Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Jackie "O" Kelley

Jackie "O" Kelley has sung in churches around town and internationally.

She and her sisters penned and recorded "Ode to Fresno" in 1996, and it became Fresno's official song.

Yet until now, she never has released her own CD. Kelley, or Jackie "O" if you prefer, is releasing her new gospel CD, "All About You," at a concert tonight at Cornerstone Church, 1545 Fulton St. It starts at 7 p.m. and is free.

Kelley, 53, has been singing in churches for years. She was minister of music for the Worship Center in Fowler, Worth of Faith Church in Fresno and at Cornerstone, where she spent eight years.

We talked to her about the CD, tonight's concert and that middle initial of hers.

What took so long for you to put out a CD? I don't know. I've always poured myself into other people's ministries. That was always first. Everything I wanted to do, I put on the back burner. Just recently, I stepped down from a position at church, and I started pursuing everything I always wanted to do. Now is just the time. I'm ready.

Give us a summary of what to expect from the CD. It's a collage of different styles. It's contemporary gospel music. They can expect a little bit of reggae here or Caribbean there. A little bit of R&B. It's just a good mixture of music of different styles. It's nine songs. Just expect to be really touched.

Where can people buy it? Go to my Web site,, or they can call (559) 255-4200 and order it. We should be in Berean Christian Store and Majesty Bible & Gifts very soon.

What do you have planned for the show? We have three guests who are coming on first. Masada, a big band from out of San Jose, they have a Tower of Power sound. Then there's Jon Shabaglian, who is a local artist here. And also Shabach; they're local artists from Cornerstone. And then I'll come out with the songs that are on the CD. It's a celebration and an appreciation.

Is the Jackie "O" thing a stage name or your real name? Jackie "O" is my stage name. The O came from my maiden name, which is O'Neil.

Do people still remember your "Ode to Fresno?" Some people do. I wish it could have been out there a little bit more. I'd like to bring it back to life again. It's a good song. It talks about how we're the valley that feeds the world. It speaks so much about Fresno. It's a very positive song. I think it would make people want to live here.

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Know a local musician more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,