“My experience in Japan caused me to see life, God, and the world differently,” reflected singer-songwriter Keeley Reed. “I wanted to share God’s love with the people there. I saw how music broke down cultural and faith walls, and spoke to people’s hearts even if it was in a different language. I came home knowing that I wanted my next music project to contain songs that clearly reflected God’s love and the message of Christ so that I could share these truths with the people of Japan who I cared so much about.” This experience sparked a conversation with producer, Keith Everette Smith, and shortly after, Keeley’s most recent project, “Let a Little Light Out,” began to take shape.
Keeley is a Southern California red-head through and through. When you meet Keeley, you realize that she’s something special. Authentic, bubbly, and creative, you can tell she is at the beginning of something exciting and unique. Keeley’s recognizable and captivating voice draws you in… into something relatable and honest. She sings about real life, real hope. It is the heart behind her music that speaks the loudest.
“When the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, I remember seeing news footage on TV and having a strong desire to go and help the people there and help with the relief effort in any way I could. I didn’t know what that all looked like, or how I could even afford to take a trip there, but I knew the desire was not placed on my heart by coincidence.”
In 2012, Keeley’s heart and an opportunity lined up. She joined a missions trip to Japan through her church, and she came back changed. Inspired by her time spent in Japan, Keeley came home knowing that she wanted her next music project to reflect the truths that were placed on her heart to share with the people there.
When asked about her experience in Japan, Keeley remembers her first trip vividly. “While our team was in Japan, I fell in love with the culture, the people, and being a sushi lover, of course I fell in love with the fresh sushi at the Tokyo Fish Market! I was able to sing and share music at a church we visited, and I realized that the people there connected so deeply to music. It was a powerful way to connect with the people we met in Japan.”
Carrying this vision of using music as an opportunity to reach the people of Japan, Keeley’s excitement for recording a new EP continued to grow. It wasn’t long before Keeley found herself flying to Nashville to record the songs for Let A Little Light Out. “The songs that I chose for the EP are songs that express honest, real life emotions and how God is always so present in all of that. I fully believe in the truths that these songs share, and I want people to see and experience the hope of God through them. My desire is for these songs to encourage, inspire, and comfort people no matter where they are on their journey and walk with God.”
When listening to the album, there is no doubt that these songs come from a place of transformation, hope, purpose, and surrender. Let a Little Light Out opens with “North Star”, a song written during a season of transition and change. It is a reminder that God remains the same, even when the things in our life are chaotic and changing all around us. The song expresses the truth that God is unchanging, and it highlights the importance of keeping our eyes fixed on Him because He is our constant help and He will guide us.
The title track, “Let a Little Light Out” is as catchy as it is inspiring. Written by All Sons & Daughters’ Leslie Jordan, Andrew Fromm, and producer Keith Everette Smith, this synth-driven song is a fresh reminder that God has created each of us with joy and uniqueness that is meant to shine bright! In speaking on why this song was written, Keeley says, “It motivates me to want to be the woman God created me to be, and to use the gifts He has given me to inspire and encourage people.”
“Why” is an honest expression of the truth that God never abandons us even in our fear, doubt, and deepest pain. The song speaks to life’s disappointments and difficulties. Even through pain, heartache, and questions we have like “why?”, God is still there and wants us to turn to Him in our times of trouble.
When asked about “Beautiful Surrender”, Keeley opens up about the heart behind it. “It is a heartfelt and passionate song about trusting God, surrendering to His plan, and believing in His faithfulness. I wrote it as a prayer…a desire to walk forward in faith, trusting that a painful situation that I was going through was in God’s hands. Life is beautiful, but it is also difficult. Instead of running away from pain we experience, we can run to God with it and surrender it all to Him because He wants to care for us on our journey.”
After recording the EP, Let A Little Light Out, Keeley’s heart for Japan and her journey as a musician have continued to grow. In 2013, she returned to Japan for her second missions trip to Tokyo. “I was inspired by my first trip to Japan and decided to pull together a team of some of my best friends to go back and minister specifically through music as a band. We spent our time there sharing the love of God with people while playing music on the streets, in churches, and in concert venues.”
It is clear that God has woven a common thread throughout Keeley’s story, and that is opening up opportunities for Keeley to use music to for a greater purpose. Her passion for songwriting, combined with her authenticity and love for people and God, has continued to reach people in a way that is truly unique. With relatable writing and her soulfully sweet sound, Keeley has captured the truths that she longs to see used to encourage, inspire, and comfort people in their own journey.