Alexa Melo is intense. This is immediately evident upon even a cursory listen to her self-titled debut album, independently released in June, 2015. Whether it’s the propulsive, darkly compelling “She’s in Your Shadow,” the slinky, sultry “Dead End” or the gorgeous piano ballad “Call This Love,” Alexa explores the myriad minefields of 21st century relationships with a distinctive, original voice and musical vision.
Twenty year-old Alexa has already acquired more performing and songwriting experience and music biz savvy than many who’ve lived twice that span of years. A native of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, her family relocated to Los Angeles a decade ago and she began writing and recording her own songs, first on keyboard before exploring the production capabilities of GarageBand. By the time she was thirteen she’d taught herself piano, bass, harmonica and ukulele, but it was the guitar she truly connected with as a primary tool for composing and performing live. A year later, she signed with a major label…and then things began to get interesting.
While Alexa wished to work in the rock/alternative realm, especially given her now exceptional lead guitar-playing skills, the label possessed a different vision. Though she spent the next five years shuttling from one producer to another in an attempt to find common ground, the effort proved elusive. Meanwhile, Alexa had set up a small ProTools studio and was continually writing and recording new music – an astonishing thirteen albums worth of material in six years. Recognizing that their creative differences were unlikely to be reconciled, artist and label parted ways.
This experience doubtless informs one of the standout tunes on the new album, “Bleach,” which Alexa says is about, “The brainwashing and manipulating that occurs in the media and entertainment business and how easily your true colors can fade if it successfully breaks down your spirit. It’s about mustering up the courage to not conform and pave your own way.”
Alexa certainly lives up to that sentiment on the new album. Working with producer Christian James Hand (The Mowgli’s), she’s crafted an exquisite collection of compositions spanning the emotional spectrum.
“The artists that mostly influenced this body of work are Radiohead, Bjork, Portishead, Jack White and Pink Floyd,” she notes, continuing, “But each song’s influences are very specific.”
While many of those influences are apparent on the album, Alexa’s soaring vocals and sonic visions brand the resulting songs as purely her own.
Alexa Melo is more than ready to begin the next chapter of her life as an independent artist. She’s steadily building a buzz and garnering a fiercely loyal fan base with her six-piece live band, both of which figure to expand with the release of her debut album. The powerful first single “Still Right Here” brings the urgency of an undeniable talent ready to be heard.
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