Southern World Arts News (SWAN) Editor and Artist, Alecia McKenzie caught up with me at the weekend to find out about my journey in making Day Dawns and has written a lovely piece which is published yesterday on the SWAN site.
British singer-songwriter Melissa James has released a jazzy, insightful debut album, Day Dawns, that is sure to go places.
James, whose parents hailed from St. Kitts, said she grew up around music and always wanted to be a singer, but her family’s definition of “real work” made a career in music seem like a dream.
“For my parents, life was tough when they immigrated to England, and so they wanted to push their children into directions where they would have a good solid career,” James told SWAN in an interview. “From an early age, I felt that singing wasn’t an option. But it was always a secret passion, and in fact, my Dad himself loved singing.”
After working in various sectors, such as communications, James finally decided that she had to follow her heart; Day Dawns is the laudable result, with songs that fuse James’ love of blues, folk, jazz and soul.
“The album is my life,” she says. “I’ve drawn on different experiences, things that have happened over time. It’s what I know and what I’ve seen.”
Stand-out tracks include “Don’t You Keep Yourself Down” and “Long Road Travelled” – with self-penned lyrics and snappy arrangements created with music partner Ross Lorraine. Each song seems to have a message for listeners, and James’ strong, expressive voice will delight most audiences.
The album’s talented musicians also complement James’ passionate style. On “You Make Me Feel Good”, Larry Bartley’s simple but infectious bass rhythms provide a perfect back-up, for instance James says she is looking forward to taking the songs on the road, and she has several gigs lined up this summer.
Alecia McKenzie – Southern World Arts News, July 2012