Phat Lip: Bembona

As far back as she can remember, Colombian American singer-songwriter Kelly Jo Ramirez listened to Latin heroes like Joe Arroyo and Celia Cruz alongside pop greats like Prince and Paul Simon. This constant flow of cross-culture set the stage for Phat Lip long before it would ever see light.

Kelly Jo, a self-taught guitarist from the age of 12, spent much of her youth writing songs; it came as no surprise when she decided to pursue a musical career following high school. Her fan base in Greenville grew quickly after releasing her debut album and founding funk-rock band, the Kelly Jo Connect. After a five-year run, the KJC slowly fell quiet, leaving Kelly in search of a new creative outlet. She began using GarageBand to build demos and what seemed like a pastime, quickly developed into the beginnings of Phat Lip.

Phat Lip is Troy Jones (drums), Sam Kruer (bass), Matt Dingledine (lead guitar), Bert Brown (percussion), and Kelly Jo (rhythm guitar, vocals). Their 2019 release, “Coyote”, marked a new chapter in the band’s songwriting, tackling heavy political queries through the tale of a Latin American immigrant. Their live performance video gained acclaim from NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest.

In December of 2020, Phat Lip dropped their latest record entitled Bembona.

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