Home of the Live Music Calendar Follow STLBlues on Twitter Follow STLBlues on Facebook Home of the Live Music Calendar Live Music Is Better, Book It Here!! Live music is better, book yours now!

Melissa Neels

It's always a pleasure to discover a new musical talent.
A recent visit to Mike & Mins in Soulard introduced to the Bluesnet to the sizzling sounds of the Melissa Neels band. As talented a vocalist and songwriter as she is at lead guitar, Melissa was kind enough to spend some time telling the Bluesnet her story. Please welcome Melissa as our Spotlight artist, and enjoy the interview.

BN: Thanks for spending a few minutes today with the Bluesnet. We really enjoyed your perfomance at Mike & Mins. Are you from St. Loui

: Yes, I am. I grew up in South County, and attended Oakville Senior High School

BN: When did you discover you had a love of music?

: I always loved music! My mom always listened to Cream, Janis Joplin. I started taking guitar in the second grade, but that only lasted a month or so. Then I was re-introduced to the guitar in the 7th grade

BN: Are there any musicians that really had an influence on you?

: When I was 15, my mom took me to see Bonnie Raitt at the Muny. She had wrote a note to Bonnie, and she had one of the security guards deliver it to Bonnie. At the end of the show, there was a woman in the crowd calling my name. She said Bonnie wanted to meet me! It was great! Bonnie was a really nice, down to earth person, and she told me "keep playing those Blues". A year later Bonnie was playing at Riverport, and we went to see her again. My mom wrote a note, and we were asked backstage once again. So meeting Bonnie was a big moment, she's a big influence to me!
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Susan Tedeschi, and Joanna Connor were also influences. I went to see Joanna Connor when she was playing at Generations. When I got to the show, it turned out to be cancelled. The guy at the door mentioned that Joanna was staying there at the hote, and offered to call her room for me. It ended up that she invited me to her room, and I was able to meet her, and she even gave me a slide guitar lesson! Locally, Patti Thomas of Patti and the Hitmen is one of my mentors. I also really like Lisa Campbell! I had a high school teacher who taught me some Blues scales, and I would play along with songs I liked from Cream, SRV and others...I really liked playing "Crossroads"

BN: When did you start wanting to perform?

MN: I'd been in a basement band in high school, but hadn't really played out much. Some bands just wanted me to play guitar and sit in the corner, and I didn't want to. Now, with my band, we do the kind of music I want, and I have a lot of musical freedom. As a songwriter, I want to get better and better, to keep writing & performing more originals.My family is very supportive of my music. My Mom Judy goes to all my gigs, she's my biggest fan. Both my mom and dad really support me. My aunt Joan comes out often...I'm getting a nice little following! My Grandma Norma was a big influence on me. She loved to dance, I remember her doing the Jitterbug and the Imperial. She used to listen to Fats Domino and Elvis, and she even let Ed Putney (of Eddies guitars) and his band practice in her basement.

BN: Is your music a full-time venture for you?

MN: No, I work nights at Chrysler on the assembly line. I've been doing that for 6 years, building minivans. I plan on playing out more, really love playing down in Soulard. I want to give Blues more exposure, so I'm playing at places like Mike & Mins, Hammerstones, BB's, Generations, and The Broadway Oyster Bar.

BN: How long have you been with your current band?

MN: I've been with this band for 2 years. I'd love to take this band on the road someday!

BN: Melissa, we hope you achieve all your dreams. Thanks for taking time out to give this interview.

MN: You're welcome!

 Live Music Calendar | Send Blues News | © STLBlues 2000 | Privacy Policy