Melanie Marod | Stars Review
by Bea Willis
Melanie Marod is a vocalist and songwriter pursuing a lifelong passion for musical arts. In Europe, she studied opera in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Instituto Universitario Nacional de Arte) and Hillsong College in Sydney, Australia. Then, she moved to New York and became a regular on the jazz scene, performing at Birdland, The Blue Note, City Winery, and weekly residences at the Oak Room in The Plaza Hotel. Marod’s latest EP is a collaboration with Chris Wiser called Stars. The five songs combine Marod’s jazz influences and Wiser’s Rock and Blues background. Stars was recorded at Downtown Recording Studios in New York City and was mixed and mastered by Grammy Nominated Tyler McDiarmid (Gregory Porter, Fred Hersch). Rounding out the band are Chris Wiser (vocals, guitar), Art Hirahara (keyboard, organ), Sam Bevan (bass, guitar), Brian Fishler (drums), Jim Shaneberger (slide guitar), Mitch Marcus (flute, trombone, trumpet, saxophone), Joe Hettinga (engineer, piano), and Max Lockwood (cello).
“Stars” has a balance of male and female vocals set to a swaying feel that has elements of folk and Latin overtones. Marod’s vocals exude skills of pitch, expression, and annunciation. Her tone is warm and floats over the supporting instruments. She is supported by the backing vocals of Wiser in the chorus, giving it a full sound as the two-vocalist blend well. Marod’s vocal range is substantial throughout her tessitura, as the climbing section in the melody is one of the emotional highlights of the song.
“River” is a beautiful moment filled with heartfelt emotion as Marod sings over a steady shuffle feel, building to multiple vocal harmonies and a melodic slide guitar solo by Jim Shaneberger. Marod will win you with her pleasing vocal timbre as the song’s building instrumentation keeps your attention. The instrumentation fits the mood, and the song’s structure outlines the story and has an easy-going design and flow that will appeal to music lovers of many tastes.
Stars is a robust EP for Marod and affirms her skills and pursuit of musical arts. Her ability to present a melody with a depth of emotion and inflections is the winning trait in the set. Her collaboration with Wiser adds to the project, and the band keeps the music interesting around her. Stars is undoubtedly another steppingstone in her ever-growing career.
Release Date: April 19, 2022