Getting To Know: Melissa James



On Monday the 19th of October LIBRARY has the exclusive privilege of playing host to the live music of artist Melissa James to celebrate the launching of her emotional new album Stripped Back. Taking inspiration from the music of her childhood, her family and her personal experiences, this short collection of songs that she has been developing over the past months are wholly unique to her and perhaps a lot more revealing than her first album. Her deeply personal blues and soul style music will be performed in an intimate setting and is sure to be an inspiring event for everyone attending.


Before the event we had a quick chat with Melissa James to get some insight into the inspiration behind her newest release.



Tell us about your next release. 


The next recording is called Stripped Back and it's a few songs on a mini album, that didn't feature on my last album, recorded in a live setting, acoustically with piano and guitar.  Because it has that live feel and it's acoustic, it somehow feels more honest as a recording than perhaps my last did.  When you're working in a duo setting and it's just the voice with piano and voice with guitar, there's nowhere to hide really.  So pretty much, as it was recorded, that's how it is. 



Where there any particular artists that inspired the sound of your latest songs?


I can't say any artist in particular has influenced my music directly but, in general, I guess music that I like and listen to now, and that I've listened to in the past, will play some part perhaps in influencing my sound.  But also general experiences are reflected in my music too.  There are a lot of things that can encourage the type of song that's written and the lyrics. 



In the past you spent a couple of years in Paris working on your music. How did that experience change you? 


Paris is a very creative city and creativity, particularly the musical kind, is encouraged and loved.  I also had the benefit of time to try things out then.  Somehow being in a new place also inspires the feeling of freedom to try new things - working with different people in a way that I perhaps hadn't done before.  It was a great time for exploration, particularly musically.



What's the most rewarding aspect of releasing your latest album? 


This next recording is a mini album - a small collection of songs that I've been writing since my first album was released.  It feels good to record and release material that I've been fine-tuning during different performances over several months.



What might you consider to be your best or favourite performance?   


There are so many.  I'll pick two that happened fairly recently and they're both very different.  One was a performance at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival earlier this year which had the buzz of the festival around it and it was great connecting with a large audience.  But a few months before that I also performed at one of my favourite venues called The Green Note.  It's a very intimate space but makes for an incredible atmosphere.  It feels a bit likely performing at home to friends.



What are your plans for the future? 


To keep writing, to keep performing, to keep growing and learning.  There's so much I'd like to do if I can have the chance to do them.




Interview by Alicia Hempsted