Melissa Stylianou

Over the past ten years, Toronto-born vocalist Melissa Stylianou has established herself as a formidable talent in Canada, earning three nominations as Jazz Vocalist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards (2003, 2004 and 2006) and a nomination as Composer of the Year in 2006. She has headlined at major jazz festivals all over Canada, including the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, the Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax and the Brandon Jazz Festival in Manitoba. Melissa performs regularly at the country’s best jazz clubs and has developed a loyal home-base, while her skills as a composer/lyricist have been receiving attention across Canada.  In 2004, she was the recipient of a Toronto Arts Council Music Creators Grant and in 2005, Melissa was honoured to receive a Canada Council for the Arts Grant for Professional Musicians, allowing her to move to New York City, where she continues to live and work.
Since moving to New York in November 2005, Melissa has quickly gained recognition as a talented musician/ composer among audiences, critics and peers, performing with such jazz luminaries as Ben Monder, Chris Lightcap, Matt Wilson, Cameron Brown, John Hart, Steve Cardenas and Rodney Green. With the support of a FACTOR grant, Melissa showcased at IAJE in New York City in January 2006, which lead to opportunities to perform at New York’s top jazz clubs, including Jazz Standard, Blue Note, Smoke, Iridium, Cornelia St. Café, Cutting Room, 55 Bar and Birdland, where performed a special one-night engagement with her quintet (including Jamie Reynolds, Orlando le Fleming, Rodney Green and Joel Frahm) on November 20, 2007.
Melissa also maintains an active performance schedule in Canada. In the summer and fall of 2006, Melissa lead a quartet on tours across Canada in support of her third independent release ‘sliding down’ (Sleepin’ Bee Music, Festival Dist.). With funding from both the Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR, this record introduces Melissa as a talented songwriter/lyricist as well as builds on her reputation as one of Canada’s finest interpreters of the jazz repertoire. ‘sliding down’ features arrangements of popular songs (Lennon & McCartney’s ‘Blackbird’), jazz standards (Porter’s ‘All of You’) and original material including the title track, Edgar Meyer’s ‘Sliding Down’ with lyrics by Melissa. Her ability to bring this diverse material together has caught the attention of critics on both sides of the border:
‘Sliding Down showcases sophisticated songwriting, impeccable phrasing and her pure tone.  Stylianou impresses with her ability to refresh traditional jazz classics and seamlessly incorporate original songs.’
Jazz Improv NY
‘This album is clearly a best-of-year candidate.’
Toronto Star
Building on the success of her previous releases ‘it never entered my mind, ‘ and ‘bachelorette*’, Melissa’s newest album has launched her career outside of Canada and brought her to the attention of international jazz audiences and critics.
In addition to leading her own group, Melissa is in demand as a guest vocalist with many high-calibre groups. With the acclaimed Art of Time Ensemble, she opened for k.d. lang at Roy Thomson Hall in 2005 and performed in Moscow, Russia in May 2006.  She traveled to the Indian River Music Festival in PEI in July 2006 as the vocalist with Andrew Downing’s ‘Melodeon’. On December 31, 2006 she was the featured vocalist with the Champagne Symphony Pops Orchestra led by John MacLeod and Bob DeAngelis at Roy Thomson Hall.  The group returned to that stage on New Year’s Eve for a repeat engagement before heading to New York City’s Carnegie Hall on January 16, 2008 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Benny Goodman’s famous 1938 concert. Melissa is also a member of the Spitfire Band and can be seen in the hit Canadian kids’ TV show ‘Foursquare’ (Treehouse TV). Melissa’s music continues to garner heavy airplay on CBC, JazzFM 91.1 and other radio stations in Canada, Europe and Australia.
With her new album garnering acclaim from around the world, Melissa is poised to take advantage of this place and time to develop her profile as an international performer.