WASHINGTON, April 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Cayman Kelly celebrated his 19th anniversary in the satellite radio business by looking back on his long and fascinating career. Working his way up from humble minimum wage beginnings, through the infancy of satellite radio, to finally emerge as one of the most memorable founding voices on SiriusXM®, Kelly’s warm sound and genuine charm helped pioneer the modern digital-radio age.
“Thinking back, I realize I began work at XM the week after my first child was born, 19 years ago, which is how I remember the exact date in February,” said Kelly. “But I had actually started in satellite radio before that, back in 2001, providing third-party content for XM Satellite Radio. Those days were a bit chaotic, to say the least, and I can remember some of my colleagues making fun of me for even doing satellite radio. Because very few believed in the technology at the time. They thought I was crazy for even trying it. But I got hired as a Music Director at XM directly, right after my daughter was born. Everything was so different from my previous radio experiences and it almost felt like it was the promised land for a creative like myself!
“One of my first assignments upon accepting my position was to make one-on-one contact with artists, record companies, agents, you name it. All to build up my network, step by step. I was working the phone and sending emails every day. Some of the people that I was able to connect with have become some of my good friends, after all these years! Satellite radio started relatively small but grew quickly. I can remember when XM Radio hit the milestone of 1 million subscribers. To see what it has grown into now is absolutely incredible. And the merger with Sirius is when things really increased – satellite radio had fantastic, cutting-edge equipment and we were able to do things beyond imagination. So, two powerhouses in American satellite radio joined forces and there was no stopping us after that. The early doubters never saw the technology being able to survive and yet it has stood the test of time and continues to grow.
“As I worked on ‘Heart & Soul’ through the satellite venue, I have been able to perfect my craft and hone in on my interviewing skills. I’ve had the opportunity to interview many artists that I grew up listening to on the radio – groundbreakers who have won major awards. I’ve also witnessed newcomers break into the industry and do some big things! I remember we had this one young lady, Andra Day, and we were the first ones to ever play her song on the radio. Her song, “Rise Up” became a global success. She would later portray Billy Holiday in a movie that made her an Oscar nominated, Golden Globe winning actress! I met Jennifer Hudson when she first got started after American Idol – and now she’s an Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy winner, and now has her own Daytime Talk Show, “The Jennifer Hudson Show.” She and I are both Virgos and we had great chemistry from our first meeting. I consider her to be a personal friend and we still talk when we get a chance. It gives me great joy to see good people come up and find their purpose!
“Another series of interviews that changed my life involves Patti LaBelle. Someone told me – I think it was her assistant – ‘You know, Patti is listening to you.’ And I was like, ‘No, are you serious, man?!’ because she’s a legend and I grew up listening to her. And sure enough, it was true! I met Patti and she told me she listens to me just about every day. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with her several times throughout the years but one of my prize moments was being able to take my mother, who is a huge Patti fan, to one of Patti’s concerts and taking her backstage to meet her! It’s still surreal to me that an icon like her even knows my name! – she’s smart, funny, real, and just a great person.
“Then I received a call the other day that Smokey Robinson requested me to interview him. I said, ‘Me? Smokey knows who I am?’ I was floored that I again was in the company of a living legend! I immediately called my dad and told him, knowing he is a huge Smokey fan, and invited him to accompany me to the studio. Then it happened…I met Smokey in the green room. He walked up to me, gave me the biggest hug ever and told me that he listens to my show every day! He said, ‘I love the questions that you ask every day on the show,’ which truly showed me that he does listen. I told him that he had just validated my entire career and that I was so honored. My dad also had an opportunity to converse with him, which brought me so much joy to witness and really illustrates the power of music and how it transcends generations of people! My dad and I both were on cloud 9!”
“These are the sorts of unbelievable encounters that working for SiriusXM® has brought to my life. There are so many amazing stories and interactions that I can talk about! Sometimes I just want to pinch myself to be sure that this is real. But being real is the key. I don’t trip off all those numbers and marketing research, etc. – it’s the people I’m talking to, and the people who are listening that are really important to me. But that’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years. Whether you are talking to a major star, someone in authority, strangers, or your best friend – people appreciate authenticity. So just be real.”
A true satellite-radio OG, Kelly continues to keep it real, serving as the imaging voice for some of the most successful sports brands in the world. Kelly continues to capture radio audiences with his smooth signature sound and genuinely warm charisma as he plans to share stories with luminaries of sports, stage, screen, and music for years to come.
Read about Kelly’s career journey and rise to fame in the #1 Bestselling Amazon memoir, “From $6 an Hour to a Million Dollar Dream.” And for the latest news on Kelly’s voice appearances, ESPN show announcements, and other projects, follow Cayman Kelly on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Robin Steinfeld, Buchwald Talent Agent
SOURCE Cayman Kelly