Born in Lawton, Oklahoma, Kelly Willis was the youngest of three children. Heavily influenced by her mother who sang in local musicals, Kelly was interested in music from a young age. During a high school she entered a pay recording booth and sang her own version of Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear." With the demo in hand, Kelly Willis impressed her then boyfriend, drummer Mas Palermo, and joined his rockabilly band at the age of 16. Kelly signed with MCA in 1990 and stayed with the label for four years. In 1996, she recorded an EP for A&M Records entitled "Fading Fast", however, her relationship with A&M was short-lived. After working with two major labels Kelly made the decision to record independently.
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