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Friday, June 4, 2010

New Website, New Blog

Hi all,

I've started a new blog over on my new website!! So if you haven't been over there yet,
feel free to check it out, and while you're at it, subscribe!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

TimberBrit- It's on!!

As of this afternoon, if you logged into, you'd see my pretty face (in a god awful platinum blond wig) next to Paula's. Why is my pic on NPR? well-there's been a lot of media hype about a recent spread on Jacob Cooper's TimberBrit. We shot a video two weeks ago that launched slightly before the NPR blurb on All Things Considered.

Here's a link to the NPR interview - complete with slideshow of Melly, and below is the youtube video.

what's been amazing to me is the comment threads, we're even a twittering topic..and on reddit? Various blogs have picked it up, and man, has it sparked a lot of discussion into what 'opera' is. It seems we have two audiences commenting, those of the NPR 'opera must be written by dead guys crowd', and the real Britney fans who think it's weird, but somehow have missed the point that this isn't actually Britney...I'm a little disapointed in that I expected more from the crowd that supported us nearly a year ago...when we packed TWO SHOWS in a row on a Sunday night in Tribeca. So apparently, there are more than nine people willing to pay for it.

Hanging up the wig for the evening, as always, yours in platinum love,


previously on Mellysblog

timberbrit podcast

a beatiful show indeed


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday in the bedroom with Melly

I know I promised to be better about blogging regularly, so here's the quick catch-up on the last two weeks...After a somewhat anti-climactic fourth of July (unless you consider watching both Terminator movies a typical fashion in which to celebrate freedom) I give you Jack the toothless wonder!! My little baby lost his first tooth yesterday - and the tooth fairly gave him $5!! I only got quarters when I was a kid!!

Okay, so what's been going on in the world of Melly. First and foremost!! Matt's post-Christian nihilist pop-opera, The Little Death has been given the official greenlight for release from New Amsterdam Records! I am officially a co-hort and New Amsterdam Recording Artist. So psyched for Matt. This project has been his baby almost as long as I have been his baby, and it's been fascinating watching his manic tinkerings mature into what has become a truly unique compositional voice. (Psst - and if you're in the city on the 8th, check out Matt's WNYC commissioned remix of Rhapsody in Blue..)

Fresh from a three day trip to Seattle to listen to a new premiere of his for Seattle new music Series TownMusic, Matt helped me load all of my earthly possessions into a U-Haul, and move into his place temporarily as the search for a bigger and better apartment continues....So, yeah, I've moved and am covered with the obligatory mysterious cuts and bruises... am currently shuffling through old boxes of papers and photographs and enjoying the memories that come with it... am also re-arranging cabinets and hanging shelves!! Wielding my hammer and fierce set of IKEA allen wrenches, intent on maximizing space efficiency and organization for three people in a small, synth and gear crowded apartment, like creating a database of all of the VHS and DVD's in the apartment and sort by format, genre, director, length, etc, dorky right?

On Friday I found myself at NPR doing an interview about my involvement with Jacob Cooper's TimberBrit. It was really exciting sitting in that booth by my lonesome, with nothing but a microphone to keep me company. I feel like I expressed myself fairly well considering my interviewee didn't really ask deep probing questions. We'll see what they actually take from what I said (it wasn't a live broadcast).. and the radio engineer and I had a very interesting conversation about experimental music ending with her asking me, "Do you ever ask yourself, 'what would Lucy Shelton do?'" she was kind of awesome..sigh...

I also found out that a proposal I had submitted for an evening of "Dark Cover Songs" entitled the Mafoo and Melly Variety Hour was accepted for the Gershwin Hotel in August, so I really need to get cracking on that set list now! I've always wanted to do an I Enjoy Being a Girl/I Feel Pretty/Somewhere that's Green/Part of Your World Death-Metal Medley..what do you think, does that work?

But in the meantime, I have two new arias to learn for the American Opera Project/Opera on Tap's on-going project An Opera Grows in Brooklyn. On Friday July 17th @ Galapagos, I'll wail through three of David Little's arias one from his most recent Carnegie Premiere Dog Days, and one from Soldier Songs, and finally, a Newspeak staple Sweet, Light, Crude. My co-horts on stage with me are performing regulars at La Scala and New York City Opera, so I kind of need to get cracking, like right now...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Newspeak @ LPR

There's some great video below of our joint performance with The Fiery Furnaces captured by vlogger Ephman. I can't say much for the sound quality, but what you do get is a pretty good picture of what rocking out with your friends looks like! Hit US is part of three pieces performed by the one man band that is Massey..... I didn't realize until my first rehearsal with Newspeak that Massey, aka Andrea Mazzariello was a man, so, I sang the first two in the soprano octave until David graciously stopped me, and told me I should be singing in the tenor clef. My Bad! So, yeah, it lies REALLY low in my register, or not quite my "fac" as I like to say..

What I like most about this video is my little foot dance halfway through. God, if my voice teacher from grad school could see this. It may not be Handel, but I am selling the shit out of it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Melly lives...

Melly's home sick today after two weeks of amazing performances with Newspeak and the ACJW. Newspeak was invited to perform at the Bang on a Can't Afford the Real Benefit Party, and we rocked. One week later we took the stage again at LPR to open for that quirky brother sister duo The Fiery Furnaces, and we looked good... although I don't think the hipster PBR crowd was really our scene, as one friend commented, "you know you're at a Fiery Furnaces show when there are more men in the bathroom doing their hair than pissing." On Saturday I performed John Adams' Grand Pianola Music with the ACJW orchestra under the direction of Jeff Millarsky. And Sunday I found myself once again at LPR for Alarm Will Sound's Music of Derek Bermel concert, which was fabulous, and only more wonderful because Matt's mother and sister happened to be in town. All the rehearsals, all the late nights, all the complimentary drink tickets! You guessed it, I'm halfway through a package of Tylenol Cold right about now.

But I am catching up on Reader and tweeting for the first time this week. I've fallen so far off the tech bandwagon that I admit, some of twitter frightens me, and at times straight up nauseates me, but I'm gonna stick it out a month or so. If the election coverage in Iran isn't enough to inspire me to take a second glance, nothing will.

I stumbled across the following video amidst the throws of coughing and feverish dreams yesterday and loved what I saw. You can catch the rest of Sarah Haskins videos over on Current TV. They're pretty awesome. I recommend the Carl's Jr. one, and the Fairy Tale one especially.

Also, on Sunday you can catch me perform Music for 18 Musicians as part of the Make Music New York series, which Newspeak was profiled in last year. Music for 18 will begin at 6pm @ Cornelia Street in the Village. Special props to Yamaha for donating the 4 pianos!

And hopefully, the streamlining of my life, my search for a new job, my new apartment forthcoming, the recession on my musical career somewhat lifting.. hopefully I'll return to some state of regular blogging...Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I know, I've said it before...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Can I still be a feminist if I like making pies???

A few months ago I wrote about how my Vag and I would not be makin biscuits....well I have been. And the truth is, I've actually really, really enjoyed it.

Many times the past few months I wanted to throw a RIP sign up on the blog. I was over it. Needed to reconnect with actual living breathing people. I needed to remember what it was like to have a hobby... be patient with my medium of a book, do a puzzle, knit mittens...Remember how I RULE at using elipses....

Now that I have perfected my pie crust, (pizza crust, biscuits, pot roasts, porkchops, roasted vegetables, guacamole...) it's time to return to the sunshine...

So, the question remains, can I still be a feminist if I like making pies?? Well let's most recent Barnes and Noble purchase was the current issues of: BITCH, and The Joys of Roasting, and not the Bob Saget kind...So get ready for more snark, and better pie crust recipes in 09 bitches... I leave you fondly with:

A Quick Melly Link Dump:

Couple Divorces because of severe PMS

Woman Burns off husbands Penis!!!
Vatican blames environmental damage and erectile dysfunction on CONTRACEPTION
That Phantom Maple Syrup Smell is BACK

Thursday, October 9, 2008


for my sins.... despite the fact that I am not Jewish.

I have just completed my third High Ho @ Hebrew Tabernacle located at 185th and Fort Washington...Dr. Ruth's Temple. She was there, I couldn't see her though because I was sitting in a room about 10 ft wide by 12 feet long, phoning in the Kedusha's via mic while clad in my usual High Ho wardrobe of jeans, a sweatshirt and studiously engrossed in the current issue of BITCH magazine in between the Kadosh Ata's and Baruch Schem's.....

Today was Yom Kippur, the day that makes me question why I do this once a year. I started singing at 9:30 AM, finished at 7:27. Yes, I kept track of the time, as I have the past three years. Jesus Christ....I have about three working brain cells and they're all screaming at me in harmonic minor... NO MORE!!!!!

I'll tell you this: High Holidays are a big deal in the Jewish church, so big that they sell tickets to them....and I guess I should count myself lucky to make some ridiculously easy cash for the time being. Decreasing attendance numbers in the temple year after year, and it's only a matter of time before they cut the choir.

In fact this year I was running late for Rosh Hashana, and as I sprinted toward the door, I was greeted by the president of the congregation holding the door for what I assumed was a late soprano. When I entered the choir crawl space and took my seat next to my mic, I was informed that there weren't enough people in the congregation for a Torah Service.... we needed a minyan (apparently 11 Jews)... which is kind of funny when one thinks of the phrase Satan and his minions...really just 11 Jews and a Satan they don't believe in...

And I'm spent......

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rock & Sand

Rock and Sand

Quick Post... I feel inclined to depart some Melly wisdom on you. Those of you who know me and love me for who I am have come to terms with my intensity for details, and organization. I've recently come across an application that's kinda awesome, so I thought I'd do a post on it. Sign up for TaDa List. Seriously.

Date it, label it, whatever. This ap helps you keep a running list of things that need to be accomplished and crossed off throughout the day. You can edit it, and e-mail yourself, or someone else the list. You can also subscribe to changes on the list in an RSS feeder, this is ideal if you're a project coordinator.

I've been keeping two lists, one for general things that I need to do and one for things that I need to do for my day job. I then take that list and break those items down based on 'sand' and 'rock' Rock is an task that can only be accomplished with a set amount of time and concentration, Sand is a task that I can chip away at while the phone is ringing off the hook, and I'm gchatting with my sister. I've learned recently that the key to getting things accomplished and staying focused is toggling back and forth between a rock task and a sand task. You're always accomplishing something, and alternating between more concentrated tasks keeps me alert. At the end of the day, I change the date, and re-email myself the list.

Writing a blog post was something on my list of things to do today...filed under 'sand'. Check.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Melly of Troy

Heading upstate today with George Steel's Vox Ensemble to perform the Tallis Spem in Allium and the Ligeti Lux Aeterna, both amazing pieces of choral lit. Joining us on the program will be the Albany Symphony and ICE, including Mafoo to open the new Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at RPI. Apparently the hall is suspended or something...

I'm just psyched to perform these two pieces. I've performed the Tallis before, and for those of you that don't know it, or have never experienced it live, it's a 40 part motet. 8 choirs of SATBB, and is traditionally performed in the round for maximum effect. It's chock full of your typical Tudor show stopper moments, imitation and false relations (which make me hot all over)... how does one write 40 independent lines of counterpoint?? God, I don't know... but he does it, simply and slowly, beginning choir by choir sometimes with two voices in duet, moving from choir to choir and then back around, some antiphonal stuff from side to side, and then finally at measure 40 (and I'll talk about the numbers cuz I'm really nerdy like that) ALL 40 voices enter, and it's HOT.

Finally, the Ligeti. Damn. My first experience with this piece. 16 lines, again one on a part, which is near impossible with the staggered phrasing.... I'm quite skeptical of sacred text settings done by contemporary composers, mainly because the text stress and rhetoric are often lost for the sake of extended technique and all that jazz. Not knowing much about Ligeti, this sort of pointillistic approach to the text was jarring at first, but he contrasts the shorter sections with sustained suspended chords that keep the overall textual ideas moving. The piece is essentially a canon, with each of the parts moving with a different microbeat, 6,5,4,3, a soundsplash of chromaticism interspersed with real sexy consonants. The result is that someone always makes it to the end first, and has to wait for the others to catch up. That moment of moving from the dissonance to the sonority of the unison pitch gets me every time. It's truly amazing stuff.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


You may have noticed that I haven't been posting lately. This is for two reasons:
1. I've been insanely busy with shows.
2. I've been insanely neurotic about my writing...

Fuck that. From a review of my 8/18 - 8/23 run of the Newspeak Non Sequitur show at the Flea:

It should come as no surprise the most transportive piece was that of composer David First's adaptation of Ansel Berrigan's dark and lyrical " Let Us Sample Protection Together." David First, one of Philadelphia's founding father's of experimental ambient sound, elevates Mellissa Hughes' vocal to hallucinogenic heights. "...Protection Together" felt like the longest single performance of the evening, but may have been surpassed in length by the cheerfully disjointed closing piece, "What Remains". If there can be any complaint, it is that Hughes' Sarah Brightman-esque vocals favored operatic stylings in favor of elocution; we could not always understand Berrigan's words, which is a shame since they convey perfectly the ambivalence of the outsider artist struggling to survive:
I won't belong to this scripted conversation/Though I might play along.

I HATE Sarah Brightman....tremendously. This is HILARIOUS. I think by operatic stylings they mean I used a little bit of vib above the staff, like once or twice to get through a phrase. I don't vib if a composer specifally says not to, because the human voice is actually capable of doing both... however, la voce was really really really tired, and it's just easier up there to let her rip when I start feeling tight. But interesting because so many people commented on how they could understand every word, even when the range was extended...hmmm.

My theory: my purple dress and sparkle leggings and Aqua-Net sprayed CURE hairstyle brought this to mind?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reich @ LPR

Tonight's the last chance to catch "NYC's new music supergroup" SIGNAL performing You Are Variations and Music for 18 of Steve Reich @ LPR, my home away from home this past week. Last night was pretty magical, despite how long the set change took. There was one guy heckling about a sound issue before we began, and I admit he was really getting to me, but he was quiet once we started, and was actually one of the first up on his feet as soon as it was over. I've never performed a one hour piece of that intensity before, combine that level of concentration with literally hundreds of people standing or sitting on the floor, completely surrounding the ensemble, it was pretty freaking awesome. The music itself is not so much difficult, it's just really taxing (there are three movements where I sing the same pitch for five minutes each, not hard, just EXHAUSTING) and, even scarier, it can unravel at the slightest waver in concentration. I worked my ass off on that piece. I can't remember the last time I was left speechless after a performance, just emotionally, physically, mentally spent, and in desperate need of a beer, well several of them. I grabbed the one pic I could find on the web this morning for ya. So Percussion lays down a mean groove, and groove we do. My friend commented that it was the best performance of 18 he had seen yet, and that Europeans need to hear this type of Reich as their performances tend to be highly accurate but square. Plus, when you're playing with 18 (technically 20) of your bad ass friends, it's hard not to groove your ass off. My God, this group needs to tour!!

Tix are $25, I know, I know... And there are 27 of us playing You Are, so no comps, but come on, it's Music for 18, how often do you get to see that live?? Steve Reich will be in attendance this evening, so come on out!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Comedy Central's Samantha Bee on Choice

click blog title if video doesn't show up in RSS Feeder

Donnie Douche on Palin

the new buzz word is seminal people....

If only feminism had realized 40 years ago that the struggle for equality would have over if we wore skirts and bred like stock pigs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Vag and I will NOT be makin' Biscuits anytime soon...

Elroy Riggs, esteemed op-ed writer for the Central Kentucky News Journal has unlocked the mystery of the rising divorce rate.... The Pillsbury Doughboy.

He harkens to a time when good little wifey's rose early to make homemade biscuits for their husbands.... now the saddest sound in the world is the pop-pop-pop of the perforated can as "apathetic" women allow a plump doughboy to fulfill their wifely duties.

It is time, women of America, to come to your senses. Halt the alarming increase in the divorce rate. Bring the homemade biscuit back to your breakfast table. We can all work together. You make 'em, we'll eat 'em. What could be more fair? I must insist on taking a hard line on this matter.

Fair? What could be more fair?? Hmmm.. how about Elroy making breakfast more frequently than Mother's Day? That might be the inklings of the utter beginnings of fair. He then goes on to list several cookbooks he's found that seem to have decent authentic biscuit recipes, and exclaims how inexpensive and relatively easy and quick they would be to assemble.... Only 12 minutes to bake!!

Who has 12 minutes to bake biscuits every morning? Maybe on Christmas morning, or your birthday if biscuits are your kind of thing, but every morning? Perhaps Elroy should try making them himself, and experience first hand the joys of cooking with yeast, which can be real finicky. My guess, Elroy's wife (assuming he has one) has some very good reasons for not rising early to make the biscuits...

Growing up, the toaster was my best friend at breakfast time, and my sis and I packed our own lunches as soon as we were old enough (around 9 I think). This was mainly to give my Mom a break because my father to this day *can't* fix anything for himself, so my she rises early and makes him breakfast, packs his lunch (usually leftovers in tupperware) and makes dinner when she gets home from work. I'll say that again, when SHE gets home from work.

When I'm home, I cook dinner to make things run smoother for everyone, and because I LOVE cooking in Mom's kitchen, (my vagina is agreeing with me as I type) but I would have clubbed my father over the head with a griddle a decade ago, and he knows it. He is one of many men out there who are still mystified by the kitchen. Elroy, I'm guessing, like my folks, is of the mindset that women keep the home, even if a large number of those women are also working...It's just soooo outdated, even if it is somewhat cutesy.

You make 'em, we'll eat 'em Mr. Riggs???? Dude, you want 'em, you make 'em!! Honestly, what could be more fair than that?