Thursday, 8 September 2016

New Music Video

Copycat (girlfriend) marks the return for Australian songstress Melissa James, who had a hit single and top 20 in the ARIA dance charts in the 1990s with the track 'Baby Come Back'.

After launching the single, Copycat (girlfriend) live at The Vineyard, St Kilda in August  this year, Melissa has released the music video.

So let’s back up a bit for those who missed this strong pop-rock single. While the title ‘Copycat (girlfriend)” may prepare you for something you expect to hear on a teen movie, don’t be fooled by the cute title. There’s a Divinyls / Baby Animals edge to the song that aims to encourage and inspire young adults to embrace one’s natural physical features and not a “copy” of someone else.  

“I hear it every day with teens wanting blonde hair and blue eyes because that’s what they’ve been told is the ideal beauty,” says Melissa.  “But this is so wrong. You can be beautiful with brown eyes and brown hair.  This is what my song is about.. .believing in yourself.”

You fake it all the time
Is that my dress you're wearing tonight?
Your makeup looks like mine
You just want to be me all the time

Copycat (Girlfriend) was created by band member, Shane Ryall. He was inspired by a conversation he was having with his music students. They all wanted to be someone else and as the conversation went further it triggered the disturbing realisation that young teenagers are both susceptible and conditioned to what other people do. He knew that if society didn’t start teaching them to love themselves and stop trying to be a copy of someone else, they will grow up to be very unhappy adults. Shane later discussed this with Melissa who could relate to the teenagers after spending most of her childhood trying to be someone else, which created identity issues and low self-esteem. 

“I felt uncomfortable and had very low self-esteem about it,” says Melissa. “I would rather not go out and stay in my bedroom where I was most comfortable.”

When Melissa was scheduled to write another song with Shane, it became instinctively obvious to them what their next song should be about. The music to Copycat (Girlfriend) came first and the lyrics followed. The music video was choreographed and produced by Melissa and focuses on the insecurity and uncertainty of a girl not knowing who she is. She sits alone in black holding up a wardrobe of fragmented clothing to her body but nothing suits her. The awkwardness of failed attempts and jerking movements as she sings the chorus really brings the message home that none of these “looks” suits her because they are not her own.

“We are rapt that the music and sounds have an “in your face” pop element,” says Melissa. “It has lavish vocals with stripped back guitar keeping it a radio friendly pop tune.”

The captivating new single 'Copycat (girlfriend) is available to purchase now on iTunes, Google Play, and for streaming on Spotify and other services. The single includes an instrumental and acapella version of the track, and is available now.

Monday, 6 June 2016


“Someone once said “play the starring role of your life, not the supporting role.  Funny enough you start to see things differently.  You begin to be more decisive, assertive.” Melissa James

After the successful release of her strong pop rock “Copycat (girlfriend)”, we caught up with Melissa to get a sneak peek of her upcoming contemporary rock track, “Searching”.

“Searching is about life, relationships and how I see them,” says Melissa. “It’s important not to wait for anyone and to take charge of your own life.”

Melissa wrote and produced Searching herself. The song started as a hum, which Melissa recorded on her mobile. Then day by day, the hum transformed into a melody with lyrics and guitar.

“My melodies all come naturally, they just happen. Searching came when I was in the shower,” Melissa smiles. “When I connect with a melody, I hum it on my phone then build on it.” 

Drawing from past experiences and observing relationships in general, Melissa wanted to tap into a human situation that most could relate to. She remembered a quote someone once said to her, “play the starring role of your life, not the supporting role,” and it really turned her life around.  It saddened Melissa when she discovered that so many were at the place she once was, in unhappy relationships.

“When I was told to stop playing 'the supporting role', I started to see things differently.  You begin to be more decisive, assertive.  That quote is like a whack across the face telling you to wake up and smell the coffee!” explains Melissa. “Some relationships just never go to the next level and you feel like you’re at a standstill and you wanted more. When you reach this stage then do something about it, say something, don’t be afraid.”

Melissa wanted to send out the same message that she had once received but unlike most songs of the heart, Melissa’s story couldn’t be cocooning. It had to be real and obviously her song expresses a lot of frustration; it’s in the chorus of the song.  But through the frustration there is also a gentle solace that sticks in powerful guitars with an alternative rock groove.

I can't wait any longer
Even though you want me in your life
I won't chase anymore cos
I know you don't have me in your heart

“Searching basically lets the listener know it’s okay to ask questions,” continues Melissa.  “Once you feel a bit of doubt then it’s okay.  You help yourself by addressing what you’ve invested so much time and energy in.  It’s okay to let go and move on.”

Don't you come my way
There'll be no one for you
I would rather be
fanciful and carefree

The new song is scheduled to be released with a raw rock video clip in July/August so watch this space.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Life as an Artist

“Being an Artist is hard work.  Whoever thinks it’s a simple career is kidding themselves.” Melissa James

The tales of fame and fortune make a singing career appealing to many people, especially the young. But the reality is that it’s not all about pursuing earthly glory and living in the fast lane.  

“A lot of musicians can become loners,” says Melissa. “You don’t live a very social lifestyle as people think.”  

According to our very own Melbourne singer, Melissa James, singers across the board have to work hard and every artist struggles on many levels.  In most cases, if you live to tell the tales of your climb to success, you are among the fortunate ones.

“Being an artist is a 24 hour career,” says Melissa.  “You need to look good, feel good, eat well, drink plenty of water, and look after your instrument being your voice.  Your hair and skin needs to look healthy, we get judged on every level, from head to toe.  Most turn to drugs and alcohol just to conjure up some confidence to hit the stage.”  

While the lifestyle of an artist varies, the fan expectations remain the same.  If you don’t impress, you won’t make it.  So a singer has to work hard writing songs, rehearsing songs, and working on their performance abilities. Then there is touring, which takes a lot of time and energy, and can mean that a singer is on the road more than they are at home. On the road, most stay at cheap hotels, eat at the local hotel restaurant and sometimes skipped dinner altogether to catch up on some sleep.  Most singers perform at night, so staying up late is par for the course.  So is it still worth it?

“It is worth it in the end when your fans love you. They go out of their way to attend your concerts and buy your albums!” says Melissa with excitement. “I remember a two month tour I did with Rockmelons and Paul Gray from Wa Wa Nee.  We did a NYE gig along with Kate Ceberano and Noiseworks at Coffs Harbour. There were thousands of people..  we had so much fun singing and dancing for them with Wendy J who was the other backup singer.”

Melissa shared more with us on Ashely Cadell’s involvement in getting her the two month tour with Rockmelons and the rehearsals required in Sydney.  Ashely also co-wrote with Melissa -- Beautiful Day, Left in the Cold and Somebody Like You, but we will savour these for another story. So back to touring the east and west coast around in a Tarago “the sexy people mover” where Melissa broke into some freestyle dancing and did high five jumps on stage.

“Wendy J and I were in a band together in Melbourne called ‘New Jacks’ we covered the whole 90’s cover scene.  The Rockmelons called us the ‘new kids on the block’, haha,” Melissa laughs.  “We were a dynamite band, seven of us on stage playing to hundreds of Melbourne club goers..ahh those were the days!”

Finally, we asked Melissa what was her most memorable touring moment.

“One show on the tour that stood out for me was when we were performing with Dragon at the Sydney Opera House, just incredible and that was with Marc Hunter.  He sure had the whole city mesmerised!  Glad I got to see him live,  he truly was one of Australia’s best frontmen.” 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Copycat (Girlfriend)

“Copycat (girlfriend) is about believing in yourself.” Melissa James

Whether you’ve heard her on Adelaide’s KIXX Radio or seen her climbing the Euro Indie charts, Melissa James just keeps giving us more and there's something coming this April. We are really excited to give you a little inside scoop on her next song and film clip, “Copycat (girlfriend)”.

“One day when Shane and I were sitting down playing riffs on the guitar,” says Melissa. “Shane starts telling me these funny cute stories and with that came the title Copycat (girlfriend).”

Melissa met band member, Shane Ryall years ago in a soul classics band called ‘The Grand Wazoo’. Shane was the guitarist and Melissa was one of the singers and together they have written almost an album full of songs that are listened to worldwide. Some of their song reviews have been incredible! 

“Great sound!! I am listening to your tunes and really like it :) Just a moment ago I enjoyed listening to "Like This Like That.” ~ Jason Rouvel Australia Canberra

“I bet you hear this all the time, but I was genuinely amazed when I first heard one of your tunes online Like This Like That.” ~ Nicholas. Canada

“Hi! If I were walking along the streets of New York at night, contemplating and wondering, "Like This Like That" would be the tune in the background. My love for this one will never fade away.” ~ Brianna Green – United States

While the title of Copycat (girlfriend) may prepare you for a bouncy song with fresh and youthful vibes, don’t be fooled by its cute title. There is an edge to the song that opens up the song’s true meaning about personal identity and embracing one’s natural physical features. 

The song aims to especially inspire young adults to be comfortable within themselves regardless of hair and eye colour and stop trying to be a “copy” of someone else.  

You fake it all the time
Is that my dress you're wearing tonight?
Your makeup looks like mine
You just want to be me all the time

“I worked on this track with Doug Brady and Shane,” says Melissa “We are rapt that the music and sounds have an “in your face” pop element both musically and vocally!”

Copycat (girlfriend) is scheduled to release in April so stay tuned.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Swept Away

“I am currently working on a new song ‘Swept Away’.  It will have acoustic guitars, a simple melody and catchy hooks.” Melissa James

We caught up with our Melbourne singer/songwriter, Melissa James on her upcoming song, “Swept Away.”  

Having written many fun and breezy songs, Melissa and long term band member, Shane Ryall, are scheduled to lay down the tracks of a slightly different song. While it’s a pop number, the song has a very serious theme. It was inspired by the world refugee crisis in 2015 where millions of Syrians fled their homes because of the conflict within their home country, half of them being children. It was when a three-year-old Syrian boy’s body was washed up on a beach in Turkey in a desperate attempt to flee to Canada, the world was forced to see how deadly the Syrian civil war has become.  

“Inspired by the shock and tragic news of this little boy washed up at sea, Shane was so touched that he went away and named the song ‘Swept Away’ after this tragedy,” says Melissa.  “Asylum seekers’ lives are precious and the children need saving, we need to provide them with a good life.”

While one may expect minor chords of melancholy and an undercurrent of mourning and sadness in the new song, Melissa has superbly turned the suffering into something of pride and strength with a mixture of happiness and love weaved into catchy hooks. The lyrics mostly revolve around love so that they are easier to relate to. 

“Swept Away, without an emotion,
‘Swept Away, like a boat in the ocean,
‘Swept Away, your love’s like a potion,
‘Swept Away for love”

The sweet simple groovy melody with happy acoustic guitar has a pleasant way of surprising us about how the human brain processes sadness and a breezy beat all at the same time. The song soothes the emotions and good for our mental health. 

“‘Swept Away’ is not a sad song, I have made it a happy love song,” continues Melissa. “It’s about love, whether it’s for a precious child, family or partner and how beautiful it is when it arrives.”

The new song is scheduled to record in February 2016 so watch this space.