A fusion of smooth melodic jazz, sprinkled with a soulful element, and mixed with electric, finger snapping, foot-stomping funk, is what you get when you let Gifted Keys pour through your speakers or captivate you from the stage.
Keya “Gifted Keys” Trammell launched her career in 2016. The South Suburban Illinois native grew up singing in the church choir and writing poetry, but she never considered pursuing a music career. It wasn’t until she posted a video on Facebook of her singing the cover of Erykah Badu's “On & On” that she realized her calling. That video went viral, garnering over 1.3 million views in a week, and she received an overwhelming amount of support and admiration. Not long after the singer went viral, she released her first EP, The Unknown Agenda, which can be found on all musical platforms: Apple Music/Itunes, Spotify, Google Play, Tidal or Youtube.
What captivated viewers was her bald head. At the age of 2, Keya was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Alopecia Totalis, a complete loss of scalp hair, occurring either all at once, or within a short time. It wasn’t just the large audience she attracted that led her to launch the career, but the message that resonated with viewers through the simple decision to wear a wig or go wigless that day. Growing up, Keya often dealt with mental and emotional abuse from other children because of her lack of hair. The one aspect of life that she believed made her feel whole was music.
"I never considered taking the leap of faith of becoming an artist, but after I did the video people started commenting or emailing me saying that I made them feel confident. It was then that I was like okay, I need to get into this music thing. I realized that I should take on the responsibility of being an artist who makes herself vulnerable by showing her truth. Interestingly, I run into people who say, “I’m so sorry you have Alopecia.” My response is, “Alopecia has been a blessing to me.” Well now it is at least. It was a curse in my mind as a young girl who couldn't get the hairstyles she wanted."
In September 2017, Keya met 4-yr-old, Zion Glass, who enticed the “curse” mindset she had as a young girl. While performing for a community fest in Kankakee, IL, she spotted Zion in the crowd whos hairless head also beamed from the sun. She was introduced to Zion and was led to a teary-eyed heartfelt moment. She saw herself in Zion as well Zion seeing herself in Keya. Little Zion also has Alopecia. Keya decided to share the moment on her Instagram (@keyatrammell) and it went viral overnight.
By the next week, Keya & Zion’s story reached Good Morning America News, Yahoo News, Aol News, and ABC 7’s Television Show, Windy City Live. Keya was honored the title, “4 Star Chicagoan”, from Windy City Live and desires to spread awareness of Alopecia not only through Chicago but to the rest of the world through her music, fashion, confidence, words of encouragement, and most importantly, love. Keya has performed all throughout the City of Chicago: City Winery, House of Blues, Untitled Supper Club, WGN TV just to name a few hot spots.
In September 2018, she gave tribute to Alopecia Awareness Month singing The National Anthem at Chicago Jazz Festival in Grant Park (Ramsey Lewis’s last performance).
Within recent time, Keya has been nominated “Best Female Vocalist” for the Chicago Music Awards. She has also constructed a team-up event with the White Sox & the National Alopecia Areata Foundation on September 27th, 2019 to bring awareness and donation to the cause and more profound research on Alopecia. She also plans to release new music by the end of 2019.
“LISTEN TO YOUR CONSCIENCE. IF YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE GOING RIGHT, BUT YOUR CONSCIENCE IS SAYING GO LEFT, LISTEN TO THAT. FOR ME, GOD IS MY CONSCIENCE, SO I LISTEN TO THAT. TRUST IN YOURSELF. TRUST IN YOUR GUT. THE THINGS THAT WE’RE GREAT AT, I FEEL THAT THOSE ARE OUR GIFTS.”