Toronto based singer and Melissa Lauren has smoothly made the transition from veteran swing “crooness” to songwriter. With a strong influence in jazz and blues, Melissa has developed an original style of her own melting together old school sounds with modern flare. Melissa's latest album, "Your Mess" was released in October to immediate charting and radio play across Canada.
Melissa's debut album, “The Other Side”, was released in March 2012 to great review. A collection of original compositions, the music was produced by Eric St-Laurent, paying tribute to the jazz and swing sounds that shaped the singer’s musical style. Quickly making a place for itself on Canadian charts, the album offers a variety of classic sounds, mixed with modern pop sensibilities.
The singer’s love for swing and jazz music began when she started performing with the Toronto All-Star Big Band; she continued singing with them until 2004. She had the opportunity to work with and open for many wonderful musicians; Jeff Healey, Gordon Lightfoot, Renee Lee, Henry Questa, Tommy Ambrose, Peter Appleyard, Buddy DiFranco, Jackie Richardson, and Clark Terry to name a few. She has performed as part of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, Beaches International Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival and Oakville International Jazz Festival as well as Canadian Music Week, and is looking forward to hitting the Canadian festival scene in 2015. She has toured Western Canada and parts of Eastern several times, and is heading across Western Canada for an album tour in November of 2015.
Melissa is eager to debut a slightly edgier and mature sound on the new project, “Your Mess.” Taking on more of a polished form, the album and subsequent live sets weave together the songs in a way different from past albums and shows. Determined not to just be another singer simply calling standards, the tour and album will be presented as a cohesive story; transitions will feel more intuitive. She is hoping to bring a more personal touch to everything. With a central theme of the beauty and torment of a mess, the songs delve into the more extreme sides of emotions we feel when dealing with the fact that our lives can completely flip in the blink of an eye. The first single I released in Canada, “Send Them Away,” was song of the week on CBC radio in Toronto, and has been nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award.
For the upcoming album, Melissa collaborated songwriting and producing efforts with Toronto bassist Mark Cashion, and the outcome is a quirky, more playful sound that tests an interesting balance of darker harmonies and more theatrical grooves, coupled with the singer's signature delicate word inflections.
In addition to her own music, Melissa has recently been lending her voice to studio work in the electronic music scene. She has sung on five of producer/writer Hibernate’s recently released tracks, one of which was the opening track on seminal pioneer trance DJ Paul Oakenfold’s most recent compilation album, released under Perfecto Records.