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What's New?
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2020 NAPPA Award Winner - Kelli Welli

  2020 National Parenting Products Award Winner recognition for top quality in the Children's Music industry
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West Coast Songwriters Song Contest Winner 2020 Kelli Welli

  Winner 2020 West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest - Children's Category for "Little Ray of Sunshine" and Honorable Mention for "Cooking Up Some Happiness"
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2019 ISC Winner - Kelli Caldwell - Kelli Welli

  So thankful to be one of the Top 15 - 2019 Winners in the International Songwriting Competition in the Children's Category for "Little Ray of Sunshine"
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PDX Parent Picks 2020 Best Kindie Musician - Kelli Welli   Kelli Welli - Voted TOP 5 Kindie Performers in 2020 by PDX Parent Magazine
West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest Winner Childrens - Kelli Welli   Winner 2019 West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest - Children's Category for "Turtlurtlurtle" and Honorable Mention for "La Lullaby"
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2019 SongDoor Song Contest Honorable Mentions - Kelli Caldwell - Best Pop Song   2019 SongDoor International Songwriting Competition - Honorable Mentions for "Little Ray of Sunshine" and "Baby, Baby, Baby" for Best Pop Song
Barn Banter Podcast
Barn Banter - Ep 28 - Split Personalities interview with Kelli Welli: "Kelli Welli continues our series of Split Personalities, performers who pursue both music for kids/children and also, separately, perform for older or “adult” crowds. A mother of young twins, Kelli balances home/work life really well and has some powerful perspective on being courageous, brave, Portland, and why it is critical to feel free to pursue your creative muse. Also a story about what happens when kid’s get an accidental listen to a song with, well… harsher language! Kelli shares a couple of her tunes with us to bookend the conversation."
Xray FM World of Noise
XRAY.FM's World of Noise podcast
Hilltown Families logo
HFVS Holidays Around the World Episode
with Guest DJs, Katherine Dines & James Coffey
You Are What You Eat Episode with Guest DJ, Eric Herman
PDX Parent Summer Roadtrip Playlist
"Free Songs from Your Favorite PDX Kindie Musicians" - PDX Parent Magazine
Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl  

Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl


Jan 7, 2017

July 27, 2019

Playtime Playlist logo
PDX Parent logo
Free Coloring Sheets and Song from Local Musician Kelli Welli - PDX Parent Magazine


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Praise from Kiddos
"I like it." - Maya, age 3
“We like Kelli. We LOVE her music! And we also like... her songs. They’re loveable. And funny. And... she’s a girl. And... anything else? Not to my knowledge.” - Reagan, age 5, speaking for herself and little sister, Bennett
"I just like the songs. They're fun to dance to!" - Gabby, age 4
"I like Kelli's voice in the froggy song!" - Elliot, age 7
"The music makes me feel happy and I smile when I hear it." - Ely, age 7
"This is a perfect song." - Caleb, age 5 (of Twas in the Moon of Wintertime)
"Those are actually actually great songs and you can really tell what she is talking about. Like in Turtlurtlurtle you can tell she is talking about a turtle." - Brooksley, age 7
"Good times singing with my friends." - Ariya, age 7
"It has words that kids can understand and it feels like special songs just for kids that are awesome and fun. I love to listen when I am working, because it makes it so much fun." - Tamaya, age 9
"I want to dance!" - Ava, age 9
"Springtime Dance is so fun! Counting along a walk. I can almost smell the fresh rain." - Elizabeth B., age 10
"I like the Turtlurtlurtle song. I can imagine walking through the Oregon Zoo and meeting the animals." - AndyLeigh B., age 10
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Praise from Grownups
"Kelli Welli is a Portland kindie treasure! I've had the privilege of performing live with Kelli and Tim and getting to know them as friends. Their new album Let's Go Pistachio perfectly captures their warmth and sense of humor as artists, performers and humans. I love the clean country-folk-rock production, the interplay of acoustic instruments, Kelli's unique voice, and the hilarious, sweet subjects of the songs. In spirit and sound, this album reminds me of the classic children's records from the '70s and '80s that so enchanted my generation. Make a spot next to your Raffi, Sharon, Lois & Bram, Marlo Thomas and Joe Scruggs for this new classic by Kelli Welli!" - Red Yarn
"Ooh La La Too Doo Na Na Oop Bop Oop Bop Ribbit... certainly the most fun album title I've gotten this year!" Sagan, Radio Active Kids
"You make a good monkey. Congratulations on a fun, heartfelt album. 'You make me feel like the future's filled with love and hope and laughter...' wonderful line. Among so many others." - Dave Kinnion, award-winning children's musician
"That song just made me smile! :) And we all need a little more of that in our lives." - James Coffey, award-winning children's musician, about "Little Ray of Sunshine"
"One of our favorite children's songwriters, singers, and performers in Portland. Kelli's tunes are silly, fun and absolutely so creative your kiddo will be dancing and laughing to the beat!" - Theressa's Reading Rainbow
"Hilarious and superbly talented! Incredible albums!" - Jessa Campbell & the Saplings
"They had the kids -- and adults too! -- singing and dancing!" - Green Bean Books
"The MOST fun dog mama and twin mama I know! Always full of smiles, hope, dance and song!" - Hoot-n-Annie Boutique
"This music is some of the best kids music I have ever heard. It is catchy, the lyrics are creative and amusing and the messages are about love, happiness, animals, and adventure. Kelli is an incredibly talented and gifted musician bringing so much joy to kids AND their parents." Alison D, mom to three kiddos
"I've cried twice now when listening to 'I'm in Love with You.' Such lovely songs!" - Tess, mom to twins
"Music I can actually listen to over and over and over..." - Megan R., mom to three kiddos
"This wonderful woman is fun and funny and all things creative!" - Tina D., mom to 4 kiddos
Kelli's music is "perfect for the car ride, for playtime or winding down before bed!"
"Fun and popular local performer... Her music is great for toddlers on up!"
"Singing, dancing, and spreading something that is very contagious... JOY!"
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Press Photos to Download

Click to download

Kelli Welli Album Cover Ooh La La Too Doo Na Na Oop Bop Oop Bop Ribbit   New Compilation Album Cover: "Ooh La La Too Doo Na Na Oop Bop Oop Bop Ribbit" by Kelli Welli

Pro photos by Crystal Petit Photography
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Kelli Welli   Kelli Welli
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Kelli Welli   Kelli Welli
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Kelli Welli   Kelli Welli performance
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Kelli Welli performance   Kelli Welli performance
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Kelli Welli performance    
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Writing for Kids...

Current focus: Children's picture books... more to come.


artist statement


I know now that my writing reflects a complicated relationship and history with my own voice. It took me a long time to be comfortable with my speaking voice. Because of my naturally high pitch, and perhaps for being the smallest kid in the room, I was constantly censured and poked for “talking baby talk.” This lasted well into my young adulthood. When telemarketers would call, they’d ask if my parents were home, and I’d have to say, “No. Not anymore. I’m 32.” When I had landed a phone interview for an internship with Harper’s Magazine, my grad-school professor said, “Wonderful. Now, if we could only do something about your voice…”

I didn’t grow up in a religious home, but when I was young I wanted to try out church— until I showed up and everyone was singing. Already self-conscious about my voice, I was very intimidated. I didn’t know this was a prerequisite for getting nearer to God. I felt unworthy and left longing. I didn’t know the first thing about singing.

But I could write. I mean, I could go there, to that place, the page or that space in my mind. There it was just me and the words and details, where I had time and freedom to be big and loud and strong and say anything I wanted. That was where I could just be myself. That was where my voice could be judged not by pitch but by my ideas and the words I chose to express them.

Then one day on a road trip, a boyfriend said, “Hey, let’s write a song!” I laughed. Pshaw! But then I opened my mouth and out flowed words and a melody—just like that. I was as surprised as he was. It wasn’t a hit song—“Yuck, Albany Smells”—but it was a start. And it was a long journey from there before I would share anything with anyone else.


It was through songwriting, though—usually alone in my car, writing and rewriting, singing each line over and over, having to get past the discomfort of hearing that voice, my voice, that had never been good enough, because I was so driven to finish and find out what stories would unfold in each song—that is where I finally came to accept and, eventually, believe in my own voice.

I’ve realized that as part of this journey, I have always been in tune with, almost collecting, voices. I am attracted to and remember voices. Most of my stories and songs are written in other people’s voices. They matter to me. I hear them and see them. I love receiving inspiration as a first sentence or stanza comes to me, then finding out the story behind the voice.

I endeavor to share my stories and songs, these products of my journey. I hope other people enjoy them, of course. But I am having fun, regardless, in the pages, in the melodies and rhythms, with each word and detail, my friends.

I know now I am a songwriter, a storyteller, a believer. I am voice worthy.

kelli welli show preschool

Contact hello [@]
to book a school or library show, private event, or birthday party...
kelli welli show preschool

kelli welli show

BIRTHDAY PARTIES: Our birthday parties generally include...
• 45-60 min show
• we bring maracas/shakers, scarves, parachutes, and other fun stuff to play with during the show
• coloring pages for all the kids to take home
• EPs available at a discounted rate to give away as party favors
• we may be able to perform a special request song, just let us know! Fun!
kelli welli cds
Other fun things we can bring for your special event:
kelli welli event


kelli welli spinners
kelli welli bio | (Kelli Caldwell - Songwriter music for grown ups too)


• 2020 Winner - National Parenting Products Award Winner
• 2020 Winner - West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest – Best Children’s Song
• 2020 - Top 5 PDX Parent Picks, PDX Parent Magazine
• 2019 Finalist - International Songwriting Competition - Best Children's Song
• 2019 Winner - West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest – Best Children’s Song
• 2019 SongDoor International Songwriting Competition - Honorable Mention for 2 Songs - Pop Category
• 2018 Finalist - Local Roots Annual Song Contest – Americana
• 2014 Honorable Mention - Artists in Music Awards – Best Pop Song

Kelli writes stories and songs for kids and the people who love them. As the lucky mom of twin toddlers, a boy and a girl, it's natural that her current focus is on picture books, though she began writing for children long before she had kids of her own.


"I remember a lot about being a kid," Kelli says. "I remember the details, what mattered to me, and what it felt like to be a kid in a grown-up world. I have a lot of respect for kids and I want them to feel believed in."

Kelli has a Master of Publishing degree and B.A. in Speech Communication with minors in Japanese and German. After working in public relations for Harper’s Magazine in New York City, she returned to Portland, Oregon, where, in 2004, she started a corporate publishing business with a focus on non-profits, renewable energy, small businesses in development, artists and musicians.

Perhaps due to her unconventional upbringing, Kelli has always danced to her own beat. She is the daughter of two fine artists—her mother, an award-winning wearable artist and illustrator, who has created props for movies and children’s author promotions, including for the late Caroline Feller Bauer; her father a successful oil painter and conga drummer, who has painted local cultures throughout the world. Her grandfather took his wife and four young children on a trip around the world in the 1950s and wrote a book about the experience, FAMILY SAFARI.

As a child, Kelli did a stint as a French clown named Rosebud; started kindergarten from a tent; lived in an octagon-shaped house on stilts with her one-eyed cat named Mighty Mouse; staged her first protest at age 5, by wearing a bathing suit at a nude beach alongside her best friend, Summer Wind O'Redwoods; and had 50+ hamsters at one point. She has raised angel fish from eggs and kittens with a bottle, plays ice hockey, and is a collector of uncommon seeds and plants, having developed (with lots of trial and error) a fairly green thumb.

Kelli grew up in Northern California and small-town Oregon, with summers in the creeks of Idaho, and has spent time living solo in Finland, Tokyo, Vancouver B.C., and at the corner of 1st Street and 1st Avenue in NYC.


Kelli Welli - Writing songs and stories for kids and the people who love them.

Thank you to Crystal Pettit Photography for the fun photo shoot with kids and family and a lot of paint!

First book I ever read in full all by myself... I remember finishing this for the first time, while riding the bus after school in Mendocino, California. I remember looking at each and every detail in each picture and I felt so proud to be able to finally read a whole book.


PICKLE PICKLE PICKLE JUICE by Patty Wolcott, illustrated by Blair Drawson

pickle pickle pickle juice by Patty Wolcott
Some of my grandfather, William E. Caldwell's books:
Family Safari by William E. Caldwell
Fundamentals of College Chemistry
College Chemistry


TRAVEL BABBLE, Binfords & Mort [1972]

i like...

these books a lot:


A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston, Sylvia Long


Haiku Baby


Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz


Hair in My Dirt


Pout Pout Fish


Baby Loves to Boogie


We Go Together


I Am Lucille Ball by Brad Meltzer


Canada in Colours


Little Blue Truck


and more...

i like...

  • these CDs a lot:
  • Elizabeth Mitchell
  • Harmonica Pocket
  • Snowdance Tim Uecker

  • Bare Naked Ladies Snack Time CD
  • World of Dreams - Charlie Hope

Elizabeth Mitchell You Are My Sunshine

Putamayo Dreamland CD


Putamayo Asian Dreamland


They Might Be Giants



'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime cover Was it Love in Your Eyes - Single - Kelli Caldwell - Songwriter Kelli Welli - Writing for Kids and the People Who Love Them Kelli Welli on guitar kelli welli writing for kids and the people who love them square logo


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