Kelvin grew up in Flint, Michigan. His father was from New Zealand
and relocated to the United States after travelling there as a
Fulbright scholar. Kelvin had copious lessons on piano and trombone,
plus some voice training from an early age. He attended Flint Central
High School, playing in many school bands and he was active in drama
as well. He also taught himself how to play other brass instruments
like baritone and bass trumpet. The latter—also called a marching
valve trombone—became his main instrument. Since his father was an
arts critic, he was able to see many first class acts as a child.
Later, he went on the road with a couple popular funk and jazz bands
playing clubs after attending Michigan State University.
Then he moved to South Lousiana and had some amazing musical
experiences, sometimes literally out in the swamps