A Musical Life: Drew Kelly

Nov 11, 2016

Drew Kelly is a Wichita-based singer songwriter who, here, recounts how a major illness transformed his musical experience. 

“A year ago, I had surgery on my back and I got an infection in my back: The L5-S1 vertebrae, the two lowest in my body. The nerve bundle was being compressed so bad that I was basically shorting out. I couldn’t do anything. I was swelling from the inside out and the outside in. It was bad.

I was in Wesley hospital for six weeks but I had my guitar with me.

Pat Audley, up at The Artichoke, had come to the hospital to see me. I decided that I was going to go up [to The Artichoke] and do the songwriter competition. I was so grateful to go there and to have that opportunity and for it to build into what it’s become.

I’m kind of living my dream. It’s pretty darn Spartan, don’t get me wrong. If you’re expecting to pay your bills with your guitar, that’s a long road. But it is possible and I’m managing to make it right now. I get to wake up every day and do what I want to do. What I love to do. To me, that’s everything, especially having gone through sickness and being through those moments where I wasn’t sure that I was going to be alive tomorrow. It makes you appreciate getting up and living every moment doing what you want to do.”