Melina Soochan is a mature and sophisticated singer-songwriter and pianist, weaving thoughtful lyrics into a rich and delicious soundscape for the harmonic palette.
- 1989 | Started playing piano at 4 years old
- 1996 | Started writing songs at 11 years old
- 2000 | National winner of Hal Jackson Talented Teens Competition
- 2003 | Joined Cabaret-style troupe Les Belluscious Girls
- 2004 | First music recordings with producer Override
- 2005 | Graduated with Double DEC Music & Science from Marianopolis College
- 2008 | Graduated with BMus from McGill University
- 2009 | “City of Love” EP release
- 2009 | “X-Ray Eyes” music video
- 2009 | Start of Acoustic Nights Montreal
- 2010 | “City of Love” music video
- 2010 | Earned Performer’s Diploma from RCM Toronto
- 2011 | First Acoustic Nights Teen Songwriting Competition
- 2011 | “Hold On” album release
- 2011 | “The Mama Song” music video
- 2013 | Joined KiX Party Band
- 2014 | Start of Scène Prestige Productions booking agency
- 2015 | Graduated with MBA from JMSB at Concordia University
- 2016 | First performance at the Montreal International Jazz Festival
- 2017 | 5 months hotel residency at Park Hyatt in Busan, South Korea
- 2017 | First time Club Med artist in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- 2017 | Joined Annakin Slayd Hip Hop Band
- 2017 | Started The Messengers Singing Telegrams
- 2018 | Released Jazz Album "The Velvet Lounge"
- 2019 | First cruise ship experience aboard "The World", travelling to Alaska, Russia and Japan
- 2020 | Started writing and recording with Juno-winning producer Albert Chambers
- 2021 | 2nd cruise ship aboard "The World", visiting Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain
- 2022 | Release of 3 singles with accompanying videos for "Predictable", "Waiting" and "Drowning" from the "Dark Fairytales" album
Melina Soochan is no stranger to the stage and to pouring her heart out in front of audiences. With over 15 years of experience in the live music scene of Montreal, particularly in the jazz and lounge world, Melina has yet again broken out as a mature and sophisticated singer-songwriter, infusing her original compositions with heartfelt lyrics against a backdrop of jazz and RnB-inspired piano linguistics. Pairing up with co-writer and producer, Juno award-winning Albert Chambers from Basebin Studios, the team have come together to concoct her most ambitious and personal body of work to date, "Dark Fairytales". The album is set to be released in Fall 2022. Her first single "Predictable" is now available on all streaming platforms, and is accompanied by a visually stunning music video. Since then, two other singles from the album have been released accompanied by beautiful visualizers: "Waiting" and "Drowning".
"Dark Fairytales" is Melina's fourth and most authentic album yet, having finally found her "real voice" and "something worthwhile to say". Inspired by the moody and enigmatic recent tones of The Weeknd, Drake, Jhene Aiko, Alicia Keys, Sza, H.E.R., and other emerging artists, Melina is writing from her heart and from her life experience. "Life is not a fairytale. There is no Happy-Ever-After. There is only the here and now, and you and me." The album speaks on such dark topics as abuse, betrayal, the covid pandemic, and even the passing of a friend, set against deep bass, ambient sounds and layers of emotional vocals. Though it will likely end up in the Adult Contemporary genre, the songs drift easily from RnB to singer-songwriter folk style, to the dark side of pop, coining the term #DarkPop.
Melina's first EP "City of Love" (2009) featured a 6-song release of original indie pop songs, produced mainly by EDM-producer Override from Ontario and Montreal country-rock artist and producer Sule Heitner. With this first effort, Melina deliberately and boldly ventured into indie pop, inspired by the music of Feist and Lily Allen, and explored the spectrum between dance beats and melancholic piano ballads. The EP spawned two music videos, "X-Ray Eyes" and "City of Love", the former of which received some far-reaching airplay on Canadian national TV stations Bravo! and CJNT (now City TV) as the EP's leading single. Fans in the northern regions of Canada started to emerge, to the artist's surprise and delight.
Melina's second album "Hold On" (2011) took the indie rock genre further, with all 10 songs produced and arranged by 2015 "The Voice" finalist Sule Heitner. The songs were an original take on some of her more cheerful tunes, including reggae-inspired "Hey" and alt-rock song "Bang Bang". She independently created one music video for the album, a joyful and comedic skit for the tune "The Mama Song." This release saw Melina explore her fusion genre to the fullest, with retro style influences from blues, indie rock and even reggae to create a collection of 10 original and daring, yet consistently tuneful and catchy songs.
After several years of live performing in the jazz scene of Montreal, in 2018 Melina released her third album comprised entirely of classic jazz, bossa nova and French standards, "The Velvet Lounge", in response to her local fans asking for recordings of her performances. Melina whole-heartedly embraced the challenge and sat down to craft a beautiful concept album which showcases her jazz vocal sensibilities to their fullest. Featuring several well-known Montreal jazz musicians, such as Jim Doxas on drums, Adrian Vedady on bass, Kate Wyatt on piano and Erik Hove on sax and flute, the album was recorded at the renowned Doxas Studio, mixed and mastered by George Doxas himself, a heavy-weight in the world of jazz. The album showcases some of the most well-known songs of all time, including "At Last", "Cry Me a River" and "Georgia On My Mind". These recordings continue to receive significant radio play on some of Montreal's largest jazz radio stations.
Melina is currently working on her fourth album set to drop in Fall 2022. She is returning to creating original music alongside Juno award-winning producer Albert Chambers from Montreal's Studio Base Bin. Her newest venture entitled "Dark Fairytales" showcases her mature songwriting sensibilities and embraces the dark and enigmatic mood of the times, inspired by artists such as The Weeknd, Jhene Aiko, H.E.R., Sza, and more. The first three singles of the album have been released: "Predictable", along with a visually stunning music video showing the deepest of Canadian winters; "Waiting" accompanied by a visualizer; and most recently "Drowning", also accompanied by a splendid visualizer.
Melina loves performing live and making any crowd, big or small, feel something authentic. A graduate with a Bachelor's degree from McGill University's world-renowned music program (2008), and holding a Performer's diploma (2010) from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Melina often performs by herself on piano and voice, or with various other musicians in duo, trio or full band formats. Her vast repertoire includes jazz standards, touching ballads, re-imagined pop songs, funky soul, motown and RnB, and electric dance Top 40 hits. She manages to find something beautiful in every genre. When she is alone on piano, she is often compared to international stars like Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Diana Krall.
Throughout her career thus far, Melina has garnered a diverse and extensive amount of show experience and has even managed to travel the world through music, performing across Canada, the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico. Her performances are tailored to match any setting, including:
- International festival performances such as Montreal Jazz Festival, Canadian Music Week
- Invited artist at international resorts Club Med in the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Florida and Mexico
- Intimate settings such as Montreal's House of Jazz and Upstairs Jazz Bar and Grill
- Piano bar entertainment including Fairmont international hotels, such as The Queen Elizabeth and Mont-Tremblant
- International hotel experience such as the Park Hyatt in Busan, South Korea
- Cruise ship experience on The World, travelling through such exotic places as Alaska, Russia, Japan, Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, and Spain
- Cocktail and event entertainment for weddings, corporate gatherings
- Casino residencies at Casino of Montreal or Mont-Tremblant Casino
- Lead singer and dancer in a cabaret-style song and dance troup, Les Belluscious Girls (now a Vegas phenomenon)
- Lead vocalist for party band entertainment with the KIX Party Band
- Founding member of a vocal a capella ensemble, The Messengers Singing Telegrams
- Keyboardist and backup vocalist for Montreal hip hop artist Annakin Slayd
Between 2009 and 2012, Melina ran the organization, Acoustic Nights Montreal which gave exposure to emerging singer-songwriters from across Quebec and Ontario, who were seeking to expand their recognition and try out new songs. Through a bi-monthly series of showcases hosted by Melina herself, the initiative was her way of giving back to the Montreal music community. Proceeds from each showcase were distributed equally among the performers.
As the series evolved, it gave birth to the annual Acoustic Nights Montreal Teen Songwriting Competition, which gave young composers the opportunity to showcase their material to a panel of judges and a live audience. The competition afforded these young artists the chance to win valuable prizes, such as studio time, music lessons, gear, workshop participation, and networking with high-profile Montreal musicians. The competition gained significant attention across Montreal and culminated in a feature on Canadian national TV station CTV News during its 2-year run.
Inspired by the impact of Acoustic Nights Montreal, Melina longed to start a new enterprise that would provide musicians the next level of sustainable, long-term support. To lay the groundwork, she undertook studies for a Masters in Business Administration degree (MBA) from 2013 to 2015. At the well-known John Molson School of Business, she acquired the skills, connections and partnerships to build the live music booking agency Scène Prestige Productions, which she ran from 2014 to 2018. The Scène Prestige mission was to provide live music for weddings and corporate gatherings, promoting it as the soul of successful and memorable events. The booking agency helped organizers understand the elegance that live music can bring to an event and negotiated fair contracts for musicians.
In 2019 and again 2020, Melina joined forces with the youth arts community non-profit, Overture With The Arts, where she revived the concept of the Teen Songwriting Competition. The OWTA Teen Songwriting Competition was open to local teens aged 13-18 and afforded them the chance to win amazing prizes and chances to perform their original songs on huge platforms, such as the Strangers in the Night gala. Many young artists have jump-started their own creative paths thanks to this initiative.
Since 2017, Melina runs a successful full studio of piano students, both online and at her home in Montreal. She teaches all ages, from kids as young as 5 years old to adults in their retirement, teaching the fundamentals of music. Many of her students have remained lifelong connections that support her endeavours as an artist and appreciate her experience as a songwriter, live performer and music business administrator. Melina's personal mission is to spread joy through music, whether that be through her songwriting and recordings, through teaching, or through providing platforms for others to perform. For more info about taking lessons with Melina, see her teacher website here.