Her voice has power and soul. It's a voice all the more remarkable because it belongs to a petite, fresh-faced 24-year old, Toronto's Melissa Bel.
Her debut album, Brave, came at the age of 18 after deciding to forgo post-secondary schooling to pursue her lifelong dream of a career as an artist. The album received widespread radio play in Germany where she performed a whirlwind tour of 14 shows in 16 days.
Bel released her sophomore album, Distance, in April 2012 which quickly reached No. 1 on Montreal's CIBL Jazz and Blues charts the following summer. Since the release of Distance, Bel has played regularly in Montreal, most notably to a crowd of approximately 8000 people at Festiblues in August 2013 where she performed alongside some of Quebec's biggest blues artists such as Bob Walsh and Nanette Workman.
Bel performed at the 2012 Andy Kim Christmas show in Toronto where she shared the stage with the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Colin James, Serena Ryder and Sloan. In April and May of 2013, she opened for Canadian Juno award winner Matthew Good at two shows in London, England and one in New York City.
In June 2013 Bel released a brand new 7-song EP, Don't Forget to Breathe, which she followed up with numerous shows in Quebec and Ontario throughout the latter half of 2013. This record witnessed the artist exploring her musical voice and progressively breaking through her comfort zone.
"I dont think I've written a truer song than Dont Forget to Breathe, says Bel, and I dont think I couldve picked a better title to represent the album. Its so easy to lose yourself in the chaotic pace of life, so this song is a reminder to myself and to others to live in the moment, and to just take a second to breathe."
Notable moments for Bel in 2014 included a showcase at NXNE, opening for Tegan and Sara at a TD Music Cafe event in Toronto, and touring internationally as a backup vocalist with up-and-upcoming Atlantic Records artist Francesco Yates.
Bel is currently in the process of writing new material for her next release and has co-written tracks with notable songwriters such as Gavin Brown, Bryan Potvin, Andrea England, Jesse Weeks and Douglas Romanow.