February 25, 2013

Melissa VanFleet Has Stars in her Eyes


Alternative Pop artist/songwriter Melissa VanFleet may have stars in her eyes, but unlike many other young artists starting out, Melissa already sounds like a seasoned pro, both musically and lyrically.

Not many women singers hold our attention these days – many have the pipes to do the job but lack the depth and resonance- that warm buttery tone of voice that endears us to listen again and again – Adele has it, Alanis Morrisett has it… both of whom, incidentally, have been covered by VanFleet with triumphant results! (Check it out on VanFleet’s Youtube account)

Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, then Nashville, Melissa is now in New York continuing to purse her passion – pouring her soul into writing her own songs, singing to live audiences, and garnering radio airplay and internet streaming to a wider circle of fans with her debut EP, Stars In My Eyes. 

Opener and title track, Stars in My Eyes is catchy, melodic, a definite Pop song without being ear candy or forgettable. The hook is as much the lyrics as the tune, and the track has a bit of a bluesy feel to it in the verses. Piano/keys dominate the track in the chorus, and pair with VanFleet’s vocals to perfection – neither overpowering the other.

Love Struck is moody without being depressing.. a ballad within a Pop song. Songs that defy genre are always an attraction and this is such a song. Powerful, full and rich in sound, Melissa’s voice really shines in this tune. No ‘auto’ tune apparent anywhere, just solid and emotional singing.

Play by the Rules is the most bluesy track on the EP especially in the guitar work and vocal style of VanFleet who doesn’t seem to require any effort to switch gears. This song conjures images of a smokey bar, single spotlight on a baby grand piano, and Melissa crooning to an intimate crowd of apt listeners.. the only way to describe it, is it’s everything we imagine New York to be.

Switch gears dramatically with Cut the Ties – shades of Country, Pop crossover. Not really Country, but yeah, Country sneaks in there somewhere! Maybe its the lyrics about ‘needing to make mistakes and learning to love one’s self.’  More guitar twang and more drums in this track, less keyboards, but VanFleet’s powerful melodic voice is still the prominent ‘instrument’ in the forefront.

Honesty is the one word that we keep coming back to with VanFleet’s tunes – honesty of writing, of emotion, of effort. This may be Melissa’s debut album, but this is no ‘beginner’ offering. The fabulous writing is matched by equally fabulous melodies and solid production to make this album a joy to listen to. Over and over.

Stars in My Eyes is available digitally on iTunes and Amazon, with CD available at Melissa’s SITE, and features a bonus track, acoustic version of Martyr. A portion of all proceeds from VanFleet’s EP is being donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), a non-profit organization working to end violence against women and children.

You can give Stars in My Eyes a full listen at Melissa’s Facebook page HERE.

We rate this album 4/5


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