Melyssa Stylianou

Melissa Stylianou appeared on the Toronto jazz scene eight years ago and quickly earned the esteem of the Canadian jazz community. In both 2002 and 2003, she was nominated Jazz Vocalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards. She has headlined at major jazz festivals all over Ontario, at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, the Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia and The Brandon Jazz Festival in Manitoba. Melissa performs regularly at the country's best jazz clubs and has developed a loyal home-base audience, while her skills as a composer/lyricist have been receiving attention across Canada. In 2004, she was the recipient of a Toronto Arts Council Music Creators Grant and in 2005, Melissa was honoured to receive a Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Professional Musicians. With this grant, Melissa studied in New York with Garry Dial, Theo Bleckmann and Tom Schilling for 8 months. She continues to live and work in New York City.
In the coming year, Melissa plans to increase national and international performance opportunities and share her work as a Canadian artist.
Melissa graduated from the acting program at Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto and it was during those years that she discovered her love of jazz. In 1997, after private studies with the renowned vocalist Carol Welsman, Melissa became the leader of her first trio featuring Richard Whiteman on piano and Artie Roth on bass. In 2001, the Trio gave way to the Melissa Stylianou Sextet (2001 – 2004) with John MacLeod, Nancy Walker, Ted Warren, Kim Ratcliffe and Artie Roth. A new trio formed out of the Sextet (with Ratcliffe and Roth) and this group held the coveted Friday evening performance slot at The Rex Hotel in Toronto from 2000 – 2005.
The Melissa Stylianou Quartet travelled across Canada this summer to support Melissa’s third album sliding down, which features many original compositions and arrangements and was released in June of 2006 (Sleepin’ Bee Music, Festival Dist.). With funding from both the Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR, this new record introduces Melissa as a talented songwriter/lyricist as well as builds on her reputation as one of Canada’s finest interepreters of the jazz repertoire.
Melissa’s debut album, it never entered my mind (SBM), was released in 1999 and features Richard Whiteman on piano and Artie Roth on bass. In 2001, Melissa released her second album, bachelorette* (SBM), to rave reviews. Both albums are available nation-wide as well as online (jazzpromo.com & cdbaby.com) and they continue to receive airplay both locally (JazzFM, CLKN, CIUT) and nationally (CBC).
National recognition has created many new opportunities for Melissa. In 2002, her original compositions were recorded for broadcast by the CBC’s JazzBeat Series and in 2004, CBC Radio invited Melissa to participate in their On Stage series at The Glenn Gould Studio. Later the same year she headlined a concert as part of The Art of Time Ensemble’s concert series, which led to another great opportunity - performing at Roy Thomspon Hall as part of the opening act for k.d. lang. This Art of Time Ensemble project has continued to expand and in November 2005, Melissa was featured in their performance at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, recorded for broadcast by CBC Radio. In May of 2006, this group traveled to Moscow to perform at the House of Music.
Touring nationally and internationally continues to be a part of Melissa’s artistic vision. In February 2005, Melissa performed six concerts in Quebec. She performed both jazz standards and original material, communicating with her audiences and the media entirely in French, proving herself to be a versatile and quintessentially Canadian artist.
As her career progresses, Melissa has begun to gain profile in the United States. She traveled to Chicago in 2004 to record and perform with American violinist Zach Brock at the renowned jazz club The Green Mill. In August 2005, She made her New York City debut with the same band at The Rockwood Music Hall. Since moving to New York in November 2005, Melissa has established herself as a formidable talent, thrilling audiences in jazz clubs throughout the city. Her New York quartet features Jamie Reynolds on piano, Chris Lightcap on bass and Matt Wilson on drums and they will be showcasing at the 2007 IAJE conference in New York City. Melissa is working on securing management and record distribution in the States, thus increasing her performance opportunities and developing her profile as a Canadian musician.

 

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