Big Boys Don’t Cry – Single
Stay Gone – Single
Sobered Up – Single
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Melissa Bel has been captivating audiences and listeners her whole life. As she explains, “My mom would say I started singing before I started talking. I remember being in daycare as a two year-old and singing for everybody. I have a vivid memory from age six of looking in the mirror and saying ‘I’m going to be a singer.’ I was just so sure that nothing else was going to happen.”
To realize this enduring aspiration, Melissa picked up the guitar at age 14, attended singing lessons from age 12, and took vocal music classes and sang in the choir at school, all of which has provided her with invaluable experience for her calling. Since 2010, Melissa has enjoyed a positive critical and popular reception to her full-length album, Brave (2010) and two mini-albums, Distance (2011) and Don’t Forget to Breathe (2013), which have chronicled both her personal loves and losses, as well as the gripping evolution of her musical style.
Through her three albums thus far, Melissa has demonstrated her wide range – both in her ability to boldly master different genres, and with her larger-than-life voice. Each of these records received glowing reviews, and music critics and her fans now eagerly anticipate her next album, which will be released in November 2016.
Melissa’s compelling musical evolution is paralleled by her own personal journey, both as a musician and a young woman carving a place for herself in the world. At only 26 years old, the Toronto-based musician now finds herself living and working in the United Kingdom, having made the bold decision to pull up her roots and relocate in order to live with her partner in Devon, England. What began as a trip to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding in 2015 led to a passionate whirlwind relationship that has already changed her life. As Melissa explains, “I hadn’t set out to fall in love; I’d set out to find my musical self, to see the world, and absorb its influences into my writing style. And of course when I was least expecting it, fall in love I did – and what’s better inspiration for songwriting than that!” And with that, the talented young writer and performer radically shifted her lifestyle from the hip metropolis of downtown Toronto to the quaint countryside of Devon, and is looking forward to how these changes will inform her musical development.
Such uprooting will seem startling to some; however, rapid evolution is not a new concept to Melissa. Over the course of six years and three albums, Melissa has taken great pleasure in developing the unique sound that now reflects her creative personality, which she describes as “pop-soul.” With the creative support of producer/songwriter Justin Gray – who has notably worked with such major names as Joss Stone, John Legend, Deborah Cox, and Amy Winehouse – Melissa is delighted to say, “I think musically and artistically I’m exactly where I should be right now.”
Music critics and fans will agree whole-heartedly with Melissa’s self-assessment. Her new album features fiery attitude and killer groove in “Sobered Up,” as well as infectious popular sound and big production in “Stay Gone,” in which she laments, “every time you leave, then come crawling back to me, it ain’t fair to keep me hanging on, when I want you to stay gone.” Both tracks, which will be featured on her upcoming EP, were co-written by Melissa with Justin Gray and Drew Lawrence (co-writer of the Christina Perri hit “Jar of Hearts”), and produced by Gray. A French version of “Sobered Up,” “Mon Sauveur,” was released to a resoundingly positive reception in Quebec, where Melissa has enjoyed great success. The 2016 EP will also include “Dirty Word,” an up-tempo pop-based track with an infectious groove, and “In the Light,” a vulnerable ballad that will no doubt be played during the first dance at countless weddings for how it encapsulates the naked hope and fear of finding profound, visceral love.
Melissa’s personal and musical journeys have been intensely informed by her maturity, sensitivity, and thoughtfulness – traits which have contributed both to her personal struggles and her creative inspiration. Having begun her journey in Toronto, established a reputation and a passionate fan base in Quebec, and found love in Las Vegas, Melissa is looking toward her future in the United Kingdom. She’s come a very long way, and she’s eager to keep going.
Written by: Gillian Shields
Mar 26 / 1PM / Southampton, UK
Venue: The Platform Tavern