Toronto-based singer and songwriter Melissa Lauren has smoothly made the transition from veteran swing “crooness” to song-writer. 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.
A recent recipient of Factor Canada's Juried Sound Recording grant, Melissa is currently recording a new album, to be released in early 2022. Her latest project, "My Voice" is an audience-crafted collection of songs. Curated after a series of house concerts and a Canadian Tour, the repertoire or “playlist” consists of the songs that resonated most with listeners and has been adjusted slightly to fit the state of our virtual world.
“Like many people during the pandemic, I spent a lot of time at home contemplating my navel. Eventually, my own little house became my whole world. During this time, if we are lucky enough to have a home, it becomes a little microcosm of the outside world. Relationships re-imagined, torn apart, re-defined….There are songs on this album about getting completely lost in a box, there are songs about poisoning your spouse….but there are also songs about the heaven of someone’s eye colour. Ultimately, “My Voice” is about hearing each other.”
Produced by multi-instrumentalist Tyler Emond (Tyler Shaw, Alyssia Cara, Matt Dusk) the album mixes sounds of folky-pop, dreamy 60's, and desert synth to create a distinct flavour that settles somewhere between the new and the old. 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 Emond's deep grounding in rich harmony and supportive groove. The touring format includes bass, guitars, and drums for larger stages and festivals.
Melissa kicks the 2021/2022 show season off with the honour of an official showcase with Folk Music Ontario. No stranger to the stage, Melissa got a strong start as a teen touring and performing across North America with The Toronto All-Star Big Band. She spent her early adulthood finding her sound and paving her way in the Canadian music scene as a songwriter, performer, and musical director. The songwriter debuted virtually at Folk Alliance International, 2021, and has toured across North America and Europe; highlights include the Halifax International Jazz Festival, Yardbird Festival, New Skool Rules urban and roots festival in Rotterdam, NL, Canada Music Week, NXNW, and a series of club and house concerts in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, and Canmore in 2019 as well as a 2018 tour across Eastern Europe.
Melissa's sophomore album, "Your Mess" was released to great charting and review across Canada. The first single released in Canada, “Send Them Away,” was song of the week on CBC radio in Toronto, and nominated for a Toronto Independent Music Award.
In addition to her own music, Melissa has 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.
"It's a confidant album with plenty of charm. If you like your jazz outside of the box, this is the disc for you."
Garvia Baily, Big City Small World, CBC
"Lauren has a beguiling voice that mixes sweet playfulness with solid technique, control and range."
Cathy Riches, Wholenote Magazine
"Melissa Lauren is a real jazz singer, good in the way Blossom Dearie or Stacie Kent are good. Once you hear her sing, you want to keep listening."
Stanley Fefferman, The Opus One Review
"Melissa Lauren can sing. And Write...she takes gorgeous risks turning notes inside-out without ever landing flat or straining. As a Songwriter, she's a winner."
Marc Myers, Jazzwax
""I won't rest until I am my best for you."" The Toronto Chanteuse can now put up her feet - she's lovely with her strum my and breezy elegance, which is absolutely good to us. "
Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail