Melissa Lauren
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Melissa Lauren

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Pop Jazz




"On The Beat"

Has been a while since we’ve taken a look at some of the fine albums from Canadian artists that continue to come On The Beat’s way. MELISSA LAUREN is a young local jazz-based singer/songwriter. She just launched her second CD, The Other Side, and it displays her potential as both a vocalist and songwriter. Lauren has also been involved in electronica projects, and is clearly a versatile talent. - The Corriere Tandum

"Opus One Review"

Melissa Lauren is a real jazz singer, good in the way Blossom Dearie or Stacie Kent are good. Once you hear her sing, you want to keep listening. The Other Side, her follow-up album, is a collection of ten original tunes Laura composed on the ukulele, and a few standards including Cole Porter’s 1948 hit “Always True to You in My Fashion.” Ella did “Always True….”, Eartha did it, Peggy and Blossom did it too. So that’s the sisterhood Lauren fits in with. Also, she’s a pretty good songwriter—I like her “Somehow,” a passionate ballad with fine guitar licks by Nathan Hiltz who co-composed “Wrapped Around My Finger,” and “Fondness.” “Your Fool” is an achey, Leonard Cohenish tune that’s backed by a ‘Somewhereovertherainbow’ strum. “Secret world has a kind of horny energy. “Senses” has an almost funky country beat. “On the Other Side,” exploits an Obladi-Obladah backbeat and engages a handclapping response. Not her best. Lauren is a class act on this album. In her next one she could let go more. Just let go. The musicians are good and there are plenty of them: Eric St-Laurent, Nathan Hiltz, Ernesto Cervini, Matt Newton, Ross MacIntyre, William Sperandei, Ryan Oliver, Drew Jurecka. - Opus One Review

"Big City, Small World"

“It’s a confident album with plenty of charm.” - CBC

"The Other Side, Melissa Lauren"

Singer-songwriter Melissa Lauren has been a part of the Toronto music community for a few years now, but with her sophomore release, The Other Side, she’s really making her mark. Lauren has a beguiling voice that mixes sweet playfulness with solid technique, control and range. Which would be plenty, but on top of that she has songwriting abilities that put her in another category from the legion of lovely crooners who enlist others’ work to tell their musical story. Harmonically speaking, Lauren’s songwriting doesn’t push a whole lot of boundaries, and she’s got a clever way with words that goes enough beyond cute to make things interesting without getting overly heavy. All of which suits the breezy, jazzy air of the album. The dozen songs each have a whiff of a bygone era hovering somewhere between the 1930s and the 60s, without being too derivative of any time or genre. So we get a bit of Mancini-esque cool on the opening Art Class, a touch of twangy longing on Somehow, a slightly Eastern European edge to Your Fool and an old tyme rollick from the title track. It all adds up to a special sound, much of the credit for which should be shared with guitarist Nathan Hiltz who is the main instrumental support and negotiates the shifts in style with taste and personality that never overwhelms. The rhythm section is ably rounded out by Ernesto Cervini on drums and Ross MacIntyre on bass. Lauren’s CD release event is March 1 at The Rex in Toronto. Check for details. - WholeNote Magazine

"Five New Songs Worth a Listen"

“I won’t rest until I am my best for you.” The Toronto chanteuse can now put up her feet – she’s lovely with her strummy and breezy elegance, which seems absolutely good to us. - The Globe and Mail

"Your Mess - Melissa Lauren - The Whole Note"

Your Mess
Melissa Lauren
Independent ML2015 (

Melissa Lauren is a prolific young songwriter and she has released her second album of (mostly) original songs in three years. Lauren collaborated on songwriting and production for Your Mess with Toronto bassist Mark Cashion. The album is about the chaos and heartbreak of life as we stumble our way through and despite such relatively serious themes the songs are mostly upbeat and playful.

The album opens with two songs – Room is Too Small and Walk Behind Me – that have an air of the 50s and 60s about them as Lauren adds a bit of gutsiness to her delicate, pretty voice. The title track is given a sort of New Orleans style with swampy effect courtesy of guitarist Eric St-Laurent and Sly Juhas on drums. The album is sparingly produced with guitar, bass and drums in various combinations being the main accompaniment, but guitarist Nathan Hiltz breaks out the uke and gets strummy for the bouncy Houses which is all about being content with your current situation and which suits Lauren's voice to a T. There is a sprinkling of covers on Your Mess and the band's gorgeous slowed-down take on the Police tune Every Little Thing He Does is Magic is a highlight -

"Melissa Lauren - The Other Side"

Melissa Lauren can sing. And write. And she takes gorgeous risks, turning notes inside-out without ever landing flat or straining. On The Other Side, we hear nearly all originals, and Melissa's voice rings with intelligence. It's never forced or coy, like so many vocal albums today. Instead, she has a girlish modern sound, and her melodies and lyrics are engaging and meaningful. Sample Art Class, Wrapped Around My Finger and Senses. Think Stacey Kent and Kat Edmonson. And as a songwriter, she's a winner. An album for fans of female vocalists who have all the Songbook stuff they will ever need and are looking for something exquisite and dynamic. - jazzwax


The Other Side  - 2012
Your Mess - 2015



Melissa's Newest Project:  "Melissa and Nathan":

Melissa Lauren and jazz guitarist Nathan Hiltz have been
performing, writing and recording together for the better part of ten
years. With similar and complimentary styles, the musical pairing is a
natural one; The music: their own brand of old school jazz, Do-wap and
blues mixed with indie pop inflections and sounds. After many years of
performing together in a variety of settings and bands. And recently
having a baby and getting married , we are finally collaborating
together in a duo format. Their soon to be released duo album, is being
treated as true record: one side originals, showcasing Melissa’s folky
pop dreamworld, the other, standards, in which Nathan’s virtuosic
comfort in jazz and it’s idioms shines.

The duo have a collective thirty plus years of performance
experience. Both have worked with an impressive roster of Canadian
talent,and toured North America extensively. The live show is charming,
and calls people from all walks of life to trust their hearts to
Lauren’s frank yet soothing word puzzles, and Hiltz’ deep grounding in
rich harmony and supportive groove.  The touring format will include
bass and drums for larger stages and festivals.

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. Her latest album, "Your Mess" was released in October to quick
charting and radio play across Canada. 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.

The singer’s love for swing and jazz music began when she started
performing with the Toronto All-Star Big Band as a young teen. 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. Melissa is debuts a slightly edgier and mature sound on the new
project, “Your Mess.” After spending early adulthood immersed in the
Toronto club scene, and working with DJs, producers and different Indie
pop bands, she ventured away from jazz a little in her songwriting.

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. Her latest album, "Your
Mess" was released in October to quick charting and radio play across
Canada. 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.

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 North By North East. While touring Canada
has become a constant in her touring life, she was thrilled to debut in
Europe this Spring with shows in Germany, Hungary, Netherlands and
Poland. 2017 also so her nominated for the Stingray Rising Star award at
the Halifax Jazz Festival.

Nathan Hiltz (B.Mus, M.Mus) is a Juno winning jazz guitarist who was
born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Based in Toronto since 1999, he
attended Humber College and The University of Toronto. He studied jazz
guitar with Reg Schwager, Jim Hall, Adam Rogers and many others. Over
the course of his professional career he has played on over 25 albums
and toured extensively across Canada. Nathan is a mentor to many
aspiring guitarists from his home teaching studio and as a part time
faculty member at Humber College. H

Lauren and Hiltz first combined song-writing efforts on the singer’s
debut album, “The Other Side” on which they co-wrote three of the
tracks, all of which received critic praise and radio support.

Band Members