Guns N’ Roses had a new live member at their show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles last night: Melissa Reese, the band’s first female member. She replaced Chris Pitman as second keyboardist, rounding out the show’s lineup which also featured Axl Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Richard Fortus, Dizzy Reed, and Frank Ferrer. Below is more information on Melissa from her website:
Melissa Reese is a musical powerhouse. She began singing and playing piano classically at the age of four. By 14, she was writing her own songs, then at 17 taught herself Pro Tools, Reason and Logic to write, arrange, produce, perform, engineer, and mix her own recordings.
Melissa is the youngest of three girls born into a racially-mixed household of Chinese, English, Spanish, Japanese, Filipino, Irish, Scottish and Danish in Seattle, Washington.
“By the time I could talk and gather what was going on in the world, my second oldest sister was already doing choir and lots of other performing,” says Melissa. “Initially, I took up singing to mimic her, but quickly began loving it as my own thing. I ended up going on a similar path as she; joined girls’ choir and began piano lessons, but as I got older, I went down a different road. My sister continued on a classical course and now sings opera, whereas I took up songwriting and directionally went more pop, R & B, and hip hop.”
In high school, Melissa deviated from the classical music training of her formative years; She joined the Roosevelt High School Vocal Jazz Ensemble and competed at both the Reno, and Lionel Hampton Jazz Festivals. In both competitions the group took 1st place, while Melissa herself won an outstanding soloist award at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Immediately after high school, furthering her musical prowess, Melissa began experimenting with recording. Her first recording module featured a vintage Boss BR-8 and a Roland Groovebox that were gifted to her. Soon after, she invested in Pro Tools, Logic and Reason while teaching herself the nuts and bolts of a plethora of other production software. In two years time, she wrote hundreds of songs, producing, arranging, programming and performing every note herself, in her own home studio.
Things have since progressed wildly in the young artist’s career. Television has been captivated by the cinematic quality of Melissa’s music. “Ooh La La”, “Pretty Please” and “Old Skool” three of the tracks from LISSA (her first media EP done collaboratively with industry veterans Bryan “Brain” Mantia and Pete Scaturro), earned a place in several network cable series’ – Showtime’s “Inside the NFL”, ABC’s “Mistresses” and “Cashmere Mafia”, E!’s “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, The CW’s “Gossip Girl” and “Privileged”, and FX’s “Dirt” to name a few. Melissa’s song “Girlfriend” was also used as the theme song for the Just Fab Shoe commercial campaign, which can be seen on TV as well as online. Since recording the Lissa EP, Melissa has gone on to several other projects, further exploring her varied interests, and testing her skills as an artist/songwriter/producer and now, composer. She has recorded tracks and several commercials with legendary funk artist Bootsy Collins, performed backing vocals for rapper Chuck D and pop singer Vanessa Carlton, co-wrote and produced music for artists like Taylor Swift, neo-soul artist Goapele, and Universal artist Allan Kuo from China. In addition to many other projects of this nature, Melissa has also written/composed music and performed vocals for gaming giants Sony Playstation, EA Games, Xbox.
Melissa formally partnered with drummer “Brain” to form “Brain and Melissa”, a composing team. Since that time, the duo has put out 2 major game themes for Sony Playstation, several pieces of original music for Playstation HOME, Mod Nation, Twisted Metal X, and were also excited to score their first full length major Playstation series release Infamous 2 – which was nominated for “Outstanding Achievement in Original Composition” by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (AIAS awards). The pair were also thrilled to be asked back to score Infamous’ 3rd installment entitled: Second Son which was released in March 2014. They have also been at work on other fronts – having produced several remixes and original tracks for the new upcoming album of multi-platinum selling girl-group TLC and Guns n’ Roses (from Chinese Democracy). They have also had the pleasure of scoring the E3 Xbox media briefing convention for Microsoft for the fourth year in a row. Brain and Melissa’s composing has been highlighted by signing with creative agency giant ICM and the release of their highly anticipated feature-length score for the film “Detention” done by acclaimed music video director Joseph Kahn. The film debuted at the SXSW film festival to rave reviews, and had its major nation-wide theater release through Sony Pictures/Samuel Goldwyn. Since the completion of “Detention” they have gone on to work with Kahn as his “go-to” composers on several projects including major ad campaigns for Nascar (including 3 Super Bowl adverts), Trust Bank (starring Bruce Willis), Seat (VW/Audi subsidiary), and Johnnie Walker Blue (showcasing the first posthumous appearance by Bruce Lee in the media (via CGI) since his death. In other news, the pair was excited to finish their first project with Disney – a game with their Interactive division, Fantasia: Music Evolved as well as scoring the new ad campaign for the car company Qoros (Range Rover subsidiary) (both released in October 2014). In December, the duo composed the music for the over seas new year campaign for Budweiser. Brain and Melissa are having an amazing year so far. The pair was thrilled to have scored the press juggernaut short film Power/Rangers for Joseph Kahn and producer Adi Shankar which went viral amassing more than 18 million hits between Vimeo and Youtube (and counting). Shortly after, B and M were hugely excited to work on the score/remix for Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video which premiered on the Billboard Music Awards and has now amassed nearly 400 million hits. Bad Blood also took home the Grammy for Best Music Video in 2016.
On the artist’s side, Melissa has been hard at work co-producing and writing songs with Mannie Fresh and Grammy award winning producer Drumma Boy both for her new upcoming album, and for other notable artists. She can also be seen singing the national anthem at several major sporting events for teams like the LA Clippers (at Staples Center), Cleveland Indians (at Progressive Field), the Sacramento Kings (at Sleeptrain Arena), the Chicago White Sox, and the Oakland A’s to name a few. In addition, she was recently honored, having been asked to perform at the 34th annual UNICEF Gala 2015 tour in Germany, as a recording artist/ambassador for the United States.
“I love that I’ve had the chance to do so many different things outside recording my own music as an artist…” says Melissa. “I always want to do what feels right to me and what I’m good at. Embrace my diversity, and not limit myself. I view my work as an extension of my ethnic heritage – there are so many parts that make up me. And delving into all these areas is the only way that I can be completely true to who I am.”