Melissa Hill

Melissa Hill

BandJazzSinger/Songwriter

Melissa Hill’s music blends funk, pop and jazz. Her lustrous vocals and piano styles set up her unique compositions. She encompasses many traditional moulds, and breaks out of each one of them. Her many musical influences have created a concoction sure to explode onto the western music scene.

Biography

Melissa Hill is promoting herself as an original artist emerging into the western Canadian music scene with musical a variety of musical abilities. Her training ranges from her well developed and mastered skills on the piano, starting with an intense classical training background (BMus with a major in piano performance UBC) onto more recent years focussing on jazz studies influenced largely by McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson and Herbie Hancock. Her smooth and lustrous vocals come from years performing as a jazz singer, both solo and with ensembles. Her vocal style is influenced by the folk and pop sounds of Sarah McLachlan, to the jazzier styles of Holly Cole, and Cassandra Wilson. Her compositions are influenced by a wide range of composers all the way from the traditional standard writing style of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, to the more playful rhythmic styles of Dave Brubeck and Dave Holland. Furthermore, her deep classical roots emerge with impressionist influences from Ravel and Debussy to the more modern contemporary sounds of Aaron Copeland and Stravinsky. What sets Melissa Hill and her band apart from other styles, is that her originals are a complete blend of classical, pop, jazz and folk styles and cannot be put into one little box, as her music spans any specific genre. However, the solos that come out of her music definitely have a new smooth/acid jazz flavour to them, whether it be her hot little piano solo in “Wealth”, or the spacious richness to the instrumental “5AM”.
From composing to arranging to producing, and with performances at major festivals in Canada, Europe, and Asia, these musicians have done it all.
Each musician brings their own flavour and idea to the sound that Melissa Hill has created, and enriches her music with their own stylistic flair. Evan Arntzen on saxophones has created a new funk sound on the horn that matches no other. Daryl Jenke has an ambient style to his solos that brings a cool jazz element to Melissa Hill’s music, and Josh Cole on bass, has both the classical chops to pull off a beautiful Arco sound on “5AM”, but can also put funk and drive into a tune like “Wealth”. Dan Gaucher is a drummer, who is largely influenced by jazz and has the ability to bring subtleties to an intimate moment such as in “Alone”, and converse with the band, yet he is also able to bring a drive to the opening of “Across and Back”, and then funk it up at the end. The players in this band have made the writing of Melissa Hill sparkle, and allow her pianist skills to shine, bringing freedom to her solos while being placed on a backdrop of groove and time. The vocals are unique in that she has a rich presence of tone, vocal strength and maturity, but doesn’t over sing. Melissa Hill’s band is one to see live as they capture an audience with their passion on the first tune.

Lyrics

Across and Back

Written By: Melissa Hill

Been from across and back, thundering diesel drives
All this great vastness, cannot be synopsized.
Saw the colors melting down, falling out of a draining sky
Great paper-mountains set against a sunset collage.

I was hypnotized, now I realize
I don’t have far to fall

I finally found my song
You’ve been sittin’ here telling me to put it down for so long
Why do I fight myself, what is this barrier within me
Every time I try to run, I hit the wall.

Canyons deviate and wind, along an untamed churning ride
A picture postcard brought to life.
A vast expanse eye can’t define
Heaven reaching on all sides
Forever ‘til it kisses the plains.

I was hypnotized, now I realize
I don’t have far to fall

CHORUS

Shadow Dance

Written By: Melissa Hill

The only movement is the heaven’s light
Kissing a wave upon the shore
Lit up by nature’s silent blaze
The whispers of a beach lullaby
The whisper of a beach solemn cry

The night sky so endless and so vast
An insight to what the day cannot see
The crisp air moves my skin to life
I turn and see my shadow dance with the sand
I’m spun around to see my shadow dance with the sand

Colours fade, time dies,
The day sleeps but I’m awakened by the night
Awakened by the night.

Closer to the dawn of the day than the dusk
A solitude silences my mind
The streets are quiet and the city heaves a sigh
Like a freight train pushing home, the night goes down and my thoughts roam
Like a freight train pushing home, the night goes down and my thoughts roam

Colours fade, time dies,
The day sleeps but I’m awakened by the night
Awakened by the night.

Sunshine

Written By: Melissa Hill

The sun shines on my soul, elated by a golden ray
My window is open, to enjoy this bright new day.

The sun shines where I lay, wakes me up and sets me on my way
I’ll go with you now to the beaches, where we’ll play maybe stay, all day.

When the sun shines, or where the sun shines
Or even if the sun shines, you’re the sunshine of my soul.

The sunshine makes me free, I think that I’ll just let things be
‘Cause I feel in this moment, that life is and always should be carefree.

Sunshine’s invigoration, lights me up and keeps me high for a while
Basking in your sunlight, I can meditate, pray and smile.

CHORUS

Discography

The Beach Avenue Sessions – EP
“I love Paris” receiving airplay on 600AM the Bridge.

“Across and Back” – LP
“Sunshine” receiving airplay on 600AM the Bridge, and “Shadow Dance” and “Across and Back” receiving airplay on CHLY 101.7FM, "I'm Bidin' My Time" and "Maybe" as well as the tunes listed above receiving nation wide airplay on CBC Radio.

Set List

Shadow Dance
Wealth
Twilight
Across and Back
Maybe
I’m Bidin’ My Time
Alone
Don’t Wanna Stop
New Bird
When I Saw You
Sunshine
Player in the Game
Still Can
Stargazer
5AM

2 sets go for about 45 minutes each