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.”