Interview by: Melissa Berry
Indepth Interview with Melissa Manchester
Record Label: Red Distribution
Melissa Manchester – “You Gotta Love the Life” – And She Does!
In 45 years of making music that covers every musical genre, being involved in every level of creativity in the music industry, and including true sense of grit and soul, Melissa Manchester’s new album, “You Gotta Love the Life,” results in an authenticity of musicality rarely presented in such a complete package.
In a recent interview with Miss Manchester, all this was reconfirmed as she described the process in making this introspective, self-made album, which celebrates her 45 years of creating music. It’s the “self-made” album label that strengthens how very personal this album is.
Because of the ever-changing climate in the recording industry, making an album nowadays is different– very different, and without a label to bankroll the project, Miss Manchester wasn't sure how to go about financing it -- until her students at USC's Thornton School of Music taught her about the magic of Indiegogo, and a fan-funding campaign began. And, wonderfully enough, Miss Manchester was able turn this into a very positive experience for a number of people besides herself. She further explained when asked about this:
SJM: I understand that your involvement with students in a teaching capacity has expanded to include our public schools and their desperate need of instruments for our dwindling music programs.
Melissa: “My fans have never asked for anything other than music. Now they can be part of the process of creating an album. I'm dedicating part of the money to my friend, Barry Manilow's, the Manilow Music Project, which takes gently used or broken instruments and repairs them and donates them to public schools.”
SJM: It seems this album has many other personal aspects as well that are included such as your beautifully written song “You Are My Heart.” I understand it was in a response to a personal situation for you that can also have relevance for many of us today.
Melissa: Following DOMA being declared unconstitutional, my gay friend texted me, and signed it "you are my heart," and I immediately thought, "I know that song!" So I sat down and wrote it. Music has always played a part in lifting up humanity. Someday people will look back at the world of now, and wonder why gay people getting married was such a problem. Kind of like the way we look back at women not being allowed to vote. It's mind-boggling.
SJM: In a variety of songs with horns, guitar solos and harmonies performed by you with a score of legendary artists such as the late Joe Sample, our iconic musical gentleman Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Keb' Mo'… and the list goes on, it all seems that you all express the essence of the creative life in a seminal statement about the challenge and wonder of music, relationships and reclaiming one's vitality.
Melissa: I've always believed that music is a living organism, and these songs are my life's musical interior landscape. It's a thrill to finally record them. Frank Sinatra would try out his songs for six months live before bringing them into the studio with Nelson Riddle or Gordon Jenkins, and by that time the songs would be part of him to the point where the songs became his monologues.
To listen to “You Gotta Love the Life” is musically uplifting experience that can bring the positive views of life into focus and actually help all of us listening to appreciate all that we have, and especially appreciate the music that Melissa Manchester has created and shared with us for over 45 years. The horns in “Ya Gotta Love Life,” the rhythms of Miss Manchester’s interpretation of Irving Berlin and George Gershwin standards, the gentle harmonica into of Stevie Wonder in “Your Love is Where I Live,” the piano of Joe Sample, and the vocals of Dionne Warwick give us a musical landscape that will take us wherever we allow it. And, Miss Manchester’s “Ya Gotta Love Life” is a first class ticket for a great musical journey.
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