(15 August 2010) Singer songwriter albums arrive for listening by our staff daily. Melissa Brethaur's debut recording, a stunning eleven track offering entitled Waiting (8 84501 22883 1, 2009), has proven itself to be one that stands above the crowd. As evidenced by her diversity in writing songs, singing, and playing two instruments (classically-trained on the piano), Melissa is skilled musically as well as in that ever-popular 21st century buzzword, multi-tasking.
It is said that though entering her senior year at the University of Central Florida in Orlando during the Fall 2010/Spring 2011 time period, Melissa Brethauer may need to start considering strictly online classes and/or a personal instructor. With the release of her debut CD, the 21-year old makes her entry onto the music scene with talent that is sure to take her beyond not only the middle of the Sunshine State, but surely to venues and opportunities beyond Florida.
Born in the northwest of the Sunshine State, she has already experienced many cultures, having lived in Japan and Florida as well as spent time with family in Hawaii. She has also visited her mother’s homeland, Thailand. And all the way she has kept her ear and mind trained to one of the performing arts. Melissa began writing music at just 12 years old. High school and college have seen her--in addition to solo work--sing in choir.
The twelve months time that it took to record the CD saw her attending classes, traveling back and forth from Orlando to the recording studio in Tampa, holding down two jobs, keeping up with school work, and staying involved with a youth ministry program also in Tampa.
Waiting features songs she has written over the years as well as new material developed during the recording process. Her diversity comes through not only in her vast vocal range and emotional delivery, but in the genres she takes listeners through, starting with pop and incorporating elements of R&B, rock, and even a suggestion of country on "After All This Time," plus a Faith-based song, "Why Is It."
The album's standout is the pop ballad "Walk On By." Melissa's tender vocals glide above the acoustic and electric guitar arrangement. Harmony vocals provide the texture to bring it to the fore. The piano "Interlude" provides a musical break between the two halves of the album. The second half has a rockier edge further illustrating the virtuousity of the artist and diversity of the material on the album. This second half is notably more electric and vocally robust, with a richly crisp rhythm section that will draw the broadest audience interest in this recording. "Real" is a tender rock song that glistens with electric guitar and is complemented by Melissa's hearfelt vocal delivery.
The rock arrangements continue in the track "Cause I Gave You More," where Melissa's powerful vocal work is accompanied by rich guitar work. Vocal layers add texture to the production. "Only As Friends" is a gentler violin-underscored tune where Melissa's tender voice produces an evocative sound against an increasingly dense rock arrangement. The album concludes with the acoustic guitar-laced "I Forgive You" where the guitar and keyboard arrangements build as the track develops further. The contrast between verse and chorus works really well in the track.
The album was produced by Dominick Pages and recorded at Crystal Blue Sound Studios. Melissa wrote all of the music and lyrics and plays guitar and piano in addition to providing all of the vocal work. Producer Dominick Pages played bass, drums and percussion, keyboards and additonal guitars. The stunning CD package and color booklet were designed by Tammy Osmon. Photos are credited to Jeff Fay of Hollowtree Images.
We understand that during the summer of 2010 that Melissa appear on a national TV show, on which she will be interviewed and then perform a song from her CD. She will also have a full-page feature on her for the September editon of a magazine with a projected readership of 225,000.
And with all of this Melissa is still covering lots of ground in terms of where she is performing. She played near Fort Myers, and this summer will also play in the Panhandle where she’ll be making multiple appearances throughout the week at the Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival.
What do the next twelve months hold in store for Melissa Brethauer? It will be easy to keep up on
what Melissa will be taking on then. With Cape Canaveral just a short distance away from her Orlando home, it’s fitting to say that her music career is about to take off. Bravo Melissa!