Kelly Khumalo is a South African singer and actress who rose to fame during the Cruz gospel concert in 2003, where she wowed crowds with the gospel song U Jesu’ phakeme (Jesus is Almighty).
Kelly grew up in the rural outskirts of Nquthu in KwaZulu-Natal. In 2003, she was discovered by Sarah and Bonsai Shongwe when she performed at a Gospel Star search.
Her first performance as a professional artist was in front of a 30,000 strong crowd at a Kaizer Chiefs soccer match. Hardly two months into the music industry she was the opening act for American Rap star Missy Elliot.
Kelly’s debut album, TKO was released in August 2005 to much acclaim with the hit song Qinisela. The album was nominated twice at the South African Music Awards (SAMA) and she was the only female artist nominated in the Song of the Year category. The song was her biggest hit and remained on national radio charts for five months.
Kelly Khumalo’s second album Itshitshi was released at the end of 2006. The album was also nominated for a SAMA, as well as her third album, titled Lobola.
Kelly’s fourth album, titled Simply Kelly showed a more mature artist who was growing in her craft. The album featured American songstress Syleena Johnson.
She completed recording her fifth album in 2012 titled The Past, The Present, The Future, produced by the prolific RJ Benjamin, as well as multi-talented Kabomo and producers Robbie Malinga and Mojalefa Thebe.
The album features the legendary Sibongile Khumalo, and Kelly has done duets with her producers Robbie Malinga and RJ Benjamin.
Kelly’s first television acting role was on the SABC1 drama series Mtunzini.com. Then, when the youth soapie Rhythm City started on e.tv in 2007, she was chosen to play Sunay, the role of a singer, which was very close to her own persona as a singer. She returned to the show in June 2012.The song was her biggest hit and remained on national radio charts for five months.
Kelly also features in one of the Mzansi Love dramas that aired on e.tv in August 2012.
Also in 2012 she starred in the second season of the e.tv docu-reality series Rolling With…, which documents her life as she tries to reclaim her crown as the queen of South African popular music.
In 2015 she was one of the three featured celebrities on the e.tv reality series Reality Check, in which she – along with iFani and Chomee – had to do good deeds for charity.
The song was her biggest hit, and it spent five months on the national radio charts.