Karey Lee Woolsey kicked off his songwriting career with a bang at the age of 13 with the first song he wrote in his bedroom. That song was placed in rotation on a local Ft. Myers radio station. Before long Karey Lee was winning talent contests across the country with his original compositions
All while fronting his own band, 3 Days Apart, opening for recording artist such as Creed, Sister Hazel, Jars of Clay and Lenny Kravits, “We were doing what the music industry calls” “ the grind”, touring up and down coast for months at a time with zero time off." Karey remembering those times, “I was living the dream, but being a starving musician doesn’t pay the bills.”
With college bills and debts piling up, Karey Lee took a short cut to the rock star lifestyle. “I was playing a gig one night and met some guys who were buying us drinks, flashing money around, telling me they liked my music... Turns out, they were pretty big players in the marijuana business as well.” Following their lead, KL found himself caught up in one of the biggest marijuana operations in Florida.
"I told myself I’d just make some easy money on the side while I kept building my music career, but the money was so good, I just lost control and my focus." The good times couldn’t last; and when the top member of the group got busted and started pointing fingers at KL’s public profile, it made him an easy target. As part of one of the biggest pot busts in Florida’s history, Karey Lee Woolsey was indicted for conspiracy to distribute more than 7,000 lbs of marijuana.
Facing a life sentence, Karey reconnected with his passion for music and songwriting. In the midst of prosecutors debating his fate, KL wrote and recorded 16 new songs for an album he would call Freedom. “I wrote about love, hate, frustration, motivation, and even God... I needed to say so much before I left for prison, so I spilled all out into my music." Songs like Fall In You, Get Up and Drive and Only In My Dreams range from rock to R&B; all reflecting a new dedication to his craft. The most important track...
"These Walls Around Me" has also created a lot of buzz on the net with a video that Karey Lee's little brother re-created to help to bring awareness of the marijuana movement."
Even as Karey Lee struggled to turn his life around, a federal judge turned it upside down…. sentencing him to 13 years in a federal prison. Karey was devastated and no one could justify the lengthy sentence he was given. He was a non–violent first time offender and yet handed more prison time than some murderers. Karey chose not to feel sorry for himself and vowed to use this time behind bars to lay the ground work in pursuit of his first love, music. He knew he needed to take the worst decision he ever would make and turn it into something positive.
“When I first got to prison, something snapped”, he said, my creative side just came alive. Since reporting to serve his sentence in 2008, Karey Lee has written more than 150 songs, with just as many ideas that remain unfinished. Copy writing all of his work and organizing his own publishing and production company is part of the bigger picture. Karey knows he’s been given the gift of creating a “catchy hook”.
As his release date approaches Karey Lee says he stays grounded and holds the reason he knows himself and his craft on a higher level close to his heart. Its directly handed over to him from his time behind bars and his choices that brought him there.
He would like to share his story with young people, “How such a stupid decision in life can take away your future, showing them what not to do”, he said.
Despite his current incarcernation, Karey lee has big plans to rebuild his dream with the talent his parents watched unfold in that Florida bedroom all those years ago. “Music is my life and once I veered too far away from it God stepped in and said , “hey kid”, your throwing away a gift.
“Nothing will ever stop me from creating music again, I’m going to keep on writing songs that I know one day will make the world proud”, Karey Lee