Melody in tune with world­wide suc­cess

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The Es­ther Melody Band’s in­creas­ing suc­cess is set to force some tough de­ci­sions – in­clud­ing the like­li­hood of a per­ma­nent move to the United States.

Singer-song­writer Melody, a re­cent win­ner of Mao­rioke, and her brother Caleb Smith are based in Porirua, while fel­low band mem­bers Hamish Maude and Jared Steven­son are from Auck­land and Ro­torua re­spec­tively.

The group is not long back from a trip to the United States and Canada, where they wowed crowds with their up-tempo style of Chris­tian rock.

The cul­mi­na­tion of their jour­ney came at Im­merse, a mu­sic con­fer­ence and com­pe­ti­tion hosted by the Gospel Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion in Nashville in late July.

Up against re­gional win­ners from the US and sev­eral en­trants from other coun­tries, Melody took out the award for young vo­cal­ist (age 13 to 25). The group was judged best band and placed third in song­writ­ing stakes.

‘‘We ap­plied [for the com­pe­ti­tion], say­ing we’d love to be in­volved. They checked us out on­line and we got the in­vite,’’ Melody says. ‘‘The whole thing was in­sane. So many of the vo­cal­ists had voices like Bey­once and I was like ‘what am I do­ing here?’. I was con­fi­dent of be­ing in the fi­nals but no way did I think I’d win. It was un­real. I was so stoked.’’

Judges’ com­ments in­cluded: ‘‘ Young, vi­tal and pas­sion­ate and con­nected with the au­di­ence’’; ‘‘ You get it as an en­ter­tainer’’ and ‘‘I think we’re look­ing at the fu­ture here, you’re as good as any­thing on the ra­dio right now’’.

The road trip from Los An­ge­les to Port­land, Van­cou­ver to Kansas City, Nashville to Hous­ton, and back to LA, was ‘‘ amaz­ing, just an in­cred­i­ble time’’ says Melody. De­spite four new trans­mis­sions on their van, the en­tire jour­ney ‘‘just felt so right’’.

The mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the tour was to com­pare them­selves with the best un­signed Chris­tian artists in the US, and they came out on top.

A lot of in­ter­est from record la­bels fol­lowed the Im­merse suc­cess and the band now has some ma­jor de­ci­sions in front of them. They are in the midst of record­ing two al­bums in New Zealand and will tour the US early next year, with dates al­ready set, and a per­ma­nent move look­ing likely.

‘‘Over there it’s about push­ing to be the best and that’s what we want. We’re get­ting known here in New Zealand but I don’t think our mu­sic fits,’’ says Melody.

The band’s style will soon be heard by a main­stream au­di­ence, cour­tesy of the New Zealand row­ing team’s of­fi­cial song for the World Row­ing Cham­pi­onships, at Lake Kara­piro from Oc­to­ber 30.

Sky Tele­vi­sion com­mis­sioned the video for Go For Gold, and it is ex­pected to re­ceive plenty of air­time in the lead-up to the event.

The band’s video for the song, which was recorded and filmed in Hous­ton, can be viewed on­line at YouTube. En­ter ‘‘Es­ther Melody, gold’’.

Melody rules: Es­ther Melody, sec­ond from left, with band mem­bers Caleb Smith, Hamish Maude and Jared Steven­son, and book­ended by two Gospel Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives. They are on the verge of break­ing big in the United States, with huge in­ter­est from la­bels af­ter per­for­mances at a ma­jor mu­sic expo.

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