Toronto based singer and songwriter Melissa Lauren has smoothly made the transition from veteran swing “crooness” to songwriter. The music - her own brand of old school jazz, Do-wap and blues mixed with indie pop inflections and sounds....very much a product of her early musical training meeting her adult musical encounters.
Her latest project, “plus guitar” is a collaboration with guitarist Nathan Hiltz. 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.
With ten plus years of performing and writing together in a variety of settings and bands, the two became partners in life, had a baby and married. The two are finally collaborating together in a duo format. Their soon to be released 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. While some songs will showcase the duo raw and unaccompanied, others feature the intuitive talents of Tyler Emond on bass and Ben Riley on drums.
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.
Melissa's love for swing and jazz music began when she started performing with the Toronto All-Star Big Band; she continued singing with them until 2004. 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. She has performed at local and International music festivals and series, including the Halifax Jazz Festival, Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, Beaches International Jazz Festival, Markham Jazz Festival and Oakville International Jazz Festival as well as Canadian Music Week, North By North East Festival, Kensington Market Jazz Festival, Sudbury Jazz Fastival, Toronto Harbourfront Music Series, the Home Smith jazz series, and has had residencies in Toronto at places such as the Rex and the Cameron House. Summer saw her a nomination for best artist at the Halifax International Jazz Festival’s Stingray Music Competition.
While touring Canada has become a constant in her touring life, Melissa was thrilled to debut in Europe this Spring with shows in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Poland.
Melissa's sophomore album, "Your Mess" was released to great charting and review 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.
In addition to her own music, Melissa has recently been lending her voice to studio work in the electronic music scene. She has sung on five of producer/writer Hibernate’s recently released tracks, one of which was the opening track one of seminal pioneer trance DJ Paul Oakenfold’s compilation albums, released under Perfecto Records.