed near the end of 2010. 

"I lost my mom pretty unexpectedly to cancer,” Vaughn recalled. “She was my best friend. We were really close, and I was definitely struggling with that loss. I reconnected with my guitar as a way to heal. About a year later after she'd been gone, these songs just came out. One of my songs Ordinary Girl, I affectionately call that my song that fell out of the sky. I literally feel like that’s how it happened. The words just started coming out of my mouth, and that’s kind of how it all started.”

Ordinary Girl plays...

Vaughn put five of those songs together for her first release in 2014. A few years later came the 10-track Life Goes On, which expanded her creativity.  

The In Between plays…

"I think my writing is evolving as my life is changing,” Vaughn said. “Initially I was writing about loss and my experiences around a loss. Now I'm more able to write about things I'm observing or things that are just hypothetical. For me it's about connecting with people. I really want to be able to connect and hopefully make them feel something.” 

Now 49, Vaughn feels good about her life and the direction of her music. She's also  working on a new collection of songs. Vaughn performs in Mansfield Friday night, at the Newark Pride Festival Saturday afternoon, and as part of the Columbus Arts Festival Sunday afternoon at 1:15 at the Bicentennial Park Stage.

Hear more from Kelly Vaughn including samples from a couple new songs she's working on in the Music Journeys podcast below. Thanks for listening. 

Podcast Rundown

000 - Introduction

1:24 - Kelly Vaughn extended feature

8:21 - Vaughn's Fast Five