Kelly Marie Dunn is a talent manager and brand expert who represents two decades of experience in and around the business of music. A specialist in the management and development of pop, crossover, and urban acts, she draws from a broad background of knowledge and practice to build winning brand strategies. Kelly began her music career while still a 90’s era college student. She interned at the DreamWorks SKG company within the black music division of DreamWorks Records, under the leadership of celebrated industry executive, the late Jheryl Busby. From her internship, she was hired into the urban radio promotions department, and was responsible for the airplay of new music and promotional appearances of DreamWorks artists at historically black college campuses in the U.S.
Motivated by her exposure to the daily operations of that label, Kelly developed an interest in the business side of music. She went on to work within the private-practice law firm setting, generating credits with talent including Snoop Dogg, Chris Rock, Jill Scott, John Singleton, and B2K, among others. In 2006, Kelly was a member of the team responsible for producing the record-breaking Oscar® win by Three-Six Mafia for their Best Original Song in the film Hustle & Flow (Paramount) entitled “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” — the first ever Academy award won by a hip-hop record.
Kelly’s transition into artist management was a natural one. Having collected a wealth of familiarity and information with regard to the life cycle of a project, Kelly joined Atom Factory, Inc. under executive Troy Carter as the day-to-day Product Manager for then-exploding recording artist Lady Gaga. On the verge of massive superstardom, Kelly was responsible for each detail of the movement of the artist and her rapidly growing team of over 50 members with regard to her live shows, television appearances, music videos, photo shoots, recording sessions, and tour preparation. She stayed at Lady Gaga’s side as her management liaison while traveling both internationally and domestically for promotional and tour-related dates including the European leg of the Pussycat Dolls 2009 Doll Domination Tour, and the artist’s own first headlining run: The Fame Ball Tour 2009. Lady Gaga’s debut album cycle has since produced a Grammy® award, and gone on to sell over 10 million albums in a record setting time-span. Kelly went on to accept primary management duties for a burgeoning Island Def Jam urban/pop recording artist. On this account, Kelly oversaw the detailed development of breaking that new artist through the release of her album and into her promotional activities. Additionally, she accompanied the artist and crew as Tour Manager of their run on the North American third leg of The Circus: Starring Britney Spears – the highest grossing tour of 2009.
In 2010, Kelly joined the management team of acclaimed Creative Director + Choreographer Laurieann Gibson. In her role as Product Manager, she was responsible for advancing and managing the business of a five-person creative team across multiple active accounts. In particular, Kelly was charged with the management and casting process involved in assembling musicians into backing bands, and did so successfully for several high-profile projects including Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball World Tour 2010, Sean “Puffy” Combs’s “Diddy Dirty Money,” and artists including Keri Hilson, and Kelly Rowland, among others. With Gibson’s group, Kelly handled the advancement of production details for many large-scale artist appearances including the Alicia Keys Element of Freedom World Tour 2010. Additionally, she was responsible for the advancement of production details for many major artist appearances including American Idol, Good Morning America, the BET Awards, Essence Festival, the Today Show, the Teen Choice Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and music videos for artists including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Enrique Iglesias, among many more. In addition to her responsibilities to the company’s work with outside clients, Kelly maintained accountability for Laurieann Gibson’s personal brand, extending into multiple television and new media projects.
In 2011, Kelly was named the number one “Best Consultant / Strategist” by the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals, after being nominated across multiple categories. That same year, she began representation of Richard Jackson, newly appointed as Lady Gaga’s Choreographer and Visual Director. Kelly managed the business of Richard’s talent, including his work on Lifetime TV’s “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition,” on which he was a series regular panel judge for two seasons. In addition to choreography and television, Richard’s ventures included projects in digital media, teaching, and fashion, among many other platforms.
In the fall of 2012, Kelly appeared as a principle cast member on the Oxygen network television show “Girlfriend Confidential: LA,” a six episode docu-series showcasing her work in and around the music business. Concurrent with her talent management activities, Kelly simultaneously maintained a successful business in the development of new artists, responsible for establishing and/or polishing key project elements including: imaging/branding concepts, new media presence and promotion, and live show and performance quality. Known for her patient and professional working style, she successfully produced product across an ever-growing platform within music and its related industries.
In 2014, Kelly launched a handmade baby apparel brand, [ little. ] by kelly marie dunn. Since its birth, the brand has reached customers in every U.S. state, and in countries around the world. Kelly operates it with love from her new home base in the heart of the American South: Atlanta, Georgia.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Kelly is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she earned her degree with honors in Broadcast Journalism from the Annenberg School of Journalism. She enjoys crafting and cooking, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Currently, Kelly continues to represent a diverse roster of creative individuals and talent spanning music, television, film, style, dance, and culture.