Melissa Forbes
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Melissa Forbes


Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"Press Bites"

"A magnificent album...a superbly gifted artist..." (, Canada)

“A collection of the finest tunes…this ex-lawyer has managed to leave her own marks on a platform that is already heavily populated with beautifully sounding Soul-Jazz-Pop female artists” (, Germany)

“A very enjoyable adult disc that feels like a live nightclub performance...a gorgeous, clear voice” (, USA)

“Proof the world needs more ex-laweyrs...” (, USA)

“Funkywhitegirl is now officially it’s own genre!” (, USA)

“This Brisbane jazz diva seduces and surprises" (Rave Magazine, Australia)

“She can nail a standard but, like the best jazz women do, she fires on the personal stuff” (Brisbane News Magazine, Australia)

"A remarkably classy debut” (, Australia)

“Extraordinary vocal range...a promising first release” (Time Off Magazine, Australia)

“Melissa's strong and sultry voice is a wonderful instrument” (Queensland Pride Newspaper, Australia)

"A soul singer with a bluesy, jazzy style that is unique among Australian vocalists" (Australian Jazz Scene, Australia)

- Quotes about Melissa Forbes & her debut album

"A Magnificent Album & a Superbly Gifted Artist"

Melissa's debut album 'No More Mondays' opens with the sensuality wrapping, heart and soul enagaging "Sshhh! (Intro)" complete with astounding vocal clarity and polished brass that sets the mood for the magic to follow and which is the perfect lead in to "Black Coffee/Brown Sugar". Here we have one of the finest covers of D'Angelo's classic that you are ever likely to hear in your life! The production is delivering the kind of classy bluesy vocals and equally classy musicianship that one would expect from a multi Grammy award grabber in this delectably classy genre. You don't quite know what to do with your shoulders as they sync with the expertly delivered arrangement and, this is happening while Melissa's inimitable vocal style messes with your stupidly compressed preconceptions of where this genre seemed to be going for the new millenia. It's pretty clear to me that with the likes of Melissa Forbes, the genre is suddenly diamond-like and it's providing an incredibly bright future.

"Broken Wings (For Chet)" arrives at the gateway that exists beyond the speakers to engulf and amaze anyone with any sense in an instant. Mark Turner's lovely little jazz guitar intro is what hits you dead centre before another blue sky reappears in the form of Melissa's seemingly effortlessly sparkling vocals, and John Hoffman's uncompromising and heart caressing flugelhorn. This is the stuff of greatness folks... and nothing less.

"Don't Stop til You Get Enough" is now officially awarded my 'surprise of your life cover of the decade award' and oh how Michael Jackson would be stunned by this colourful and vibrant reworking. You see, it's actually quite hard to place personality and dynamics firmly into the roots of a classic song and if I go around recalling Melissa's version over the original... well I'd say that's pretty damn good wouldn't you? The arrangement is kinda deluxe and innovative without being overtly glossy. It's a serious and respectful reworking and it's quite simply platinum performance level stuff, albeit a little richer than it's founding father.

"Thinking You Over" features some truly magnificent vocal, piano, and fretwork performances I have heard in quite some time and it's all down to the atmosphere creating craftsmanship that these guys exude in. "Thinking You Over" is the kind of song that provokes the emotions in a delicate and diplomatic fashion... nothing too overdone... nothing too mushy... just sprinklings of excellence for the listener to contend with. Meanwhile, "The Weekday Sun" takes superbly casual yet skilled vocal training and mesmerising Fender Rhodes sounds just a few rungs further than you ever thought this lovely ladder was going to go up to. The view from the top is magnificence and splendour... what a singer... what a superbly gifted artist!

"Rising Up?" is cleverly uplifting with it's exceptionally tight arrangement, glowing performance, and expert production. You get the feeling that you've been blessed and although it's -38 outside and this coffee is almost done, it's just not a good idea to let your attention to detail drift when there's so much more happening in this song than you might have expected possible. I could listen to this kind of thing day in day out without even the slightest risk of becoming sidetracked or disenchanted... if only relationships where this certain!

Speaking of relationships... "Shadows of Love (Love for Sale)" features exceptional styling in vocal prowess and hauntingly beautiful harmonies that are as spellbinding as the horns that caress them every now and then in all of the right places. The tricklings of Hammond and the slow soulful bass pace is partiuclarly intriguing and yet another indication of the classyness and raised standards I mentioned earlier. Within seconds of the last note's fade, "You're My Alter Ego/Nothing Else Matters" brings back vivid images of the elegance of rich and passionate vocal meanderings and candlebra lit piano. The sound engineers need to be acknowledged here too. What you have ended up with in the production is a broadly coloured sound spectrum that appears to have been meticulously crafted while retaining the energy in dynamics that this song demands. It's the sound skills, techniques and workmanship that makes up the craft in production and these guys are craftsmen of the first division.

"Still" takes me willingly back to the passionate artist realm were notes and lyrics are born with the kind of fine balance nature itself had always intended. Countless songwriters past and present dreamed of this kind of fruit from their labours and many label-ready singers engaged the same yearning as their voices and inspirations evolved and took on the strains and struggles of being heard and appreciated. There's some nice guitar work here that runs sympathetically alongside the bass playing... very classy! Meanwhile, at the other half of the sky we have the unanticipated arrival of "Blackheart Blues - International Online Music Magazine (December 2005):

"A Soulful Singer with a Bluesy, Jazzy Style"

Melissa Forbes was a Queensland commercial lawyer until music became her passion and she extended her academic prowess with a degree in Music, Jazz Voice. She is a soul singer with a bluesy, jazzy style that is unique among Australian vocalists and she has a fresh, clear voice with good diction. Eight of the twelve tunes on this CD were written by Melissa and she dwells on themes of urban life, office psychology and love among the upwardly mobile. "Black Coffee/Brown Sugar" is neither Peggy Lee nor the Rolling Stones, but still the blues that these artists were once noted for. "Rising Up" is a story in an elevator and shows her penchant for a nice touch in lyrical expressionism. A line in "Thinking You Over" goes, "If you can just excuse the obfuscation", which must be the first use of that word in a song! There are some nice musical touches from flugel horn, trumpet, guitar and Hammond organ, with the musicians listed above breaking up into smaller cominations to add variation to the sound. The compositions aren't often tunes to sing in the bath and the lyrics gain credibility with several readings (most are on the sleeve notes) but the voice is endearing and the CD will do nicely until Melissa comes to a venue near you.

- Australian Jazz Scene (September 2005):

"Melissa Forbes Shines as Vocalist, Composer & Arranger"

"No More Mondays", by Melissa Forbes, is a collection of jazzy, funky, bluesy grooves to ease and please, from fresh takes on standards such as "Black Coffee", through new arrangements of a couple of pop and rock covers, to a predominance of interesting originals dealing with staying sane in the rat race, or the tender advent of new love. No more Mondays? A wish for an end to heartache - "I'm hangin' out on Monday my Sunday dreams to dry" (Black Coffee) - or the joy of a lawyer breaking free of the corporate grind on wings of song? Maybe both! The style of this album is so easy and attractive you have to listen closer for the rich lyrical rewards. Even "Broken Wings (for Chet)" is musically uplifting, notwithstanding John Hoffman's gorgeous, plaintive flugelhorn and lyrics like "Citizen of the world, yet a nation of one / You shun, you scorn, you lie, you cheat / You feel defeat at the hands of 'them', but of course / You are your own worst enemy / No truce, no surrender, you tender to your every desire / While inspiring slavish devotion to the notions of / Truth and beauty".

Perhaps "truth and beauty" is something of a mantra for Melissa. Her vocal timbres, from warm honey to a cutting loose reminiscent of Vika Bull, convey the strength and sincerity of a woman who believes passionately in what she sings. There are lush textures of musical beauty here too, from Stephen Newcomb's accomplished and versatile keyboards (piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ) Mark Turner's funky electric bass; Myka Wallace's steady drum grooves; and sparkly percussion embellishments from Tanja Hafenstein. Dave McGuire's guitar adds languid spice to tracks like "Blackheart Blues", on which Melissa shows she also plumbs the depths of human moods, "happy"! to explore life's inevitable shadows. "I'm feelin' so bad / And Lord it feels so good / Just wallowin' low / Down the dark alleys of my neighbourhood / Don't tell me to perk / Don't tell me to spark / I'm loving every minute of this / Dark heart, baby / I got them black heart blues". Still, somehow you know she'll come through - "peace is flowing over me, oooh baby think I'm shaking these blackheart blues".

Jim Forbes also contributes thoughtful lyrics to three tracks, which resonate well with Melissa's music. Melissa Forbes shines as vocalist, composer and arranger, and her band honours the music with skilled solo and ensemble playing, energy, sensitivity and spaciousness. The progression of the album is enhanced by a variety of instrumental configurations. Check out the tender simplicity of "As I Sing" where Stephen's gentle piano is met by a soulful violin cameo by Paula Newcomb, with Melissa"s heartfelt vocal. This project is well served by recording of warmth and clarity; and subtle mixing, eg the trumpet floating over the buoyant ground of the rhythm section on "Shadows of Love (love for sale)". The booklet is well set out - but larger type next time please! Summer night on the balcony, winter night by the fire - give it a whirl.

- The Independent Music Specialists (August 2005):

"She Fires on the Personal Stuff"

Write what you know, say literary types. Write what you know and sing it from the bottom of your heart. Brisbane's Melissa Forbes can nail a jazz standard (see "Black Coffee/Brown Sugar"), but, like the best jazz women do, she fires on the personal stuff. Her own "Thinking You Over" is a perfectly structured and paced ode to those gloriously anxious moments before true love is sealed (and anyone who can squeeze the word "obfuscation" into a song deserves a round). "The Weekday Sun" seems like the harshest critique of contemporary society masked by a breezy, sun-kissed organ and a pulsing udu drum. But "Blackheart Blues" is the bomb, showing few things are more lethal than a heart-broken woman regaining her strength: "You want me to smile, I've got bile in my throat, I'm in hell, and I'm takin' off my coat." Even Lady Day would have chuckled at that one.

- Brisbane News Magazine (Issue 541, June 1-7, 2005):

"Forbes has a Gorgeous, Clear Voice"

One of last year's treats for me was hearing Australia's Louise Perryman for the first time, and I received an equally pleasant surprise in May when I received No More Mondays from Perryman's friend and fellow Aussie Melissa Forbes. Forbes mixes elements of jazz, pop, lounge and soul into a very enjoyable adult disc that feels like a live nightclub performance. Forbes has a gorgeous, clear voice and precise phrasing, and she nails this mix of original tunes and some unusual remakes (such as her sultry cover of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"). Her jazzy backing band is solid and her compositions (especially the very soulful "Shadows of Love") are quite strong. Great late-night listening.

- Soul Tracks (May 2005):

"Brisbane Jazz Diva Seduces & Surprises"

Melissa Forbes is a jazz singer with a difference: not only does she mostly sing her own songs on her debut album, but the covers she chooses are largely not jazz standards but reworked rock and pop songs. The best part is she somehow makes it all work. The torch song standard Black Coffee morphs into D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar before you know what’s going on; even more audacious is the way You’re My Alter Ego transforms into a jazzed-up Nothing Else Matters (yes, that Nothing Else Matters). Incredibly, it sounds natural and unforced, thanks to Forbes’ seductive vocals and clever arrangement. Her own songs hold up well too, the smooth flow of Broken Wings and the gutsy blues of Blackheart Blues being standouts. Lovers of vocal jazz will welcome Forbes’ expressive voice and the nicely understated performances of her band.

- Rave Magazine (Issue 691, 24-30 May, 2005):

"Melissa Forbes' Unbelievable Debut CD"

As far as I remember, the last time a debut album of such a perfect artistic quality had been recorded live in the studio, it was on February 11th, 1963 in London, and the artists were the Beatles. And yet they'd already had years of experience. What then to say about yesterday's lawyer Melissa Forbes recording at a stretch her debut album (No More Mondays, 2005) only comparable with the best of Ella, Etta and Aretha altogether?.. Nothing to say. Relax and float downstream...

- Midnight Special Blues (March 2005):

"Sultry, Confident Voice"

Editors Review: When Melissa Forbes abandoned a promising law career to follow her dream of becoming a singer, it paid off in spades. This classy lady's sultry, confident voice is the perfect accompaniment to these vintage-sounding soul-jazz ballads and proof that the world needs more ex-lawyers.

- Music Download (February 2005):

"Top Talent"

Since the March release of her debut album, No More Mondays, it’s been an eventful year for Brisbane-based singer/songwriter Melissa Forbes. She’s appeared at the World Expo in Nagoya and the Port Fairy Folk Festival where she was a top-ten finalist in the Songwriting Awards for ‘The Weekday Sun’. The song brilliantly evokes the hustle and bustle of lunchtime in the Brisbane CBD. "So far, the highlight has been launching a CD that I’m still really proud of. Although I’ve listened to it a lot and agonised many hours over it, I can still honestly say I’m happy with the way it turned out,” Forbes says. Locally, the young songwriter has performed at the Valley Fiesta, Valley Jazz Festival and the Queensland Biennial Festival of Music. “One of my favourite venues is the Sound Lounge at Currumbin. It’s set up in what looks like an old bingo room above the RSL, but with a few cushions, candles and comfy couches it is totally transformed. The guys running the venue are really committed to presenting great music to the public, so they make the musicians feel really welcome and put a lot of effort into important things like sound.”

No More Mondays reflects Forbes’s transition from the nine-to-five rigours of commercial legal practise to working full-time in music. And, despite the challenges of the music industry, she wouldn’t change a thing. “Even when I didn’t know where my next gig was coming from, I’ve never considered going back. I’m in the process of simplifying my life, and working in a job that pays more but gives little satisfaction complicates things financially, psychologically and emotionally. Basically, it ain’t worth it!” No More Mondays is a seductive collection of Forbes’s original compositions and innovative interpretations of jazz standards…with a dash of Metallica and Michael Jackson! “The whole notion of interpretation and remoulding a song interests me a lot,” she says. Forbes gives ‘Black Coffee’ a powerful, verging-on-feminist workout and the original ‘Black Heart Blues’ ends with a positivity that’s rare throughout the blues genre. She’s not your traditionally passive female blues artist, yet her blend of jazzy soul is sweetened by her gorgeous voice.

Indeed, Forbes’s recent success places her at the forefront of a renewed interest in jazz throughout Brisbane. “The Brisbane jazz scene is stylistically very diverse, which means there’s usually something in there for everyone. But there are a couple of Brisbane jazz artists who are doing really well, such as Mark Scholtez who’s scored the Tommy LiPuma deal,” she says. Forbes organised the forthcoming Something In The Water event to showcase some top local talent. “Ant Aggs, Chris Pearson and I have done a few gigs together lately and it’s been a lot of fun. The three of us like to wing things and make stuff up on the fly, so you can expect something pretty spontaneous.” Melissa Forbes plays Something In The Water with Ant Aggs (Afro Dizzi Act), Chris Pearson (Friendship Audio, Misinterprotato) and Megan Shorey at the Spark Bar, Brisbane Powerhouse Friday Oct 14 (10pm). No More Mondays is out now on Kitten Kong Records.

- Time Off Magazine (Issue October 5-11, 2005):


NO MORE MONDAYS (2005): Kitten Kong Records


Feeling a bit camera shy



"No More Mondays" is the outstanding debut album of Australian singer-songwriter and ex-lawyer, Melissa Forbes. Self-produced, recorded in just three days, and released on Melissa's own independent record label, Kitten Kong Records, "No More Mondays" is an album which ambitiously and successfully fuses a range of genres including jazz, soul, r&b, pop, blues & folk. It includes original songs, standards & jazzified takes on popular tunes (e.g. D'Angelo, Michael Jackson, Metallica).

On "No More Mondays" Melissa seamlessly integrates her conservatorium jazz training with adult contemporary grooves, producing an album of diverse and refreshingly different tracks. Eight of Melissa's own songs are featured on the album and each reflects a different aspect of Melissa's broad range of musical influences and tastes.

Released independently in Australia in 2005, and spending three months in the Top 10 of the Australian Independent Jazz Chart (, "No More Mondays" is available internationally via CD Baby ( and digitally via iTunes ( Two minute samples of all tracks on the album can be heard at Melissa's CD Baby profile.


1. Intro
2. Black Coffee/Brown Sugar
3. Broken Wings (For Chet)
4. Don't Stop Til You Get Enough
5. Thinking You Over
6. The Weekday Sun
7. Rising Up?
8. Shadows of Love (Love for Sale)
9. You're My Alter Ego/Nothing Else Matters
10. Still
11. Blackheart Blues
12. As I Sing


* Produced by Melissa Forbes with Ben Stewart, Brisbane, Australia
* All music written by Melissa Forbes except 1, 2, 4 & 9
* Label - Kitten Kong Records
* Australian Commerical Release - March 2005
* Australian Distributor - MRA Entertainment


* Label Info:
* Bookings:
* Promotions: