The Story Of Foreigner Frontman Kelly Hansen

Not every artist achieves stardom with the first project they step in. At the beginning of their music career, some work with numerous artists as guest musicians, sing backing vocals for famous artists, or maintain a minor role within a band. However, none are enough to become a well-known rock icon, as it takes tremendous effort to have a solid place in the scene.

Kelly Hansen is one of those artists who didn’t achieve the success he now has back when he embarked on a musical career. He has many creative efforts in his pocket, but none of them brought him the success he had with Foreigner. Since he became the band’s lead singer in 2005, things took a new turn for Hansen.

Kelly Hansen’s Career Before Joining Foreigner

When he began a musical career, Kelly Hansen was an independent studio singer. Later, the musician met Robert Sarzo and Rony Cavazo, brothers of Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo. In 1984, they formed Hurricane. Following their debut album, ‘Take What You Want,’ Hurricane signed with Enigma Records. The band achieved moderate commercial success in the following years but disbanded in 1991.

We knew we were good,” Hansen told the Mercury News in 2011 when he looked back on his career with Hurricane. “We had a lot of encouragement. We got a lot of responses from fans. We were poised to do well. But then, right around ’91, grunge music came in and obliterated the metal scene, which was where we were coming from. I had to sit back and not do much singing for the next several years.”

After a while, Kelly decided to continue making music and recorded as a guest and session singer for other projects, such as Slash’s Snakepit, Don Dokken, Bourgeois Pigs, and Fergie Fredriksen. In 1998, he joined Unruly Child to replace Mark Free and recorded an album with the band. Although Kelly reunited Hurricane with Jay Schellen in 2001, their new effort ‘Liquifury’ wasn’t successful.

Kelly Hansen’s Rise To Fame As Foreigner’s Frontman

Before joining Foreigner, Kelly Hansen got together with Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi and entered the studio to record with him under the name Perfect World. After the release of their 2003 self-titled album, Hansen left the band. Lou Gramm also departed from Foreigner during the same period due to the conflicts between him and Mick Jones. Thus, Hansen joined the band in 2005 and became the third frontman of Foreigner after Gramm and Johnny Edwards.

“After Hurricane, after the grunge thing happened, I worked much harder for a lot less return in the mid-’90s, as I think many people were. You start to say, ‘Wait a minute, earlier in my career, everything used to just come to me. I never had to actually pursue things,'” Hansen recalled. “Joining Foreigner resulted from being dissatisfied with where I was in my career. I’d heard of other gigs that had happened, and I hadn’t even gotten called for them. And I said, ‘Well, that doesn’t seem right.'”

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs and many years of struggle in this business,” said Kelly Hansen when he looked back on his musical career. “I’ve definitely paid my dues. But I think it was all a great experience for me, coming into Foreigner. I knew what it was going to take from me. I knew what was going to be required. You can’t just get that from walking off the street, joining a band like this.”

Foreigner didn’t release any new albums since 2009’s ‘Can’t Slow Down.’ However, they have been touring since the album’s release until this time. As for Kelly Hansen, it seems he is content with what he has achieved as the band’s frontman. According to the singer, he found what he had been looking for all those years in Foreigner.