Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Melissa Bel - Canada's Newest Export

Most six year old girls are playing with Barbie dolls or watching cartoons and thinking how icky boys are. Melissa Bel was not your typical six year old girl. Now, outside of the boys being icky part, Melissa had big plans laid out. "I just remember looking into my mirror and telling myself that I was going to be a singer. I knew that was what I wanted to be. Of course, I did the normal standing in front of the mirror singing along to a song routine. I started playing the guitar when I was fourteen and I started writing my own songs then also," said Melissa.

Now, I know most of you may be thinking that kids always say things like that when they are little. Well, not only did Melissa say it, she also acted upon it. Through hard work and perseverance, she was signed to a distribution deal at the age of 19. "I was very torn at graduation about what to do. Should I pursue singing or go to school. My singing teacher got me to choose and I chose to pursue my music career. This is my second full year off from school," said Melissa.

Her EP was recently released and let me tell you, this young lady has an immense arsenal of talent that she brings to the table. Her songs range from heart felt ballads to bluesy numbers. "I write from personal experiences and my own crazy, emotional turmoil. When I was sixteen, I wore my heart on my sleeves. It's kinda funny, I seemed to have alot more of material to write about back then too." Melissa also covers a song called "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" that was written by Smokey Robinson. She shows that she also has a very sexy side on the delivery of this song. The emotion and power of her vocals on this song are amazing. "Distance" is another personal favorite of mine that really brings out a more bluesy side of her.

She draws her influences from a very wide and diverse group. "First and foremost, I would have to say that the Beatles are my main influence, without a doubt. I also love Alannis Morrisette and Jason Myraz. Oh, I really love blues and early Motown. There's also a Canadian blues artist by the name of Colin James who is amazing. John Mayer, he's someone that I would love to work with. I keep telling myself that if I say it enough times, it will eventually come true."

Melissa's hard work is starting to pay off in many ways. In 2008 at the Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards, she won Best Pop Album and also the Artist of the Year. Not too shabby for such a young artist on the rise.

I finished my interview with asking her my "trapped on a desert island with only one store bought CD what would it be" question and she did not disappoint. "Oh, without a doubt it would be the Beatles 'White Album'. That is such an amazing CD and there are so many songs on it that it would be hard to grow tired of it."

I encourage fans to go to to check out her music. Her self titled EP can be purchased at her shows and she is currently in talks with i-Tunes to make it available there also. Give this young lady a listen. She has a ton of passion and conviction behind her voice and lyrics. I dare you to listen to her CD one time and not be hooked on this young artist. I double dog dare you.

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