Roberta Kelly
for a cause of women

DIsco/soul/gospel singer from New Mexico

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Like many other young aspiring artists, Roberta Kelly went to Germany in the early 70s where the artistic environment was blossoming at the time. She became a personal friend of fellow American Donna Summer in 1974 and was introduced to her producers Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder who recorded the single "Kung Fu's Back Again" with her, very reminiscent of Carl Douglas' contemporary hit Kung Fu Fighting.

Next she worked with three other singers for producers Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay late 1974/early 1975 on their project Silver Convention. When "Fly, Robin, Fly" later became a German hit single and also hit the #1 spot on Billboard, Roberta was devastated to see the assembled Silver Convention line-up of Penny McLean, Ramona Wulf and Linda G. Thompson miming to her vocals, even picking up a Grammy for the record.

Meanwhile, Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder kept faith in Roberta and recorded the single "Love Power". In January 1976, they recorded four more songs with her (Roberta recorded the vocals in just one day!) and released Roberta's debut LP Trouble Maker the next month with the title track as her new single. Although it couldn't match the success Donna Summer was enjoying with "Love To Love You Baby", it was a Top 10 hit in Italy and France, selling more than 100,000 copies.

In 1977, the second album Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte present: Roberta Kelly - Zodiac Lady was released, a concept album with the single "Zodiacs" giving the singer a big disco hit.

Her 1978 album, Gettin' The Spirit, was co-produced by Giorgio Moroder and Bob Esty and had been recorded simultaneously with Donna Summer's current Once Upon A Time album. The album played non-stop on both sides, fusing Moroder's unique disco sound with gospel. Side 1 contained three cover versions, Edwin Hawkins's "Oh Happy Day" and "To My Father's House", and George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord". Side 2 contained three original recordings. The album wasn't a commercial success, yet PolyGram released it on CD in 1989 for the gospel market. In 1978, Roberta also recorded a tribute single for the new pope, "John Paul The Second".

Parting from Casablanca Records and Moroder, Roberta released her fourth album Roots Can Be Anywhere late 1980, produced by Michael Holm. The album was no longer an international release. Fusing ethnic styles and pop, it was a commercial flop.

She teamed with Moroder's sound engineer Jürgen Koppers for the more conventional pop album Tell Me and the single "Patty Cake". While commercial success eluded her once again, she retired from the limelight to work as a personal secretary for Donna Summer in the mid-80s.

Ten years later, she suddenly re-appeared with the gospel album Sound Of Color, recorded in Germany.
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  • Bellerose, New York, United States