This interview was a personal one.. Melissa and I have been friends for about 8 years! Not only is she an incredible multi-talented artist (musician, actress, model) but she carries herself with passion, advocacy, and strength. I feel honoured to be featuring her on Callo and am excited to celebrate her new single that was just released "Breathe Underwater".
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Both my parents were musicians, and played in a band together, touring around Australia. So music was an everyday thing in my household. I lived a block from the beach, so the ocean has always been such a big influence on my life. I started playing piano at the age of 6, when my sister and I begged our parents (and also got a petition of 100 signatures from kids at our school!) to get us a piano and lessons. I haven't stopped playing since, so I guess you could say the investment was worthwhile! I had always been a singer, my parents taught my sister and I to do 4 part harmonies with them, I always took the soprano parts, being the youngest and with the highest range. During piano lessons I found myself yearning to play pop songs and things on the radio, and my teacher was wonderful enough to oblige (while making sure I played classical pieces for my exams too!). I joined a performing academy in my teens called Janz, and really learned to hone my skills in performance, musicality and singing. I performed at bars, restaurants and events in Melbourne, before getting scouted and signed as a model. I took many international modelling contracts, living all around the world and was able to perform and write music while travelling.
Your journey as an actress:
I did musical theatre as a child, but never really had an interest in acting until my boyfriend (now husband) convinced me to give film and tv acting a try in Toronto. I continued acting in Vancouver, landing a few small roles on several TV shows filmed here. I've since found a huge passion for writing for film, something I feel goes alongside songwriting. My love for telling stories is something I've always pursued in different mediums, and writing for film feels like a natural fit! 2 how did I learn to produce own music: For my original EP, I co-wrote and produced it with 2 awesome producers from Melbourne. I spent hours in the studio with them, watching them work on the tracks. I'm pretty sure I annoyed them with the hundreds of questions I asked, but I truly do owe it to them for teaching me the ins and outs of how to make a track from scratch!
Challenges and barriers faced when trying to create own style and artistry brand:
Tuning out the noise, and picking who and what to listen to. By that I mean there are always going to be a lot of people (both well meaning or ill informed) wanting to give their opinions on your artistic style and creations. You're the only one who knows what sound/story you want to create. Everyone will have an opinion, be it good or bad, however I feel like you must stay true to your sound and goals. Money is also a huge one! Music is one of the hardest and most thankless jobs. Some people tend to treat people in creative jobs as pursuing a “hobby”. Learning to say no to performing for free at gigs where another artist would be paid, has been a big learning curve for me in the past few years.
What are some advice/tips you would give to others:
Exposure is a dirty word in the creative industry! With that said, I love doing charity work, or work-in-kind, which means working for trade. For example I would perform at an event for free, if the event organiser/venue agreed to host my next album launch etc.
Which direction do you see your music going in terms of your story and where you are in life right now:
I want to be performing and creating, whether it be in modelling, music or film.
Favourite Callo Jewelry:
The song was born from diving. Ever since my first dive in 2008 with my sister and friend in Koh Phi Phi, I knew I was hooked on being a mermaid. (Pun intended.) I became obsessed with sun-seeking and more importantly looking for the perfect dive, an underwater world full of marine life - fish, turtles and coral. Growing up in Australia, I was practically born by the sea, spending every Summer and many seasons in between by the ocean. I like the idea of leaving it up to the listener to decide whether I’m singing from a scuba diver’s point of view, or a siren/mermaid’s song.
For those of you who have dived before, you'll understand the calmness and impressiveness that comes from being 40m below the surface of the ocean. I hope this song can convey how truly beautiful it is in this mysterious blue world beneath the waves.
Want to find out what the process of writing and producing this song herself meant? Click Here: Creating "Breathe Underwater"
"Breathe Underwater" is now available on YouTube, Spotify, Google Music, iTunes!
What I love about this song myself as I find that it resonates with our brand and it gives a sense of hope and calmness all together tying in the mysterious beautiful ocean and our earth providing clarity, nourishment and mindfulness to our mind, body and soul. I think that this song release is perfect timing with everything we are all going through at this moment. I cannot stop playing it on repeat!
Much love and gratitude,
Founder & CEO