The amazing Melissa Manchester
A career spanning 50 years, singer-songwriter, actress, recording artist, Grammy award-winning Melissa Manchester has multiple albums and counting. Manchester has had her songs recorded by Barbra Streisand, Roberta Flack, Kenny Loggins, to name a few. She is a wonderfully energetic artist with roots firmly planted in music and a talented family encompassing all avenues of art. Manchester had a unique experience growing up with a musician father in the Metropolitan Opera and a mother in the fashion industry. Her love for music grew and developed as she continued exploring a beautifully colourful life in New York. From an early age she began her career singing jingles for commercials, a road that took her alongside musicians like Barry Manilow “we were all musicians, but we were all making a living singing jingles” says Manchester. She also created a group called the Harlettes singing backup for Bette Midler. A career sprinkled with creative endeavours, Grammy win and Academy award nominations, Melissa shares her journey with us this week.
A native of New York City — her father was a musician in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra — Melissa describes her upbringing as the product of “a festive version of a normal family.” Her early performing experiences were in the clubs of Greenwich Village, where she witnessed what amounted to a musical revolution. Today she’s more interested in celebrating the traditional values of the well-crafted song, and in spreading an optimistic point of view. “My sense is that these times are unlike any others I have known,” she told me, “and in a song like ‘A Better Rainbow,’ I’m trying to remind people of their essential goodness.”
In 1980, MELISSA MANCHESTER became the first recording artist in the history of the Academy Awards to have two nominated movie themes in a single year, “Through The Eyes Of Love” from Ice Castles and “I’ll Never Say Goodbye” from The Promise, and to perform them both on the Oscar telecast. MELISSA starred in the national tours of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Music Of The Night and Song And Dance, and created the role of Maddy, the title character’s mother, on the NBC hit TV series Blossom.
Grammy and Academy awards
Nominated for a Grammy in 1980 for “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” she won the Grammy Award for best female vocalist in 1982 singing “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.” MELISSA has composed music for the animated features The Great Mouse Detective and Lady And The Tramp II, the sequel to the Disney classic. In addition to composing the scores for the theatrical musicals I Sent A Letter To My Love and Sweet Potato Queens, MELISSA also co-wrote the radio mainstays “Midnight Blue”, “Come In From The Rain” and “Whenever I Call You Friend.”
MELISSA celebrated her tenure as Artist In Residence at Citrus College with the release of her 21th album, The Fellas, a tribute to the iconic male singers who set the platinum standard for pop music. In November 2021, MELISSA was inducted into the Great American Songbook Foundation’s Hall of Fame and in December 2021, she had the pleasure of saluting her longtime colleague, Bette Midler, on The Kennedy Center Honors awards telecast.
MELISSA’s 25th album, RE:VIEW has just been released in celebration of her fifty-year career; it features fresh takes on several of her nineteen Billboard-charted classic hits. I hope you’ll join me by tuning in to our conversation. She’s not only an incredible singer, she’s a wonderful person. To learn more about her, head for her website here