In one of the blurbs for her songs Mella claims she comes from outer space. Unfortunately, our review team dos not have access to a secret government agency full of gadgets and tech to find out if this statement is true or not, but what we can confirm is that listening to Mella's music definitely takes you to amazingly diverse places.
Mella's songs stand out as well written tracks presenting a lot of originality. Her list of inspirations is lengthy with her fave being Whitney Houston, followed by a string of talent such as Christina Aguilera, Ariana Grande, Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. So, what does Mella deliver? We checked out three randomly selected tracks from her album Zebra Stone.
Our first taste was her song 'Tangerine'. It's a wonderfully poppy song. From the start we're captivated by whimsical counter melodies almost reminiscent of a child's music box. The sounds take us to far away places, the fantasy places we visit in our imaginations, and they set the scene for lyrics which deliver equally charming thoughts. It's almost impossible not be enchanted by Mella's warm voice singing, “you're my sunshine locator. You're the pond, I'm the alligator'. Snap! Layered backing vocals enhance the ethereal feel of the song and its vibrant energy is created by a strong rhythm section.
Our next stop was the track 'Outer Space' from where we drew our opening comment. This is a full and luscious pop track driven by an acoustic guitar. The song doesn't race, similar to what it would be like flying through outer space. No destination out there comes quickly. Still, we found ourselves happily swaying along listening to the track. Contrasting Outer Space with the previous song well highlights Mella's capability with lyrics. Whereas Tangerine was a choppy collection of lyrical moments that tied to a central theme, the lyrics here take a first person narrative approach. Mella opens up like a book on personal experiences (whether real or not) and entices the listener to come on the same cosmic voyage as herself while she relates to all the events and thoughts she is experiencing. In discussion, Mella informed us that she strives to have her lyrics as authentic as possible.
Next up, the slow ballad, 'I Don't Know'. Check Mella's website if you'd like to read her interesting take on the inspiration for this song. It's a vocal and piano song enhanced by echo effects that create a swirling sonic space in the background. Mella's great voice delivers another clever selection of lyrics. She draws on concepts associated with driving a car through snow, “wind blowing”, “changing lanes”, “starting to skid”. These lyrics are metaphors for the uncertain events we go through in life. The words beckon the listener to take an introspective journey and consider where they might end up themselves. Take a listen and see where your thoughts take you as you are guided by Mella's polished voice evoking strong imagery.
Getting great tracks together hasn't always come smoothly for Mella. She relates about dealing with a major record label and issues that arose over a song they wanted to feature. They didn't like her original vocal track wanting it to be more 'emotive'. After endless retakes, frustration and tears Mella finally had a fine vocal take down to which the label commented, “we like the original more”. Frustration!
As a songwriter Mella has had a client nominated for a New Zealand Country Music Award and helped other artists to gain publishing deals. Experiences like these and other studio situations motivated Mella to write her book 'Way Less Cowbell.'
Writing songs is a passionate process. Musicians can find themselves in challenging situations during songwriting and recording. How does one effectively take a concept that exists only as thoughts and convey it to others it in an understandable way? Way Less Cowbell is designed to help musicians and songwriters get crystal clear on what they want out of their song and how to get that realised.
There's much more to discover about Mella's talent, songs and other projects. Visit her website to discover more. All the tracks from Zebra Stone are available for download - whether you want the feel good vibes of her danceable pop tracks or a little more deep thought as you gaze out the window at the passing clouds. Plus you can get her great resource 'Way Less Cowbell'. And, like many of her other successful clients, if you need the skills of a talented singer/songwriter get in touch with her.
Mella Music website: www.mellamusic.com