NXNE 2014 Artist Profile: Melissa Lauren

Melissa LaurenName: Melissa Lauren

NXNE Show: Free Times Cafe – Wednesday, June 18 @ 11pm

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Music Genre: Jazz / Pop

Year it all began: 1995

Quick Introduction: I am a Toronto born and raised singer and songwriter who’s roots are in jazz and blues. I started singing with a 20 piece swing band at a very young age and it shaped my musical tastes. I have made the transition over the years veteran swing “crooness” to songwriter. Currently in the studio recording songs for my sophomore album, I have just finished touring my show “My Mess” across Canada. I’m determined not to just be another singer simply calling standards, and have been putting together sets and shows that can be presented as a cohesive story. I’ve been collaborating songwriting efforts with Toronto bassist Mark Cashion. The outcome is a quirky, more playful sound that tests an interesting balance of darker harmonies and more theatrical grooves. Can’t wait to release!

What got you into music? Always adored singing, even as a toddler, but my music career really started when I started singing with the Toronto Allstar big band at 15 years old. It got me into jazz and swing, and coupled with my dads fantastic music collection, I fell in love with the style. While today I’m writing tunes that often fall more into the pop genres, there are still undertones of jazz and swing and blues.

What are your sources of inspiration? Other musicians that have created their own sounds and pieces of songs that are so perfectly crafted that I want to cry. Recently I’ve been fascinated with the beauty and the torment of a mess, and I’ve been delving 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.

Dream gig? Ah! That’s hard! Probably headlining at some big European Festival. Or singing a song at the Oscars…Lol. I really can get swept away by Hollywood glam. 🙂

Your thoughts about NXNE? I think it’s one of the richest (musically) festivals in North America. I am thrilled to be a part of it. I”m looking forward to checking out some of the acts and thrilled that I get passes to everything. Our country is stocked with diverse and important music.

Interesting points others don’t know about you? Hmm. Not sure how this will come across, but I am very flexible for someone who really doesn’t stretch too much. I really hate yoga but love spinning until I am seeing spots. Also, I am trained in dancing, and often it will come out at gigs!