There isn’t a professional musician alive who hasn’t benefited from a bit of good luck on their way to success.
Yet as you hear about the many serendipitous stops along Melissa Marchese’ journey, you get the sense that her path to the stage is less luck, and more preordained.
Her passion and talent for music emerged early, prompting her to take up musical theatre at an early age. Yet it was (seemingly?) random chance that put her in place at a Mother’s Day Telethon on local TV in Hamilton to meet Elaine Overholt.
Unbeknownst to Melissa, Elaine was an accomplished vocal coach, sought after by Hollywood filmmakers and recording artists. “She saw just something in me and invited me to take lessons…actually the first time I went to her house, there was a message posted on her fridge saying ‘Mom, Richard Gere called.’”
Elaine’s tutelage, combined with an immersion in Hamilton’s thriving scene, provided a rich education to develop her repertoire. “I really grew up as a musician here, particularly at clubs like Absinthe and This Ain’t Hollywood. Hamilton shaped me.”
Influenced by female singer-songwriters like Alanis, Shania, and “anyone who is dope and a chick and sings,” Melissa found her stride alongside the hard rock artists the city regularly produces; her authentic blend of alternative and folk resonating with audiences.
“Hamilton is a no B.S. Town, and that comes across in our music.”
After a few more years of gigs (and a sizeable following), another happenstance put Melissa into contact with Gavin Brown and Maia Davies, the talented team helping to elevate her career.
“It was Valentine’s Day, and I was very broken hearted. My friend decided to take me on a night out in Toronto with her roommate, Maia. We stopped by to pick Maia up at a studio where she was in the middle of recording her own record. They needed someone to sing backup vocals and they just threw me in the booth.”
Gavin (a giant in the industry, having worked with the Barenaked Ladies, Billy Talent and the Tragically Hip over the years) liked what he heard and invited Melissa to sing backup for Maia at Canadian Music Week.
It was through their collaboration that Melissa developed the concept for Je T’aime, an imaginative event designed to generate the momentum to launch and market Melissa’s first record.
The unique evening will feature Melissa, accompanied by a lineup of local performing artists (including Gavin and Maia) and a fashion show from Blackbird Studios, a noted Hamilton design team.