She hoped to be the second American Idol, camping outside in a line of 7,000 contestants in Los Angeles.
Paula Abdul told her, “You have a really strong voice. You’re a powerhouse and you have soul to boot.”
Simon Cowell said she had a “very good audition.”
She made it to the top 200 contestants. However, 23-year-old Melissa Ann was cut from the competition, sending her acoustic/pop/blues voice home to try hitting it big on her own.
Long before her American Idol auditions, Melissa performed anywhere she could in her hometown of Lewiston/Clarkston as a young girl. Her first gig was a talent show where at just five years old she sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
Two years later, she auditioned to sing in front of a crowd of 3,000 for the Fourth of July celebration and won. From then on, she earned numerous awards from local fairs and competitions.
Melissa wrote her first song when she was 16, spurring a desire to write more. In Lewiston, she enjoyed performances with a local band named Coltrain. “They’re a very good band and lots of people know of them because they perform a lot,” she said. So when she moved to Cheney to study communication disorders, she held auditions for her own band, adding a pianist, drummer and guitarist. She released her first demo CD, titled These Yellow Lines in December 2006.
Currently, she’s working on her first full-length album, Reserved Until Further Notice, which goes on sale at the end of the summer.
As an artist, Melissa hopes that people will be able to relate to her lyrics. “The songs are pretty much my diary,” she said. “The songs are about what I’m going through at that moment. So you know where I am in my life by listening to the song that I’m singing…”
One song, titled “Waiting for You”, has a line that goes “Caught him cheating and I don’t know why” which Melissa says is about how girls tend to blame themselves for things that go wrong in a relationship. “That’s how girls feel. If a guy cheats on them, they usually take it internally because we’re weird that way. We don’t think, ‘Screw that guy! He must be a dunce!’ We think about that later on.” She says the most difficult part of her music is booking for shows.
“I am my own agent,” she said. “I make sure we have our shows. You know, we always have a show like every weekend. I try to do that and if we’re not having a show, I try to make sure we’re recording. I make sure we get time in the recording studio.”
Balancing music and school hasn’t hurt her grades. With a 3.7 overall gpa (not to mention she’s taking a neuroscience course this quarter), Melissa says she’s learned to adapt to the pressure. “I’m really quick at getting homework done. I’ve learned to be very fast, which kind of sometimes means the quality isn’t always the best.”
Her major, she says, is just a back up plan in case her singing career doesn’t work out. “I know that there is a plan for me to share my music. It is just a matter of time.”
Eventually, Melissa wants to get signed by an independent label so they can help promote her band. She wants “someone who, maybe I’m not making money, but they’ll take me on and they’ll pay for like studio time… They would make sure that I’m booked all the time because it benefits them.” In the meantime, she’s sticking to local performances. To listen to songs, check upcoming performance dates or to purchase a CD, check out her Myspace page or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. “I totally want people to support local artists,” Melissa said. “I think it’s very important because it’s such a hard business to get into.”