I met Mel on the scene, and loved her immediately for her warmth, smarts, and naughtiness. Then I heard her sing at an event, and I went nuts (a networking event without cameras, thank goodness). She’s the real deal, and will light up your event. We all love Mel; read why.
How did your business blossom?
It was funny, it took a while for word to get out. I actually started trying to hustle the band in 2010 but we didn’t actually start booking anything until 2011. By 2012, it was like “OK, CLEARLY THE WORD IS OUT NOW,” and we had just blown up. I wish someone had let me know that was a possibility because that was also the year I was getting married. I had no idea how swamped we would be, but we weathered the storm just fine and learned a lot along the way.
How did you discover your talent?
I’ve been singing since I could open my mouth. My first “big break” was at my 2nd grade Christmas concert where I sleighed (get it?) with a sassy little number called “Ho Ho Ho, It’s Christmas.” My dad was a professional musician and child guitar prodigy so I’ve been around music all my life and grew up gigging with my dad. Very grateful to have had his influence and to have inherited some of his talent.
Do you work alone, or do lead a team?
Both! I do all the running-the-business stuff by myself, sometimes delegating to an intern or a very part time amazing associate, and then I lead my band, which is very much a rad team that I love with my entire heart.
What is your process with wedding clients before the wedding?
Super fun! First we figure out what they want and need. I don’t have firm packages dictating, “this is what your wedding needs.” I have lots of customizable options, different band sizes, ceremony and cocktail hour options from our moonshine bluegrass and Moxie Jazz configurations, so we sort that out.
Then we get to the super fun part — choosing music! For ceremony music it usually goes one of two ways: folks either have specific songs they’ve wanted to hear as they walk down the aisle since they knew their betrothed was *the one* (that we are always happy to learn for them), or they desperately need suggestions! Either way is great.
For the reception music, I send over our enormous list of songs and couples go through and choose allll their favorite songs (many opt to enjoy a bottle of wine or two during the selection process) and send it back to me with any special songs like a first dance or family dances (which we are happy to learn if they aren’t already on our list) noted and their approximate timeline.
I then go through and obsessively curate the perfect setlist to suit the vibe of their wedding, their timeline, and the couple! I like to get a sense of the guests at the wedding so that I can make sure that everyone will feel included, that there’s something for your cousin who only knows top 40 hits, your grandparents who still got it, your hip college buddies, your auntie who lived her best life in the 70’s and freaks out when we play Fleetwood Mac. We’re playing for four hours – why not make everyone happy?!
How do you continue to grow as an artist?
By staying active in lots of other, non-cover music. I’m in a few original music bands, some as a front person, some as a sidelady/background singer, and I do as much recording work as I can. Constantly searching for musical irons to stick in the fire.
I actually just started a new band in December that I’m playing guitar in, and I play autoharp in my other band. I just like to stretch out and do as many things as I can when I’m not MIXTAPE-ing. I also like to just listen to tons of music. SHOCKING, RIGHT?!
But seriously, one of my teachers back at Manhattan School of Music told me that my studying should be 50% listening to music and 50% making music and that is probably the best lesson I took out of that very expensive conservatory education. Worth it.