Melissa Ferrick's 12th original album is a coming home. She has arrived in a place musically that is both familiar and new. Melissa is a better writer, engineer, producer, and overall artist. The self-titled album is, in many ways, a new beginning for Ferrick. Written in just over a year, recorded at home, and released on her own relaunched label, Right On Records, Ferrick has given us a simple, eloquent, and honest acoustic album with an undeniable level of maturity. For long-time fans, this will be a welcome new arrival. For those who are just discovering Ferrick, this is a superb way to be introduced. A completely solo effort in its process, creation, and release, Melissa Ferrick is marking the middle of her career with a perfect return to songwriting, and to herself.
Melissa grew up in Ipswich, MA during the 70's, playing the violin and going to jazz clubs on the North Shore with her father, who managed local bands. In elementary school, she learned to play trumpet and bass guitar, which led the way to songwriting in high school. At 16, Melissa was accepted into the New England Conservatory's Youth Orchestra and Wind Ensemble as a trumpet player, giving her the opportunity to tour with the Conservatory's Extension Division, which traveled to perform in California and China. She was accepted to Berklee College of Music on songwriting and trumpet scholarships and chose to continue her music education there from 1988-1990. After two years playing Boston's local rock club scene, Melissa left school and moved to New York City. In 1990, Melissa lived on 14th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, playing at the Bitter End weekly and working at Right Track Recording studios and Chrysalis Records to learn the ropes of the business. In July of 1991, Melissa's phone rang and she was asked to open that night for Morrissey in Boston on his his “Kill Uncle” tour. She was invited to finish the U.S. dates with Morrissey and to continue on to the U.K. as his opening act. When she returned to the States, at 20 years old, she was offered deals with three major labels.
Melissa signed with Atlantic Records, and in 1993 she released her debut album, "Massive Blur." After her sophomore effort, "Willing to Wait," was released in 1995, Melissa was dropped by Atlantic Records. She regrouped and released three albums on Boulder, CO based W.A.R.? Records. In 2000, Ferrick founded her own label, Right On Records, and released a string of Albums and EPs. In 2010, before almost going bankrupt, Ferrick put her own label on hold and signed with NY based MPress Records. Melissa released two albums with MPress, 2011's "Still Right Here" and 2013's "the truth is.” Still Right Here debuted on Billboard’s Heat-Seekers Album Charts, won an 8th annual International Acoustic Music Award (IAMA), and garnered two Independent Music Award (IMA) nominations. The title track’s music video premiered on the launch of Huffington Post’s Gay site and won two RightOutTV awards. Ferrick was also a featured music honoree in OUT Magazine’s OUT100 – focusing on artists who make an impact on the community. 2013's "the truth is" was the first self-produced album since 2004 and an evolution in the sound she had developed over the course of her career. The record was also a creative departure in its collaborative approach to the recording process, hiring grammy award winning engineer Trina Shoemaker to mix the album remotely from Alabama and Independent Mastering to master the album from Nashville. The result was a sweeping Americana/Alt-Country record that won the 2014 Independent Music Award for Alt-Country Album of the Year Fan Vote.
Ferrick is also an eight-time Boston Music Award winner and regarded by the industry and her peers as one of the most prolific and hardworking artists in the business. Ferrick tours regularly and plays throughout North America, performing upwards of 100 shows a year. She has shared the stage with Morrissey, Marc Cohn, Paul Westerberg, Dwight Yoakam, John Hiatt, Weezer, Tegan and Sara, G-Love & Special Sauce, Bob Dylan, Dan Bern, Ani DiFranco, k.d. Lang, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Joan Armatrading, Mike Doughty, The Indigo Girls and many others.
Melissa is booked nationwide by Right On Records Booking.
Melissa is also a part-time Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. - See more at: http://www.melissaferrick.com/bio/#sthash.vwAmxmy3.dpuf
Mo Kenney never had that archetypal I-want-to-be-famous moment. But somehow she was always going to make albums, play live and get noticed in her native Canada and way beyond. Maybe the clues were there in the way she saved up her lunch money to buy records, begged her parents to book guitar lessons for her and made demos in the modest recording facility at a school she wasn’t even attending. Now, Kenney’s brilliantly accomplished ‘In My Dreams,’ one of Canada’s most acclaimed records of 2014, is about to become one of the freshest and most inventive releases on the international stage this autumn. And stage is the word, because the artist, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, views staying on the road and playing for as many people as possible as her life’s work. The reward is in the recognition she’s enjoying from her discerning album audience. ‘In My Dreams’ is already an award-winning follow-up to Kenney’s much-decorated, self-titled debut of 2012. The new set swiftly secured an ECMA (East Coast Music Award) for Pop Recording of the Year, to sit alongside the same trophy that was bestowed upon its predecessor, which also took a Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist of the Year and no fewer than three Nova Scotia Music Awards. The sophomore set is produced, as was Mo’s previous album, by Joel Plaskett, the Canadian rock icon who can fairly be described as her great mentor and key creative collaborator. It was recorded in his bespoke studio, New Scotland Yard, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and for his label, New Scotland Records. We’ll return to the story of Plaskett’s role in Kenney’s career shortly. In an undeniable progression from the sometimes acoustic folk-pop of the first record, the rockier framework of the new one reflects the fact that Mo is working more often with a band, in the studio as on stage. It’s also a perfect showcase for her incisive lyricism. “That’s something that’s changed a lot from when I started writing, when I guess there was a lot more covering up of the truth,” she says. “I’m more direct now, and I like it that way.” “When I’m writing, I’m not thinking about people that are going to be listening to it, which is helpful, so I don’t have to worry about what I’m saying, I just go and record it.” Indeed, to borrow a phrase, friends probably think this song or that song is about them. “Oh, so many people say that to me,” she laughs. “If it is, I tell them.” The album’s flagship song ‘Telephones’ arrives with a suitably engaging and amusing video and provides an imaginative take on the traditional romantic predicament. It was first written and recorded by Canadian East Coast rock band Mardeen in 2008, and suggested by Plaskett as potentially rich material for Kenney. “I don’t think very many people knew of it,” she says. “But it was kind of a perfect fit.” Mo is now reaping the rewards of the musical inquisitiveness that started at an early age. She’ll happily admit to the poptastic pre-teen period we all go through, when she momentarily favoured Danish hitmakers Aqua. There was even a stage when she was at home to hard rock, in the form of AC/DC and Ozzy Osbourne. But then Kenney realised that instead of just listening to the guitar, she should be playing it. Unlike many artists who were dragged kicking and screaming to their first instrument, she begged her parents to arrange guitar lessons for her. “I’m not sure why I wanted to play guitar so badly,” she says. “I don’t even remember asking my mum to put me in lessons, I was that young.” “My uncle had a guitar. He was the only person in my family that I knew of that had a musical instrument. I remember it would just be kicking around at family gatherings, so I’d fiddle around on it. So maybe that’s why. But I was so obsessed with playing guitar when I first started, I kind of assumed I’d be doing something with it later on in life. But I wasn’t sure what it would be.” As her listening tastes developed alongside her own playing, Mo began to empathise with one much-admired composer in particular. I didn’t really have a guitar idol when I was growing up,” she says. “I only started listening to Elliott Smith when I was 14. That was the first kind of confessional songwriting I’d really heard. I was obsessed with him. I still am.” When she started to experiment with her music, fate took a hand. “There were a few bands recording at this school in downtown Halifax,” she recalls. “I didn’t go there, but I knew some people who did. They had a little makeshift studio where everybody could just go in and make demos, and Joel came to talk to us one day about the music industry, trying to give us advice on being a musician.” “So we played him one of our songs each and that was it, he went away. I think that was about 2007, I showed him my song, he really liked it and then I didn’t hear from him. In 2010, I got a call from his manager, who’s now my manager, inviting me to a songwriting camp.” “Joel had recommended me, and I hadn’t talked to him in three years. Actually, it was my birthday. I was heading to work to go and make pizzas and I got a call. It made my day. I’d just been playing open-mic, and that wasn’t really doing anything for me except helping me with my live show. I don’t know how I would have managed if it hadn’t been for Joel.” When Plaskett went on to sign Kenney to his label, she had the platform from which to create that debut album, and to find out about the music business. “It was a huge learning curve,” she admits. “I had an idea in my mind what it was going to be like, and it was totally different. I was just really fascinated by how everything works.” As well as having toured in Canada with Plaskett, Ron Sexsmith and extensively in her own right, Mo is already no stranger to international audiences. She has played Iceland Airwaves, The Great Escape and Green Man Festival in the UK, where early in 2014, she toured for six weeks with her good friend, Scottish artist, Rachel Sermanni. Kenney is heading back to Britain, Ireland, and Germany in support of ‘In My Dreams.’ The stage is literally set for her. “Besides writing, the aspect of being a musician that I like most is playing live,” says Kenney. “I love touring, so if I can build up audiences all over the place, then I can stay on the road forever, which is what I want.”