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MP3 Melina Kastle - Melina Kastle

Honey-voiced female singer/songwriter with sincere, intimate songs and a happy vibe.

14 MP3 Songs in this album (51:31) !
Related styles: POP: with Live-band Production, URBAN/R&B: Soul

People who are interested in Norah Jones Jason Mraz Colbie Caillat should consider this download.

Melina Kastle was born to a musical family in Aberdeen, WA in 1986. Her dad was a jazz keyboard player who was, at the time, trying his hand at running a recording studio. Her Grandma had fronted Grandpa’s band (they met in the band!) and as a little girl had taken piano lessons at the very same music store where Melina now teaches.

She’s the oldest of seven kids and thinks dad and mom must have had such a big family so they could fill out the band and become the Osmonds or Jacksons. Although a bunch of her siblings also sing and play she’s the only one currently doing it full time.

Melina wrote her first song at age six (“Murder Mixed Waltz”---I’ve asked her for a copy but evidently dad didn’t get that one recorded…at least for my ears.) Dad does have tapes of his daughter belting out some show songs starting at about age four. She started fronting his jazz band by the time she was 15. (Melina and that band just appeared on a local television fund-raiser that they have played on every year since then.)

She wasn’t sure she wanted to be a professional singer until she was nearly 16. Up until that time she played clarinet with the local orchestra and dreamed of being first chair in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. (She still picks up the clarinet but spends most of her instrumental time behind a piano these days.)

She started playing keyboards when she was a toddler and played both clarinet and keys through high school. Her dad’s band is called Zona Calda and they have performed throughout coastal Washington ever since she was a kid—with Melina fronting. On her own material she would play keyboards (usually dad’s job) and dad would shift over to accordion. (He played accordion on a few of the tracks on Melina’s new cd.)

Melina has traveled extensively through Europe and lived in England for six months. Her European experiences show up in her songwriting. (Check out “Lovely Afternoon” on the new cd.) So do her relationships with her large family. “Grapes” is a retrospective love song written from the point of view of a 93 year old…she says it’s largely about looking back over a life well-lived and cherishing family relationships (“and thru it all please know I loved you so”).

Melina was working on a business degree in college when she accidently ran into producer Jim Wolfe last year. They were both at Eastern Washington University to be on a Rock Music Panel for the students. (She laughs at that—since she was never a rock singer). She performed before the panel and producer Wolfe’s ears heard something that he says was like “hearing the next American Idol winner before they ever auditioned”. After the panel was over he asked Melina about her gigging schedule and was invited to a Zona Calda show that coming weekend. “She absolutely knocked me out”, Wolfe says about that gig. (Which was in a packed 800 seat turn-of-the-century theatre in Melina’s home town—and was attended by five generations of her family—including her 99 year old great grandpa.)

Melina performed two of her original songs (the aforementioned Grapes and Lovely Afternoon) at that performance and Wolfe was struck by the originality of her writing and story-telling abilities. He invited her to take a trek up to The Resort, his studio on Lake Sammamish, just outside of Seattle. Melina make the trip the following weekend and listened to some of Jim’s productions and to his vision for her career. Besides being a producer with tons of cds under his belt Jim is a composer as well. His music has been heard world-wide in television and films thanks to Sonoton, a German-based company which has marketed well over a hundred of his compositions in all musical genres. Jim wanted to co-write with Melina and use his accomplished band of session players to give her a modern contemporary sound, somewhere between Norah Jones and Colbie Caillat.

Melina had previously recorded a Christian cd for Caminante Music, but didn’t have a lot of studio experience. The chance to work on her original songs with a seasoned producer seemed like the right next step, and so Kastle/Wolfe songs was born. Their collaboration has resulted in seven new songs for her current cd. The cd also includes Melina’s two earlier compositions and five songs Wolfe had either previously written on his own or co-written with others, for a total of 14 new songs on her debut cd.

These songs range from sweet and gentle love ballads (Seventy Years), to jazzy up-tempo numbers (I Want You To Stay, Anyone But You), to pop music with a definite edge (like Ruby, a song about a young woman in prison for murder). There is a wedding song (I Promise You), a nostalgic pop classic (That Sweet September—right up there with Deanna Carter’s Strawberry Wine), and some country-leaning numbers (Drivin’ Around, Tomorrow). All in all the material fits nicely together but is a little hard to classify—pop/blues/country/jazz,/rock---yeah, I think that about covers it.

Melina is an avid reader and her ability to tell a good story in her lyrics has been enriched by her love of books and poetry. She credits her musical influences as: Nat King Cole, Zap Mama, Eddie Daniels, Sade, Seal, the Police, U2, John Mayer, Allison Krauss, Feist, Corrine Bailey Rae and more. Quite a diverse group of influences has helped create quite a diverse debut cd. Her voice has that “come hither” quality that has helped make Norah Jones so popular. At her most intimate you get the feeling that she’s whispering right in your ear, and yet she can belt out a chorus with the best of them (listen to the anguished chorus of Ruby---a song that a lot of Melina’s female fans relate to as a metaphor for women giving up too much of themselves for their male counterparts, although Melina swears she never thought about that interpretation when she was writing the lyrics.)

Her voice is smooth, intimate, soothing, peaceful, relaxing, easy to listen to and sweet as honey. When she performs live she sometimes goes on the road with just her piano as a solo act but on other gigs takes two guitar players or a full band. Her music holds up well with whatever presentation she chooses because her heart comes out through her voice and her lyrics. If you get a chance to see her live, I recommend you buy a ticket.

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