Melissa Bel
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Melissa Bel

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"“Melissa Bel”"

I usually don’t turn down an interview if I can make it because every once in a while, I’ll get to discover an artist that I am unfamiliar with or that I might not have been naturally inclined to listen to. It happened yet again with the very talented Melissa Bel. On her latest EP entitled “Distance”, this Canadian artist shows the world what she’s made of with her catchy songs and wonderful voice. She is definitely worth a listen. I had the chance to discuss her career and her sound over the phone the other night, on top of discovering what a pleasant person she is; I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much during an interview. If you want to check her out, she’ll be playing at Petit Campus tomorrow night in Montreal (December 12th 2012).

MELISSA: I feel like I just learn so many things! One lesson is that you can’t do every single thing yourself. I’m one of those people who like to be in control of everything that happens but there comes a point when you have to trust other people to do some things so that you can focus on what you need to do which is to make music. You can market yourself all day but at the end of the day, if you don’t have any music that you’ve created to market, then you won’t have anything to give. So focus on the music. It will keep you sane as well.
CONFRONT: I think that’s a great lesson! Now going back into the past a little, how did you start being interested in music?
MELISSA: I remember singing from such a young age like in daycare singing Disney songs and forcing people to listen to me. I was always just attracted to music and I’ve always wanted to listen or sing stuff. I was in love with The Beatles from a very young age. They’ve been my all-time favorite band for all my life; a real inspiration to me. Throughout school, I was lucky to have a lot of chances to sing in choirs and musicals. I also took vocal lessons for a few years, took some guitar lessons and some piano, then took drum lessons for a year. I started songwriting when I was about 14; I don’t really sing any of the songs now that I wrote when I was 14 but you got to start somewhere! When I was ready to graduate high school, I planned on going to university because that’s what you’re usually expected to do. But my vocal coach at the time, he did more than teach me vocals; he taught me songwriting and he was a great mentor. He basically talks me out of going to university. It was a brand new experience for me and so it was nerve-wracking and it was exciting. I had a lot of help and guidance from my producer and the musicians who worked on it with me. It was one huge learning experience. I wasn’t experienced enough to know exactly how I wanted to sound as a musician so they helped me shape that. By the time I got to do this latest album, I had more of an identity as a musician so I think this new one sounds more like me. The first one had songs that I wrote when I was 16 so it’s weird to sing those or even listen to those now! But I’m super happy with the way the album turned out. I think for what we did and what I knew at the time, we definitely did the best job.
- ConfrontMagazine.com


"“Melissa Bel se fait remarquer lors de l’événement Bluesons Sans la Pluie”"

Forte d’une performance avec Nanette Workman, Guy Bélanger, Bob Walsh, Jim Zeller et Martin Deschampssamedi dernier, la jeune artiste a su mettre l’eau à la bouche pour son spectacle du 12 décembre à Montréal. Le moins qu’on puisse dire, c’est que Melissa Bel sait se faire remarquer. Samedi dernier, elle participait à l’événement Bluesons Sans la Pluie, un concert-bénéfice visant à financer le FestiBlues International de Montréal. Dans une Maison de la culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville bondée, Melissa se joignait à nos grands noms du blues où, tour à tour, les artistes se présentaient sur scène, tantôt en solo, tantôt en duos. L’harmoniciste Guy Bélanger a présenté une Melissa Bel qui avouait, en français, avoir le trac. Une artiste anglophone qui brise la glace en français, c’est charmant, mais c’est pendant l’interprétation de la pièce-titre de son album Distance qu’elle a vraiment conquis le public. Les amateurs de blues entassés dans la salle ont vite compris pourquoi cette «artiste émergente» avait été invitée à cette soirée parmi les grands. Plus tard, elle interprétait Wild Horses (Rolling Stones) avec Nanette et le classique Ain’t No Sunshineavec Bob Walsh, toujours sous les applaudissements nourris de la foule. Le terrain est bien préparé pour son spectacle du 12 décembre au Petit Campus de Montréal. L’album Distance, disponible en formats numérique et physique disponible maintenant. - QuebecSpot Media


"“This Christmas spend time with Mel Bel”"

In the style of a young Bonnie Raitt circa 1970s mixed with the more contemporary upbeat Norah Jones numbers, Melissa Bel comes out with the holiday single “This Christmas Spend Your Time On Me,” a song focused on family and spending time together with the ones you love. “We recorded this song in one 8-hour session, and it was great because the band recorded pretty much everything live off the floor, which gives the song just the kind of energy we were going for. I think all of us are anxious to play it live!” – Melissa Bel. With her recent days touring all over Canada, one can imagine the words in the song are an yearning to maintain strong family ties and always keep her schedule clear enough to make it home for the holidays. “I’ve always loved Christmas, and I’ve been wanting to write a Christmas song for awhile. My dad, on the other hand, is not such a big fan of the Holiday Season with it’s commercialism and all the stress that tends to accompany it. So last Christmas Eve, after talking to him on the phone while he was at the mall wondering what gifts to buy I decided to write this song to say stop worrying about finding the perfect present and just enjoy spending Christmas time with the people you love. It’s easy to forget, but that’s really what it’s about!” “Just got our first NEW Christmas Song of the season and it’s gonna knock your socks off. Melissa Bel has a hit on her hands and you’re gonna be able to hear it right here on MileHiRadio.com FIRST (and often!)(sic). This little lady has some pipes and the message of the song is priceless!!!!” – Hoss Meister, MileHi Radio DJ and host of Just Playing Around. Tim Whitnell of The Burlington Post had a chance to sit down with Melissa Bel for an interview. She shared her maturing view of the music industry and evolution of an artist. “Right out of high school I was thinking I was going to be famous by 19. Now I realize it’s one small step after one small step; keep playing, keep building your fan base, keep writing, keep getting heard,” said Bel. - FrostByteMedia.net


"“Melissa Bel: Une future étoile du blues à découvrir”"

Le 12 décembre dernier, Melissa Bel revenait à Montréal pour une deuxième fois en moins de trois semaines à notre plus grande joie ! En effet, les Montréalais avaient déjà pu entendre Melissa Bel lors de son passage remarqué au concert bénéfice du Festiblues international de Montréal en novembre. Pour l’occasion, elle avait chanté en duo avec les légendes du blues, Bob Walsh et Nanette Workman, en plus de nous offrir quelques pièces originales. Cette fois-ci, la chanteuse reçoit ses fans au Petit Campus. Pour ce spectacle, la chanteuse-guitariste est accompagnée de Mike Todd à la guitare, qui sait mettre en valeur la voix de Melissa par des harmonies vocales recherchées. Le quatuor est complété par Ben Rollo à la batterie et par Scott Galloway au clavier: celui-ci fait aussi office de bassiste en jouant la basse sur son clavier. Pour l’occasion, Melissa nous interprète entièrement son premier album intitulé DISTANCE, paru en 2011, sur lequel on retrouve six pièces de style blues-pop-rock. Sur ce disque, elle signe cinq compositions en plus d’une reprise du classique de 1971: AIN’T NO SUNSHINE de Bill Withers. La jeune chanteuse ontarienne, âgée de seulement vingt-deux ans, originaire de Burlington (en banlieue de Toronto), fait carrière depuis déjà cinq ans autant en Ontario que sur la scène internationale. Souriante et expressive, avec de longs cheveux blonds, Melissa se distingue par sa présence sur scène qui ne laisse personne indifférent. Lorsqu’elle s’adresse à la foule en français, son charmant petit accent la rend irrésistible. En plus de nous séduire de sa voix chaude et sensuelle, elle s’accompagne très bien à la guitare (une Godin semi-acoustique). Melissa sait bien utiliser sa voix versatile (qui peut parfois nous rappeler Melissa Etheridge et Alanis Morissette) pour chanter tout en douceur, mais capable de nous surprendre avec des notes basses, fortes et rauques. Elle le démontre en interprétant COME ON OVER d’Amy Winehouse ainsi que la douce chanson THE OCEAN (M. Bel) qu’on devrait entendre sur son prochain album. Vers la fin de la soirée, elle nous offre une de ses compositions pour noël: THIS CHRISTMAS SPEND YOUR TIME ON ME (disponible en ligne pour le temps des fêtes) et conclut avec HE’LL NEVER BE YOU (M. Bel), la dernière pièce de son album DISTANCE. Bien de sa génération, Melissa Bel est une artiste de la relève du blues qui a tout pour plaire: elle est jeune, jolie, dynamique et compose du blues-pop moderne avec des arrangements contemporains. De plus, elle s’avère une chanteuse accomplie ayant un excellent contrôle de sa voix. On retrouve chez elle une profondeur et une maturité qu’on voit généralement chez des chanteuses beaucoup plus âgées: cela laisse présager une belle carrière. En entrevue, Melissa affirme adorer Montréal et les Québécois: peut-être la reverrons-nous chez nous sur scène lors de festivals blues cet été ? Melissa Bel, une future étoile du blues à découvrir sur disque et sur scène. - Le Net Blues


"“Burlington singer goes the Distance with new release”"

Burlington singer Melissa Bel has the blues for her second release, Distance, now available. Bel released her first album, Brave, when she was a teenager. Now it is several years later and Bel said she has settled more comfortably into her style: blues, soul with a bit of pop. “For the first release, I started recording at 17 so it was a lot about growing up, getting your heart broken, which is always good inspiration, but really me learning about love and life,” said Bel, both albums released through Frostbyte Media. “The whole experience was new to me; I was just along for the ride. “With Distance, I started recording at 20 and finished it at 23 so I’m a bit more confident. I had an idea of how I wanted to sound and had my hands in making that happen a lot more.” She was also confident that blues was now a style on which she wanted to focus. “I’ve seen myself come into the style I wanted to pursue,” explained Bel. “It’s blues, pop and a lot of soul. I’m not sure if my voice suited the blues or I changed myself to suit the blues, but I love that sound.” With that encapsulated on her new release, Bel has been performing frequently in Montreal, where the album has topped the jazz and blues charts. “From the momentum of being number one on Montreal jazz and blues charts, we were able to book in shows there and Quebec City,” said Bel, who will be returning there at the end of this month. Before she does that, Bel competed in the Honey Jam showcase on Aug. 16 at the Mod Club in Toronto. “Nelly Furtado was discovered through Honey Jam; a few hundred audition and there were 17 of us selected to perform,” she said, adding the contestants also made a YouTube video for the jam where the musician with the most views wins a trip to Barbados. Along with that video, which can be found on her web site, Bel has an official music video for the song Distance. “It’s not the typical title track but it encompasses the style I’m going for in its soulfulness. It’s also a good introduction to my music for people who have just heard of me.” After a summer of performing, Bel said she is already looking to start working on her next release. “I want to start working on the new recording within the next few months,” she explained. Music has always been a part of Bel’s life. “My mom would tell you I started singing before I could talk,” said Bel. “But the real moment I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life came when I was six and I said to myself, I’m going to be a singer. I had to make the decision whether to pursue university or start pushing the pavement and try to make a career. My vocal coach introduced me to producer, Tom Treumuth, who is now my manager and offered to make the album back when I was 17.” Signed with Frostbyte Media, a subsidiary of E1 Entertainment, Bel plans to tour all of Canada next year. - InsideHalton.com


"“Burlington singer goes the Distance with new release”"

Burlington singer Melissa Bel has the blues for her second release, Distance, now available. Bel released her first album, Brave, when she was a teenager. Now it is several years later and Bel said she has settled more comfortably into her style: blues, soul with a bit of pop. “For the first release, I started recording at 17 so it was a lot about growing up, getting your heart broken, which is always good inspiration, but really me learning about love and life,” said Bel, both albums released through Frostbyte Media. “The whole experience was new to me; I was just along for the ride. “With Distance, I started recording at 20 and finished it at 23 so I’m a bit more confident. I had an idea of how I wanted to sound and had my hands in making that happen a lot more.” She was also confident that blues was now a style on which she wanted to focus. “I’ve seen myself come into the style I wanted to pursue,” explained Bel. “It’s blues, pop and a lot of soul. I’m not sure if my voice suited the blues or I changed myself to suit the blues, but I love that sound.” With that encapsulated on her new release, Bel has been performing frequently in Montreal, where the album has topped the jazz and blues charts. “From the momentum of being number one on Montreal jazz and blues charts, we were able to book in shows there and Quebec City,” said Bel, who will be returning there at the end of this month. Before she does that, Bel competed in the Honey Jam showcase on Aug. 16 at the Mod Club in Toronto. “Nelly Furtado was discovered through Honey Jam; a few hundred audition and there were 17 of us selected to perform,” she said, adding the contestants also made a YouTube video for the jam where the musician with the most views wins a trip to Barbados. Along with that video, which can be found on her web site, Bel has an official music video for the song Distance. “It’s not the typical title track but it encompasses the style I’m going for in its soulfulness. It’s also a good introduction to my music for people who have just heard of me.” After a summer of performing, Bel said she is already looking to start working on her next release. “I want to start working on the new recording within the next few months,” she explained. Music has always been a part of Bel’s life. “My mom would tell you I started singing before I could talk,” said Bel. “But the real moment I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life came when I was six and I said to myself, I’m going to be a singer. I had to make the decision whether to pursue university or start pushing the pavement and try to make a career. My vocal coach introduced me to producer, Tom Treumuth, who is now my manager and offered to make the album back when I was 17.” Signed with Frostbyte Media, a subsidiary of E1 Entertainment, Bel plans to tour all of Canada next year. - InsideHalton.com


Discography

Brave

Distance

Photos

Bio

For her work, she received widespread radio play, performed a whirlwind tour of 14 shows in 16 days and earned coverage in the influential German music magazine Melodie & Rhythmus.

For her sophomore album, Distance, Bel pours her heart out into six songs that are expected to bring her name and music into homes across North America and Europe. The record includes “Over And Done With,” a resolute, wash-your-hands-of-him break-up song and also a stirring rendition of Bill Withers’ 1971 classic “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The avenues in sound and emotion explored on this record will resonate with audiences everywhere.

The singer/songwriter’s persona is gentle and unassuming, but when she strums on her flat-wound strung archtop it’s like the crack of a shot echoing across the club, leaving audiences stunned and catching flies with their mouths. Her album is now available through stores and itunes.