This little stick of dynamite, Melanie Massell, is so busy that I had to send her the questions for her interview and she just emailed them back. I found her confidence and her knowing who she really is to be extremely refreshing and admirable.
1) How early in your life did you know you were struck by the music bug?
I must have been bitten by the music bug while still inside my Mama’s womb. She would sing all day and night to me. I paid attention. I had front row seats! In fact, her “concerts” were so pleasant from in there that it took 12 hours for me to “Brave” the world. I wonder if that’s where I get the curly red hair from?
2) Do you come from a musical family?
Again – I think only from my Mama. My Dad, Sister and Brother are talented in so many ways, but singing isn’t their forte. My Brother’s three kids are all talented with piano and guitar playing. I’m waiting for them to get old enough to hire so I don’t break any child labor laws. 🙂
3) When did your musical career start and where did it take you? I believe you’ve been all over the country, right?I began studying voice lessons when I was a child. I was trained as a coloratura soprano. From there I perfected my delivery and stage presence in the Music Drama Department at Northside School of Performing Arts in Atlanta, GA., and as a theatre major at Florida State. I have travelled the world performing Internationally in festivals and private galas, some of which included Atlanta, New York, Belgium, Paris and Australia.
With thousands of performances under my belt, I was nominated “Outstanding Jazz Artist” and “Best Jazz Act” in the Atlanta Coca-Cola Music Awards. I have had the honor of performing for Princess Anne, Prince Charles, and numerous prominent American political dignitaries, including Mayors, Governors and Vice-Presidents. I have opened for Chris Botti, David Sanborn, and Jennifer Holiday, and was a back-up vocalist for Oleta Adams.
4) Who influenced your musical style? I have to complement you, as Sande does, too, that your range for music types is refreshingly different.
Thanks for the complement. My musical taste is quite eclectic, so I suppose depending on what style I am listening to or singing would reflect who influenced me. The bottom line to me as a Song Stylist is that if the lyrics truly tell a story other than just a rhythmic line, it sparks my interest. I am extremely fond of the Great American Jazz Songbook and of Country music, particularly for this reason. There are some GREAT stories told there. The way I personally deliver a song is my own style, and it comes from my heart and soul. I don’t just sing a song – I feel the song I am singing. I have been nurturing that for years, polishing it over time, smoothing the rough edges, so to speak. It’s been a nice ride and education, both to watch and hear it mature.
5) How long have you been with your band?
That’s a tricky question – since I work with a number of different musicians. I wear many hats and have put together many bands. Let me explain: First and foremost my BRAND, my product, is me, MELANIE MASSELL. That means you as the audience will get that product every time you hear me sing. The music I surround myself with colorizes the brand, whether its Jazz, Blues, Country, Motown, Light Rock, etc. In the best case scenario I hire top notch musicians to help personalize each show I deliver so the client is getting the exact sound they desired to meet their budget. My company, MMMusic Entertainment, enables me to have a plethora of musicians to call upon to get the job done proficiently.
6) Do you write your own music or are you thinking about it?
Yes – and yes. I have a number of original songs I have written with musicians I worked with when I lived in Atlanta. I’d like to get back into writing more and I think it’s time to drum up the creative juices here in paradise and see what bubbles to the top.
7) What are your thoughts about charity and what makes you so willing to give your time?
Got a minute? 🙂 Charity is an act of selfless, unconditional and voluntary loving kindness that should be practiced and given freely without thought by everyone, daily, period. Giving does not necessarily always need to be about money. It can be something as simple as freely giving ones time. Lending a hand. Giving a smile. Lifting a spirit. Helping a neighbor. Teaching a child to read. Laughing with an elderly soul. Hugging an animal. These are charitable acts of kindness. If we can lift the spirits of others where they don’t feel so discouraged and can move forward, then forward motion will take place and the path will be paved to open more doors. Times are tough – tougher on some more than others – but everyone can “get by with a little help from their friends”. We are placed on this Earth to make a difference – to leave it better than the way we found it. I am not overly religious but I am highly spiritual and recognize and count my blessings daily. One of the Blessings I have received is that I have been given a Gift – the Gift of Voice.
It is my duty as an Artist to have the Gift to lift the spirit of someone – to touch their soul – to stir up a memory – bring life into their hearts – or a tear to their eye – even for a brief moment. At that moment I have succeeded in delivering what I was put on this Earth to do. Sometimes I get paid – and sometimes it’s simply – a charitable Gift.
I find it interesting that this Ladies Sing The Blues Fundraiser on March 26 is between Passover and Easter. The feeling of charitable giving should be high on everyone’s radar!
8) That’s a great thought. Where were you born or where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Atlanta, GA before I went on tour. I moved to Paradise in 2007 with Jack Jacobs, my sweetheart and husband of 20 years.
9) Please fill me in on the personal information that you’d like everyone to know and understand about your career as an Artist.
Well, here are some quotable notables from my Press Release:
Big things come in little packages – Pearls in an oyster shell; Godiva chocolates in golden foil; A stick of dynamite; and MELANIE MASSELL. Seasoned, spicy, saucy and sassy, this petite 4’10” curly red-headed hot-blooded vocal song stylist delivers every song with the smoothness of a pearl, the richness of Godiva and the explosion of TNT – all at once. From the moment the first note is played, her smile opens up her soul and her soul opens up your heart. You are now in her world and you won’t want to leave. She’s one Hot Item.
10) Sande and I came to see you at the Mannatees Sports Grill about 6 weeks ago and I love the diverse selection of songs, from Broadway to Rock n’ Roll.
Thanks again – I am one of the lucky ones to love what I do and I am privileged and Blessed to be able to share my passion with appreciative people like you.
Hope this interview is just what you were looking for!
Thanks Melanie, it was really great!