Kelly Lee Owens: Lady In Red

Landing the cover of NME, getting Michael Sheen to star in the music video for Corner Of My Sky – all after a deep dive into the world of spiritual and physical healing; welcome to the world of Kelly Lee Owens, the Welsh techno/dream-pop sensation rapidly catching on as one of the most exciting names in British music. And with her excellent sophomore record Inner Song now out, Headliner grabbed a covid-safe conversation with the singer-songwriter, producer, DJ and bonafide star.

Having been locked down in London, Owens is feeling a little homesick, and her plans to pop home and see family have been scarpered by Wales imposing a local lockdown.

“I was just going to nip up to see my family and check in with your grandparents,” she says. “Help out a bit, and also just feel connected to nature again. I feel very blessed that I can go home and be in the forests next to my mum's house. It's a place I can sort of disconnect from everything and reconnect to myself. But alas everything is quite unpredictable these days.”

I remind Owens what an exciting time it is for her – she’s recently been the cover star of British music bastion NME, she’s featured in an advert for Corona (the beer, not the other thing) on a Welsh beach, and of course, there’s the appearance of Michael Sheen in her latest music video.

She notes that “it sounds pretty good when you say them all in a row! [laughs] I feel very blessed. It feels like a combination of all the hard work and slog and all that stuff kind of coming together. And with NME, my 16-year-old self was just thrilled to be recognised in that sense, and getting a five-star review as well!”

You don’t get anywhere in life without being a bit cheeky!

The Michael Sheen connection began in that place where people recognised in their fields often meet – that place being Twitter, of course.

“He followed me on Twitter,” Owens explains. “And I thought, ‘cool!’ I kind of forgot to follow him back, I think I was in a studio or something. About a month later I thought ‘I should really follow Michael Sheen back and say hi!’ And so we started talking and connecting, and I sent him the album in advance. And he loved it and said he’d be willing to help if he could.

“I just said ‘well, there is something you could maybe do’. John (Cale, the Velvet Underground star who provides vocals for Corner Of My Sky) was supposed to be in the video, but because of the circumstances, he couldn't fly over from L.A. So I just asked him if he’d do it, and asked him to say if I was being cheeky. He replied, ‘you don’t get anywhere in life without being a bit cheeky!”

And with that, the star of Frost/Nixon, Twilight: New Moon, Tron: Legacy and many other fantastic films would star in the brilliant short that you really should spend six minutes watching. It mostly centres around Sheen in a kitchen, having an existential crisis as each time he puts bread in his toaster, the device pops up with no toast to be seen. There’s also a very striking moment where the video switches to the beach (with Sheen also being Welsh, it’s all shot in Wales, of course), with Owens in an elegant red dress.