“It’s time to reach for higher ground…”
Across the years: Melina’s appearances in press and media.
January 14, 2015
January 12, 2015
May 17, 2012
July 21, 2011
June 8, 2011
Article by Ian Howarth
September 22, 2010
Midnight Poutine · Interview & Podcast
(link to full version)
Radio Mike FM 105.1 Montreal
Interview with Dino Sisto
February 26, 2010
Partyline, Radio K103.7 FM Kahnawake
Interview with Lori Jacobs
February 22, 2010
CJAD 800 AM
Melina and SuLE: Interview with Peter McEntyre
February 15, 2010
CJAD 800 AM
Interview with Peter McEntyre
February 1, 2010
of Love” album launch (Video)
Interview/Videographer: Kevin O’Connel
November 28, 2009
Radio Mike FM 105.1 Montreal
Interview with Sarah Pearson
September 19, 2008
Reggae unites musicians, raises West Island’s profile
By Cheryl Cornacchia, Jan 14, 2015 – Montreal Gazette
Rob Hutcheson wasn't sure about the wisdom of releasing a summery reggae tune in the middle of a cold Canadian winter, but the 33-year-old Kirkland musician's timing is proving pitch perfect.
This Light, a feel-good song that Hutcheson wrote while on honeymoon in Jamaica in 2010, has been lifting hearts and gaining traction since its release last month on YouTube and the music-sharing site Bandcamp.
It brings together 16 different artists from a variety of Montreal and Toronto bands, many of them with roots in the West Island.
"It's the first time I have ever done anything of this scope," said Hutcheson, whose own vocals are featured on the recording.
"You can see what a close-knit community we are," said Hutcheson of the collaborative effort, which includes a group-sing in the living room of his Kirkland home.
"People love it."
"At first, I wasn't sure if it would be ideal to release a summery reggae track during the cold Canadian winter," he added.
"However, the response has been the opposite, with people saying that the summer vibe has helped transport them to a warmer place."
The song's refrain is "This light was meant to be everywhere - and when you see that my heart is in your hands, then we can dance."
But, he admits, it has been a long process.
The song didn't fit with the music he usually played with Shaking Judy, a hard-rock band with which he plays guitar and sings.
In order to bring it to life, he had to reach out to the wider music community, people he had met during the 10 years he has played music.
Like him, the various artists play in bands of their own, many hold down day jobs to pay the bills - and moving from their 20s to their 30s, they increasingly have family responsibilities.
He said he and his wife had their first child, a daughter, two years ago.
But he said he started with Joey Shanahan, a friend and keyboardist with the reggae bank Inword. Shanahan is just one of the West Islanders now featured in the This Light video.
Over time, word spread from one artist to another.
Rapper King Fyah Bags said "Yes." Jeremy Wiegens, a drummer with The Instrumentals, a Montreal ska band, got on board. Milena Soochan, a Montreal jazz and pop vocalist Hutcheson knew from their days at Riverdale Comprehensive High School, lent her voice to the project.
One after another, the various artists individually recorded their tracks - drums, bass, guitar, lead vocals, backup vocals - and then sent them to Hutcheson, who, in turn, passed them along to another friend, Paul Edwards, a Pointe-Claire sound engineer.
"One of the main things about any music community is that people are connected by two degrees of separation, said Edwards.
"The anglophone music community in Montreal is even smaller," he added, noting This Light was "a passion project" that brought everyone together.
"The fact that it reunites so many artists is really great," said Melina Soochan, a 29-year-old jazz/pop vocalist who recorded her vocals for the tract last October.
She said she only heard the song Dec. 24, when it was uploaded to YouTube.
Since then, she has been sharing it through her personal website and Facebook page and plans to send it out to her fan base - about 2,000 people - in her next newsletter. "It's such a positive song," she said.
As for the song's future, Hutcheson said, it's difficult to identify exact numbers of "shares."
However, the song has been listened to more than 600 times since its Christmas release on YouTube and Bandcamp.
And while those numbers aren't "exactly platinum," Hutcheson said, the hope remains the feel-good song will reach a wider audience in the cold months ahead.
Quand l’union fait la force
By Jag, Jan 12, 2015 – Camuz (pdf)
Un peu plus tôt cette semaine, surtout à cause du froid sibérien, les collègues camuziens en ont profité pour vous partager une playlist reggae, tout en mentionnant le nouveau single d'Eddie Murphy.
Par contre, quelques collaborations n'ont pas été mentionnées, et j'en profite pour mettre en lumière celles que j'ai trouvées les plus intéressantes en ce début d’année.
Tout d'abord, notons que la bonne vieille rivalité entre Montréal et Toronto a été mise de côté l'instant d'une chanson, afin de permettre à un collectif de musiciens de créer la chanson à saveur reggae "This Light". Du côté montréalais, nous y retrouvons notamment Jeremy et Ben, des Fundamentals, tout comme Joey Shanahan, de la formation Inword. Une belle surprise est la présence de la chanteuse Melina Soochan, qui donne généralement plus dans le jazz.
Toujours dans les rythmes chauds, les bad boys du reggae Inner Circle se sont associés à Chronixx pour revisiter le premier hit qu'ils ont concocté avec le regretté Jackie Miller, il y a de cela déjà 40 ans, "Tennement Yard". La vidéo de cette nouvelle version, "Tennement Yard (News Carrying Dead)", devrait sortir prochainement, mais pour l'instant, on se contente de cette excellente chanson.
Pour finir, de grandes pointures du reggae/ska américain issus des deux côtes, Vic Ruggierio, des Slackers, et Jesse Wagner, des Aggrolites, ont fait un projet en collaboration avec Nico Leonard, des Carolegians. Bien que cet album ne sortira qu'un peu plus tard cette année, ils se sont réunis pour interpréter trois morceaux en duo, sur les ondes d'une station new-yorkaise.
A Call for Participants
By Egbert Gaye, May 17, 2012 – Montreal Community Contact (pdf)
We all know of a teenage superstar-in-waiting who aspires to become the next Rihanna, Alicia Keyes or Chris Brown.
The ones who like to serenade friends and family, using broomsticks or kitchen utensils as imaginary microphones.
Usually, they go on to wow audiences at school variety shows, community events or wherever they can find a stage until the dream fizzles.
Meet Melina Soochan and Sabrina Correa, two young, accomplished songwriters and stage performers who want to help keep the dream alive.
Soochan says too many young talents are going to waste in Montreal because of a lack of opportunities, so she came up with a competition aimed at opening doors for some of the gifted ones.
Her brainchild, the ANM Teen Songwriting competition is now in its second year and already is a place for aspiring songwriters between the ages of 13 and 17 to showcase what they got.
"It's a bit like Canadian Idol or Star Academie," says the McGill School of Music graduate. "But this competition is aimed at offering teenage songwriters a chance to "showcase" their talent to a bigger audience and win some amazing prizes."
Soochan organizes the competition under the banner Acoustic Nights Montreal, a promotion company she founded two years ago to assist local independent artists and songwriters. Since then she has been attracting assistance from businesses and industry professionals for the competition.
Correa, a graduate of the McGill School of Music, has been forging a very successful songwriting career. She was highly impressed by the writing and performance skills of last year's participants, and decided to join Soochan's team to keep the competition going.
To make it happen, Soochan and Correa are visiting schools, youth groups or anywhere they can meet with young, aspiring musicians to encourage them to participate in the competition.
And they are calling on community members to also encourage musically inclined teenagers to give it a go.
Among the variety of prizes available are: an opportunity to perform at the Acoustic Night Montreal Gala 2012 in September and a recording session for one song at a leading Montreal studio. Deadline is June 1. Check out www.acousticnightsmontreal.com/competition for details.
Melina Soochan – Le nouvel Album “Hold On”
September, 2011 – Upstairs Jazz Bar Blog
Lancement / spectacle ouvert au public
20 septembre - Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill - 20h
Montréal, août 2011 - La chanteuse et pianiste montréalaise Melina Soochan lancera son album Hold On le 20 septembre prochain, dans le cadre d'un lancement/spectacle ouvert au public et qui aura lieu au Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill à Montréal.
Hold On, se veut la continuité du EP City of Love paru en 2009. Réalisé par l'artiste rock montréalais SuLE, Hold On reflète l'évolution musicale de Melina, ainsi que la sensibilité de son écriture. Les styles se croisent entre le rock, le pop, le jazz, le blues, le reggae et le klezmer.
Melina Soochan est une pianiste classique, titulaire d'un baccalauréat en Musique à l'Université McGill. En 2009, elle a fondé la série des Nuits Acoustiques Montréal qui présente des spectacles mettant en vedette des auteurs-compositeurs interprètes locaux en plus de se produire régulièrement en spectacle dans la métropole.
Le 20 septembre prochain, Melina Soochan et ses musiciens, Michael Johancsik (sax alto), Srikanth Narayanan (contrebasse) et Jon Watts (batterie) offriront les pièces issues du répertoire versatile de la chanteuse, dont celles du nouveau disque Hold On. Un rendez-vous à ne pas manquer !
The Word on the Street
July 21, 2011 – Montreal Mirror
June 8, 2011 – Montreal Community Contact (pdf)
Don't try to pin down Melina Soochan to any one musical style. You see, this young Montreal singer- songwriter revels in her musical freedom as she dabbles from in one style then the next as she entices audiences. Sometimes they all come together in what she describes as a "quirky fusion of styles (and) a sultry blend of indie pop, rock, jazz, folk and blues."
Call it what you will, Melina has been devoting much of her time and energy over the past five years, perfecting her style and sound and exploring ways to get it out there. Slowly, she's beginning to make an imprint on the Montreal music scene.
Now she is hoping that her recentlyreleased single "Mama Song" with its accompanying video will make its way to rotations on radio and television music channels. She says she is really excited about the song, which she describes as "poprock with a little jazz... the type of song that can fit easily into rotations of any music station."
Another of her earlier releases, XRay Eyes, are now on regular rotation on Bravo and CJNT television music channels. It's not only about getting her music on the airwaves. She also plies her trade at upscale piano bars and hotels, where audiences are treated to a repertoire of standards and originals, most of which are colored by a touch of jazz.Melina says jazz is her genre of choice, if she really had to choose.
"I find myself adding a little Jazz to almost everything I do because it’s the genre that makes people most curious. I also enjoy the improv aspect of it," she says. Little surprise since most of her formal training has been as a classical pianist. (She holds a B.Mus. in classical piano from McGill University as well as an ARCT performer’s diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto.)
Self-trained and fiercely passionate about music, the former West Island resident (mom’s from Romania and dad from Trinidad) has been at it since she was four years-old. Along the way, she has been inspired by other strong women singers and songwriters such as Alicia Keyes and Sarah McLaughlin.
She is confident that success in the highly competitive and demanding music industry will come, but she is still trying to define what success will look like. "Whatever it is, I'm hoping not to have to leave Montreal to find it... I love this city," she says. She is also high on helping others find their space in the music business.
She recently launched a songwriting competition for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17, offering those up-and-comers an opportunity to have their music listened to and judged by industry professionals.
Teens are encouraged to upload You Tube videos of their music, which will be judged by a panel of professionals and the top ten will compete at the Centre for Education and Theatre in Montreal, located at 2205 Parthenais, Suite 115, Montreal, on Saturday, June 25th, in front of a live audience and a new panel of judges, by performing their song as a soloist or as a duo. According to Melina, winner and the runners-up will be awarded "crazy awesome prizes."
Info.: info@acousticnightsmontreal. com or call Melina.
Acoustic Nights Searches for Montreal's Teen Songwriting Idol 2011
May, 2011 – The Montreal Tribune
Acoustic Nights Montreal is looking to inspire the next young generation of singer-songwriters!
ANM will be hosting the 2011 Teen Songwriting Competition on Saturday June 25th, 2-4pm, at the Center for Education and Theatre in Montreal (2205 Parthenais). ANM is calling all young singer-songwriters between the ages of 13 to 17, English or French, who write their own music, to apply for this contest for the chance to win great prizes! Only online applications are accepted before the deadline Jun 3rd at the website www.acousticnightsmontreal.com/competition.
“This contest is more than your average talent show. We believe in encouraging the creative side,” proudly states ANM founder Melina Soochan, a local indie pop singer-songwriter herself. True to the ANM mission statement; this bilingual event is intended to encourage local young artists to pursue their dreams in music, by providing a quality platform of expression. But forget about the artistic merit!
The contest also brags some pretty impressive prizes, including a free music video, an 8h recording session, a professional photo shoot, and the opening spot for a major artist on an elite Montreal stage. "But who decides what is a good song? Isn’t this a matter of opinion, personal preference?" Absolutely! Which is why this needs people who know what they’re talking about.
The entire event, from the organizers to the judges, is run by volunteer bona fide singer-songwriters, all whom have made their mark in the city and have paid their dues when moving up the ranks. Artists judged by artists, based on musical and professional merit. Competitors will be judged on song structure, lyrics, performance and stage presence.
And yes, different is good. Acoustic Nights Montreal has been slowly growing in popularity in the Montreal indie music scene, by organizing a series of bi-monthly showcases featuring new artists each time. Hosted by Melina Soochan, each show discovers new talent and helps local artists expand their fan bases.
The 9th edition, set for late July, will feature the 2011 Best Teen Songwriter of the Year, backed by a full band provided by ANM.
Multitasking her way onto the musical road
By Ian Howarth, September 22, 2010 – The Suburban
There are few miracle success stories in the cutthroat music business, but for most artists success comes - if at all - after a long road of hard work and low-paying gigs.
Many, like Montreal singer Melina Soochan, have youthful enthusiasm and talent on their side to get them through those early years when sometimes the big payoff seems a long way off. Soochan, 25, has both those qualities, plus a determination and optimism that should serve her well in the future. The classically-trained pianist and McGill University School of Music graduate is working her way to the top while juggling a day job, night piano gigs at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, weekend night club performances and hosting Acoustic Night concerts at various Montreal area clubs. She currently has two videos in rotation on Bravo and CJNT that showcase her songs, City of Love (also the name of her six-song EP) and X-Ray Eyes. And in the works is her first album, due out in early 2011.
Soochan works hard and long hours, combining the rigours of her day job at Dash, an educational software company, with her musical career aspirations. "For now I need the security of a regular job," she said in a recent interview outside the QE lobby lounge where she sings and plays piano every Thursday night. "I call myself a local performer, but there are so many levels between a recreational musician and a professional one.
Your career path depends on certain milestones." She hopes there will be plenty of milestones and with the support of her mother, who manages her web site, and her business partner Amandine Michaud, who helps with bookings and promotion, she has the foundation laid to map out her musical future.
Soochan sites Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk and Alicia Keys as some of her musical influences. Her own style, she said, is an honest blend of folk, blues, jazz and pop, while at the same time trying to carve out a sound that is all her own. "I'm open to different styles of singing," she explained. "I'm going for a more sophisticated form of pop, like Lily Allen," Soochan said. Like many of today's artists, Soochan is using YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to maximize her profile. "Self-promotion is a necessity these days," she added. "Especially if you are not signed with a record label, (something she hopes to soon remedy). But self-promotion can take up a lot of your time."
Meanwhile, she is helping her fellow Montreal singer/songwriters by organizing Acoustic Nights at popular downtown clubs. It's her way of acknowledging that artists simply need a place to play. After barely a year under way, acoustic night has become a real hit with singers and fans.
"I wanted not only a vehicle for my music, but to take advantage of the many talented singer/songwriters in Montreal. There's a lot of good music locally that people don't get a chance to see."
Soochan will host and perform another Acoustic Nights at Les 3 Minots, 3812 St. Laurent on Thursday, Oct. 7. Doors open at 7 p.m. and cover charge is $8. Featured groups are Rough Draft, Dan and Laura, Super Nova, The Big Red Giants, Lady Katalyst and Katie Sevigny.
For more info, visit www.melinasoochan.com.
The sunny smile of Melina Soochan is SNAP! Magazine's second cover, shot at 6.30am on a warm summer's day.
A recent graduate from McGill's Music School, Melina now divides her time between a day job at software design firm Dash Computer Solutions and her night job as an up and coming singer/pianist. As charming as she is beautiful, Melina answered a few questions for us so you could learn a little more about this local lovely:
- Q: Three words to describe you:
- A: passionate, hard-working, adventurous
- Q: Favourite place to have a drink with friends:
- A: Crescent street terrasses!
- Q: The first job you ever had:
- A: Harvey's... sigh...
- Q: What's your dream job:
- A: highly paid, touring artist! Or else, CEO of a successful company, where I have 3h lunch breaks and get to wear nice suits everyday!
- Q: If you won an all expenses paid trip, where would you go:
- A: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during Carnaval
- Q: What is your most treasured possession:
- A: my laptop!
- Q: When are you happiest:
- A: in the morning
- Q: Best thing about living in Montreal:
- A: The diversity of the people. And the shopping.