Count Josh Kelley a fan of Napster. The Augusta, GA, native was writing songs on the side as a student at the University of Mississippi, and in a happy Internet accident, some Napstered MP3s of his work made their way to an A&R rep for Hollywood Records.
Kelley eventually signed with the label, and his debut album, For the Ride Home, appeared in June 2003. It took awhile for it to build up steam, but eventually listeners starting responding to Kelley’s affable, John Mayer-ish sound.
“Amazing” did well as a single, landing on the soundtrack to the Kate Hudson romantic comedy Raising Helen and setting up a February 2004 re-release of For the Ride Home that included a bonus disc with acoustic performances and two unreleased songs. Kelley returned in August 2005 with Almost Honest. It featured the single “Only You,” which he co-wrote with pop hitmakers the Matrix. Just Say the Word followed in 2006. – Johnny Loftus