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Friday June 30, 2017

From The Star

Getting struck by lightning ‘best thing that ever happened’ to Kellylee Evans
By: Nick Krewen

Being struck by lightning and having your recovery exacerbated by a head injury may not qualify as a blessing to most, but Ottawa singer and songwriter Kellylee Evans considers these accidents a godsend.

“It’s the best thing that ever happened to me, every weird circumstance,” says the bubbly Evans, the Juno Award winner and single mother of three who is just getting her career back on track after four years of recovery.

Evans, who has released six albums and is almost a household name in France, said the subsequent journey that began with a freak lightning strike through the plumbing of her Ottawa kitchen has been a wake-up call and reset her priorities to be more family-oriented.

“I would have never seen how much my kids needed me if this had never happened,” she admitted during a recent rainy June day as she was being driven from Mississauga to Toronto following a rehearsal for upcoming shows in Ottawa (National Arts Centre, July 3), Montreal (Upstairs Jazz Bar, July 4) and Toronto (Hugh’s Room Live, July 21).

Before her June 2013 misfortune, Evans’ career was on an upswing. She had a label deal with Universal Music France and was traveling to the country “almost monthly” to perform SRO concerts. She had won a Juno Award in 2011 for Vocal Jazz Album for Nina, her tribute to Nina Simone. She was performing more regularly in Canada and had opened a few shows for George Benson. She had secured Ramon Hervey, Vanessa Williams’ ex, as her personal manager.

And although she suffered headaches, heart palpitations and was temporarily confined to a wheelchair as a result of the electricity that coursed through her body, Evans recovered sufficiently to record Come On, her 2015 “ post-modern romantic soul” album.

She never got the chance to tour it. The night before its release, Evans stood up too quickly after taking a bath, fainted and bonked her head on the tub, concussing herself and causing a relapse of the lightning strike symptoms.

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