Growing up listening to the likes of Mötley Crüe and Poison, she always knew she wanted to learn how to play guitar. And on her 11th birthday, her dad bought her a 325 short scale guitar and made her dreams come true.
Little did he know what he had started.
Now 17, and a senior at The Bishop’s School in La Jolla, Lee has formed a metal band, owns 16 guitars, was the first female to win a shredding contest, and made her debut performance as a young artist at Winter NAMM, a.k.a. the National Association of Music Merchants. Oh, and she learned how to play some of her favorite metal songs on the ukulele.
But none of those things compare to what she calls the best day of her life.
“I got pulled up on stage with Metallica for my 16th birthday,” she said. “I got to count off ‘Seek and Destroy.’ That’ll be a day I never forget.”
That and when Squiggy – the gear editor for Loudwire – found her at NAMM and let her pick any guitar on the convention center floor to play for an Instagram takeover; a takeover that recently got Lee featured in Guitar Girl Magazine.
“I picked Nia Strauss’ JIVA10 Signature, and didn’t realize it was hers at first,” she said. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the heavy metal greats, Strauss is a guitarist best known for being in the all-female Iron Maiden tribute band, the Iron Maidens.
“I was fangirling,” Lee said.
That takeover also led to the teen being asked back to NAMM to do a signing. It was last year’s convention where she started getting buzz for her skills shredding on the ukulele.
“My friend gave me a prototype ukulele to try out, and I wanted to learn some of my favorite songs on it,” she said, which included a little bit of Marilyn Manson and of course, Iron Maiden. “And because it’s an electric ukulele, I realized I could plug it into my rig. That’s when I just went completely nuts.
Unsurprisingly, the future is bright and full of metal for this La Jolla teen. She plans on going to college to study the entertainment and music business while simultaneously growing her band, Kryptid, which she formed in 2012.
Keep up with Keona Lee and Kryptid’s upcoming shows by visiting kryptidofficial.com.