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Armed with her new release, Freedom, singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick has many reasons to declare herself free, and all of the talent to express it. Perhaps the most liberating part of Melissa’s new project is that Freedom was written, performed, recorded, and produced almost entirely by herself, and certainly on her own terms. As Melissa explains, "At first I was afraid of failing. There would be no one to blame if the album wasn’t everything I was imagining in my head. But then I found myself enjoying the work and thriving from the challenge of having total creative control. Now it feels good to accept full responsibility for my own art." Melissa did recruit friend and former band mate, bassist Marika Tjelios (Men Without Hats, Go Vangough), for assistance and the two spent one month completely engrossed in the project. Working with a modest independent-label budget contributed to Melissa’s feelings of liberation. "For the first time in my career I’m not in debt. It’s a relief to not owe my record label money and to be supporting myself by doing what I love." Freedom oozes independence.
Delivered with all of the inspiration and intimacy that makes her such a compelling artist, Freedom also holds an air of newfound grace and an ease of expression that perfectly compliments Melissa’s deeply personal, yet universal lyrics. Her staccato voice soars and her acoustic guitar rings clear as each song tells stories of lust, love, loss, and liberation. Melissa’s personal attention to detail adds depth to the project, while precise and insightful lyrics leave space for individual interpretation. The result is a complexity and passion that’s rarely seen in pop music today.
Although Melissa has never been one to withhold much, perhaps her boldness has recently been nurtured by industry attention and fan support. Her previous release, Everything I Need, was launched at the Boston Lilith Fair, where the album outsold every other artist release on the bill. The album earned Melissa Best Folk Rock Band at the prestigious 1999 Boston Music Awards and was nominated as Album of the Year by the 1999 the Gay and Lesbian American Music Association (GLAMA). Also in 1999, Melissa performed at WBOS Earth Day and WXRV’s Riverfest, and enraptured audiences at the infamous Newport Folk Festival. Melissa participated in an exclusive Tower Records Liquid Audio performance at the 1999 NARM convention in Las Vegas. Now Melissa’s performance is available for purchase via the internet using state-of-the-art Liquid Audio technology. The Respond Project, a compilation cd featuring Boston female artists and benefiting women and children victimized by domestic violence, features an acoustic version of the song "Everything I Need" and was recently awarded Album of the Year by Billboard Magazine.
Melissa’s fiery live shows are an infectious experience, exhibiting her magnetic personality, quirky sense of humor and outstanding musicianship. Performing over 200 shows each year, the buzz on her is traveling quickly. With the release of Freedom, Melissa continues to perform in front of packed houses, while her notoriously loyal and swelling fan base often travel over states, and even the entire, to get their "Ferrick fix." It’s rare and refreshing to see a devoted following assembled by years of hard work, especially in these days fleeting fans encouraged by huge advertising dollars spent. "My relationship with my fans is an inseparable part of my music," Melissa explains. "Since I’m on the road so often, much of my song writing is inspired by my experiences with the audience. I’m so grateful that my fans are as dedicated to my career as I am."
From the celebratory title track, to the vulnerable "Win ‘em Over," the catchy "Hold On," and the sexy fan-favorite "Drive," Freedom is testament to Melissa Ferrick’s reputation for seamless song writing and daring creativity. Most importantly though, Freedom is Melissa’s expression of gladness for being a musician and her gratitude for the privilege.