Photography by Mansoor A. Bhatti

With a mixture of electronic music, jazz, soul and indie vibe, Melisa Le Rue’s vocal prowess not only touches the soul, it ignites the spirit. Princes Nedamo discovers the refreshingly unique voice of the songstress who has the Gulf spellbound.

Describing herself as ‘loca-loca’ (meaning crazy), this half-British, half-Pinay singer/songwriter is proud of her quirks as she journeys in the realm of music in the Gulf and abroad. Her music is a mixture of eclectic tastes and styles, influenced by her upbringing and exposure to different cultures and backgrounds.

Early start

Like many aspiring singers, Melisa discovered her passion for music at a young age. “I’ve always loved music, especially writing and singing. It’s therapeutic for me. I feel strongly about something and start writing a song about it to express what I am feeling. It’s like [having] a massive weight lifted off my shoulders.” She relates that she started sharing her talent with the world way back her teenage years when some of her friends asked her to perform at small events. “Myspace really helped me launch myself online and I started performing with some indie artists in the UK and Europe and began to develop my own style.”

Today, Melisa Le Rue is now a familiar name in Dubai’s music scene. She has appeared on several TV and radio shows, among them is the MBC Dubai morning show Sabah Al-Khair Ya Arab last October 2011.

Photography by Lafi Abood, Dress by Daze Tan

Back to her roots

Born from a mother who used to live in Leyte, Melisa says the Filipino trait she inherited is the ability to laugh in spite of problems. “It’s an attitude and a perspective in life. Why waste your time being sad or angry? Filipinos don’t take themselves or life too seriously and are grateful and appreciative of what we have. As a singer, you put yourself out there to receive a lot of criticism and rejection. People will judge you from the way you sing, to your choice of songs, to what you’re wearing, to the style of your hair. I would’ve given up a long time ago were it not for the love I have for music, and the attitude to just get on with it and keep smiling no matter what,” says Melisa.

And appreciate her, the Filipino audiences do! “I got most of my experience growing performing at fiestas in both the UK and the Philippines. Song and dance routines mainly, and of course, karaoke. The crowds were really supportive and into it–which was great! It’s always fun to perform for a Filipino crowd!”

Dress by Daze Tan

The message of her music

Melisa makes sure that what she puts in her songs are positive and inspirational.  “My album is a mini-autobiography. It starts out with the story of a lost soul, someone who doesn’t quite know their place in the world and feels a bit different and alone, but full of heart and determination to be found! It’s exactly how I felt at the time when I wrote that song. It is about how I learned to let go of whatever it is in your life that is holding you back, to going on an unknown adventure, to appreciating the beauty of life. It’s about human issues, but expressed in a simple and fun way with some great eclectic beats produced by UK producers Adam Nicholas and Colin Emmanuel,” shares Melisa.

Melisa’s music is a melting pot of both new age and traditional sounds. “You will hear a lot of my main influences are jazz, soul, world and electronic music. I love percussion rhythms, jazzy melodies, soulful harmonies, and exotic tribal sounds. I also like the combination of live and electronic sounds. However, I’m an old soul really when it comes to most things, especially music. I love Pilita Corales and the old Cha-Cha style music. I love that period of music where Spanish music was mixed in with Filipino music. I also adore the tribal music from Filipino history and have heard some amazing Filipino choirs perform impressive renditions of famous tribal songs.”

Passion for passion

Aside from being a singer, Melisa is also passionate about helping people, especially when it comes to women’s rights. “A few years ago I organized a music event called ‘History is herstory, too’ which featured female singers, musicians, artists and poets, to raise money for some Filipino female migrant workers who needed some help to get home and be united with their families after having a rough time. I also try to support RISE ABOVE in Cebu with small fund raising projects. They do great work like the recyclable bag project that gives women a means of livelihood to support their families, as well as a daycare center for children, and dental care and education. I hope to do more and more in the future.”

To know more about Melisa Le Rue, you can check her via her website: melislerue.com.

 

 

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