Brian Melo Biography
Brian Melo’s debut album LIVIN’ IT is a logical progression in his lifelong dream to become a songwriter and performer. From cozy family campfire sing-a-longs to his brothers’ Portuguese wedding band, high school choirs and performing with his own band Stoked, Brian has been on track to fulfill that dream. Winning Canadian Idol 2007 shifted his journey into high gear.
Brian drew from a young lifetime of experiences to develop all the skills required to be a top notch artist and performer. Brian’s first generation Portuguese upbringing immersed him in song and dance from a young age. His brothers played in a Portuguese wedding/rock band and would coax a very young Brian onstage to play tambourine. Later on when Brian’s friends were out getting into trouble, Brian and his best friend (to this day) would get on the phone or sit around and write stacks of cheesy lyrics, melodies and hooks (Brian didn’t pick up an instrument until a few years ago).
Silly songs, as Brian laughingly comments, “songs like “I Love You Baby” or “It’s Party Time” with one line repeated over and over. We wrote tons of them, just simple melody lines. As time went on I got a bit more poetic with my lyrics.”
“I was a shy kid growing up in high school. My parents didn’t even know that I sang. I just kept it to myself. It was my one little passion, my own little getaway.”
Apart from winning Idol, there was another major event in Brian’s life that led him to his calling, and that occurred in High School - oddly enough, it caused Brian to choose his destiny by default. He registered for a vocal class, an easy credit. He could go to class, sing a bit and get the easy grade. That’s where Brian met a woman who would change his life forever: Linda Gatto, Melo’s vocal teacher. She was first person to recognize his talent and did wonders to build confidence in his voice. She gave Brian solos, leads and more difficult pieces to sing. Coincidentally that year there wasn’t a choir at the school, so the vocal class became the choir. Linda Gatto had connections and used her influence to have several of her students sing “choir-like” back up vocals for Shania Twain, on stage at Copps Coliseum. Cheering fans re-energized Brian’s dream of a career in music.
“That was the moment…the rush of hearing 20 thousand people screaming back at me…..after that I knew I had to do this, somehow.”
Brian picked up a guitar and learned to play. He started songwriting again, hardcore. He took everything more seriously. After high school finished, Brian took over as lead vocalist for Hamilton-based band Stoked. Stoked taught Brian the ropes. It was with this band that he learned stage movement (a skill which definitely gave him an advantage on the Canadian Idol stage). He continued to write songs and his vocal stamina steadily improved. Stoked was firing on all cylinders and was in fact in the recording studio putting together their debut CD when Brian let them know he passed the audition for Canadian Idol 2007. Stoked was put on hiatus as Brian first made it to the Top 22, then Top 10, Top 5 and then he won the whole damn thing. 2.75 million fans watched as Brian Melo was crowned the 2007 champion.
After Brian put his Canadian Idol win in perspective he was humbled to recall… “6 months ago I was just a regular guy and no one knew my name. Now all of Canada knows my name! I am still a regular guy, just one who is signed to a major label. I’m living my dream.”
Hence the title of Melo’s debut LIVIN’ IT on SONY BMG (MUSIC) CANADA INC. released November 27, 2007. LIVIN’ IT includes 12 infectious tracks showcasing Melo’s powerful, distinctive vocals and songwriting skills. The Hamilton native knows that his city does not suffer fools and has recorded a top shelf collection of songs that will let not only Hamilton, but the rest of Canada know, he has arrived. LIVIN’ IT shows that he’s as comfortable with a hit pop song like “All I Ever Wanted” as with the rocker “Shine” or the beautiful acoustic “Emily”.
Recording an Idol record is quite different from any other. It is a hyper-fast process. In fact Brian recorded his multi-format, Platinum-selling single “All I Ever Wanted” (as did the other 3 finalists) before the end of the Idol season and it was serviced to radio/iTunes at midnight immediately following the Canadian Idol 2007 finale on September 11th.
No stranger to recording, Brian Melo was up to the task for his debut CD and the album was completed in just under 2 months. Having written songs since the age of 6, rhythm and melody came fairly easy, but the task was still daunting. Writing the songs was the first critical step. Several writers’ camps were organized and Brian participated in all of them, working alongside some of this country’s premier music composers and lyricists. In the end, the process was a natural one for Brian.
“My biggest worry going into the sessions was that the other writers wouldn’t accept me as an artist. I think there are some misconceptions regarding the musical credibility of Canadian Idol winners. But some of us have been grinding it out as hard as we can.”
The resulting effort: Brian emerged from the writers’ camps with five co-writes on his debut release LIVIN’ IT.
“Getting 5 co-writes off the top broke down the wall and gave me confidence and energy early on which in turn made the writing of the songs easy.”
Seasoned writers including Ian Smith from The Miniatures, Tara Slone, Simon Wilcox, Damhnait Doyle, Andy Stochansky and Jeff Dalziel (who also played on, produced, mixed and engineered the record) offered diverse input in the songwriting process and helped deliver 12 solid tracks. Songs on LIVIN’ IT feature an array of musical styles and textures yet maintain Brian Melo’s signature sound. It’s easy to hear that Melo names Radiohead, the Foo Fighters, John Lennon and Queen as some of his musical influences.
Comparing the beautifully haunting ballad “Emily” with its soft acoustic accompaniment and longing air, to the albums’ heaviest rocker “Stay” with its ferocious bass line/guitar riff and wailing vocal chorus shows the diversity in Melo’s musical delivery. LIVIN’ IT’s leadoff track and potential single “Shine” is a piano-infused pop track packing another stellar chorus filled with emotion and conviction. “Summertime”, penned with veteran pop songwriter Andy Stochansky delivers a wonderful seasonal lyric of love lost.
The pinnacle of Brian’s journey (so far) will be performing live for his fans. January 2008 will see the final stages of Brian selecting his players and rehearsing before he heads out on a Canadian tour. For Brian this is what the hard work was about. This is also what his life changing moments were about. In reality it wasn’t just the Idol contest that changed Brian Melo’s life: it was the fans - 20 thousand of them cheering at a Shania Twain concert in the 90’s. Brian will now take his 12 new songs from LIVIN’ IT and hit the road giving back to the people who have been a source of his motivation and pride.
“That’s what it’s all about. Performing on stage is where I am at home! I give every ounce of heart and soul that I have to the fans. They’ve paid a lot of money for their ticket, so I’ve got to make sure that I earn it.”
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