“You never realize how much you could be accomplishing until you can’t move your arms.”
A native resident of Southern New Jersey, Kelsi Bolden is a Jazz Vibraphonist who maintains the unique ability to grasp the attention of any audience when she picks up her mallets.
Starting on the xylophone at the age of 12, Kelsi transitioned to the vibes at 13. Her exceptional talent, however, went unnoticed until she enrolled at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz. Within two years of attending the Clef Club, and at the age of 15, Berklee College of Music awarded Kelsi a full scholarship to their five-week summer program in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kelsi's next stop was the Jazz House Kids Summer Program, where she reconnected with friends from Berklee's Five-Week program who invited her to participate and tour with the Camden creative arts jazz collective.
Graduating from Camden Creative Arts in 2017, Kelsi received a full-ride scholarship to attend Oberlin Conservatory.
Life took a turn for Kelsi however, as she was soon diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease known as mixed-connective Tissue disorder making it difficult for her to function or play her instrument.
Battling this disease for three years, Kelsi’s musical career came to a halt, but though not playing her instrument for nearly three years, come 2020, Kelsi reached a more stable position. Quickly reapplying to school she was back to playing in months time.
In 2020, Kelsi was accepted into Manhattan School of Music and once again received a Full scholarship to attend Oberlin Conservatory.
Kelsi has just finished her first year at Oberlin Conservatory and is now working on her first album. She has partnered with the Thurman Foundation to establish the Afro Galaxy Network, a program designed to inspire young black girls to become jazz instrumentalists and to cultivate fully their talents.