- Entertainment and Media
Melanie Andrews is the Melody Maker who creates Stars
Melody Makers/MDI CEO ~ Melanie Andrews
Melanie Andrews is a very unassuming low-key and very successful songwriter/producer, who has worked with some of the music industry's top artists over the years.
With a smile as big as California and a soft spoken voice, I had the opportunity to discuss with Melanie her current works in the music industry as CEO of her record label, Music Development Incorporated (MDI), and her young artist professional development studio and Programs, Melody Makers, Inc.
The cast of television's hit series, 'Glee', recently performed one of Janet Jackson's early break-out hit songs, "Let's Wait Awhile", and it was hard to imagine it has been 27 years since the release of Janet's Iconic song that peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100, behind Club Nouveau's "Lean on Me", and it was co-written by Melanie Andrews.
The song became Jackson's fifth consecutive top five hit on the Pop charts, and it reached number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and sold millions of copies.
A coming of age anthem about abstinence and love, the song was a huge success worldwide as well. It peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, spending ten weeks there, and was a successful theme song for a popular TV show in Brazil called, "Brega Chique".
It all started with Janet Jackson wanting desperately to break from the "bubble-gum" music from her debut self titled album in 1982, 'Janet Jackson', that also made the music industry feel she was still just the cute little sister to The Jackson Five boys. Determined to seek a new direction on her own, Janet gave the task of revamping her music career to famed producers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
The two producers were known for their more urban adult themes and beats from their work with a Minneapolis club band called, The Time. Having produced such artists as Alexander O'Neal and Cherrelle to the top of the R&B charts, and with an emerging sound out of Minneapolis that was dominating the Pop Charts, Janet saw Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as her "wrecking ball" to a teen idol image and management direction she felt was all wrong for the now young woman she had become.
Minneapolis' music mecca status in the industry was largely due to the success of Prince who ignited The Time's fame, and that of lead vocalist, Morris Day, with their memorable comedic performance in the hit film, 'Purple Rain'. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis used that opportunity to branch out with their own studio, Flyte Tyme Productions, churning out hits that made them two of the most dominant producers of the '90s.
Melanie Andrews, being Janet's BFF from their high school days at the famed Valley Professional in Reseda, CA, where a lot of young celebrities attended school, actually accompanied Janet to Minneapolis more as a traveling companion rather than as a "official" co-writer and back-up singer working on this great new "breakthrough" record for Janet.
"My friendship with Janet was never about business. It was about true friendship! Us collaborating musically was Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' idea", says Melanie.
Benoit Mandelbrot once said, "Every nice piece of work needs the right person in the right place at the right time", and nothing could be truer than for Melanie being in Minneapolis with Janet.
Melanie became one of the youngest and most popular Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) female writers in the industry after winning the BMI Pop Music Award for co-writing“Let’s Wait Awhile,” and the BMI Millionaires Award.
She quickly signed a 5-year deal with powerhouse publishing company, Famous Music, a division Paramount Picture Company, where she would write and co-write multi-platinum songs for such labels as, Virgin Records, A&M Records, Warner Bros., Mo Jazz/Motown and MCA Records. She would then go on to create her own music publishing company, 'Mellie Mel Music'.
She has co-produced music along with 'American Idol's, Randy Jackson, and with the incomparable, 'Earth, Wind and Fire', as well as for ABC TV’s Soap Opera, “General Hospital”.
Music success for Melanie seemed only appropriate as she was born and raised in an affluent Jazz Family. Her Grandfather is the late world-renowned Jazz trumpeter, Snooky Young, who was known for being one of the greatest musicians in the business, and is the one who nurtured Melanie’s love for music.
Having had a distinguished career himself, Snooky Young toured with such legendary Jazz pioneers as Count Basie over an eight year period, and with Gerald Wilson and Lionel Hampton, among a score of many other Jazz greats. He joined NBC Television's 'The Tonight Show' Band in 1967, and stayed with them until 1992 where he was a studio trumpeter.
Not just a song-writer and producer, Melanie has also sung on various artists albums over the years including, Janet's "What Have You Done For Me Lately", "Control", "Let's Wait Awhile", "When I Think of You" and "Funny How Time Flies", as well as on albums made famous by Vanessa Williams, Adam Ant, Chuckii Booker, Ralph Tresvant, and Eddie Murphy, and many others.
Now, as CEO of her own professional independent music label, internet radio station, and artist development service company, Melanie has created a professional environment for musically gifted teenagers and kids who show promise as she did 27 years ago.
The "NEW SCHOOL KIDS JAMZ" is a compilation music series, on her record label, and is dedicated to providing kids, teens, and families with positive hip original music. "NEW SCHOOL KIDS JAMZ 2" will be released in 2014.
Melanie opened and directed several Dancing, Singing, and Recording Studios that are now “hot spots” in the Los Angeles and Orange County California areas.
To help those kids and families who see promise in a music career, the Melody Makers Scholarship Foundation, produces an annual fundraiser, "THE OC POP CONCERT" to assist those who might not have the financial means to further pursue their musical gifts professionally. The Melody Makers Scholarship Foundation awards a full scholarship each year through funds raised at this exciting annual concert.
On June 22nd, 2014, Melody Makers Music Development Incorporated, will hold its annual fundraiser concert event called the, 'Melody Makers/MDI O.C. Pop Concert 2014'.
Although this is the 8th annual year for the event, it is the third year that Melanie has focused the event for scholarship fund raising. She acquired a 501(C)3 Non-Profit status in the name of Melody Makers Scholarship Foundation to be able to align itself more with music education and the resources it could provide on the local, state and national levels.
The scholarship foundation has expanded this year to include reaching out to kids and teenagers in crisis through fundraising efforts and positive role model support of other charities. Its first outreach mission will be to The Casa Youth Shelter in Los Alamitos, California.
The Casa Youth Shelter mission statement is to provide temporary shelter for runaways and youth in crisis, enabling them to come through the crisis with an increased personal strength and a sense of renewal while in a supportive environment, with family reunification as a primary goal.
The 'Melody Makers/MDI O.C. Pop Concert 2014' on June 22, 2014 is going to be held at the beautiful CITY NATIONAL GROVE OF ANAHEIM Theater in Orange County, California, and will not only feature some of Melody Makers' and MDI's outstanding musical talents, but will feature headliner music performance by former TV "Shake It Up" and "Dancing With the Stars" sensation, Roshon Fegan.
Melanie quotes, "I am so proud and grateful that RO SHON chose to help our Scholarship Foundation and headline our concert this year! He is one of the most talented and nicest people I have ever worked with in the music business! He's a "true" super talent and a real star!!" His music ability as a recording artist is as outstanding as his acting ability! Look out RO SHON is breaking out the hits!"
Hosting the Pop Concert this year will be, Jarrod Taylor, from Dance Masters, whose dance crews have toured the country at dance-off show events and have been featured in many of the dance movies such as, ‘Step Up’, and ‘You Got Served’.
Also featured on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’, Jarrod Taylor has empowered gifted young kids to focus on their talents and provide opportunities for them to shine professionally.
While Melanie Andrews is excited to have such artists as Jarrod Taylor and Roshon Fegan participating in her Melody Makers/MDI O.C. Pop Concert 2014 event, she is probably most proud of her students, the very ones that this is all about, who will be performing on stage as well.
A few such artists are Sabrina Von B. and Malachi Mallywood, Sammy C.,and Danica are signed with Melanie's MDI record label and are ages 12 -17 years, Two of these artists started with Melody Makers Music Development Program and are already garnering recognition with their musical talents.
Both Sabrina Von B. and Malachi along with fellow Melody Maker up and coming artist, Danica, have all been chosen from a highly competitive field to perform at 'Live at Disneyland', on June 8th, at the world famous Disneyland resort. http://melodymakersoc.com/live-at-disneyland-june-8th/
With all of this great and wonderful young talent, and with how the industry has changed over the years, you just need to be able to create your own opportunities to get exposure; and that is what Melanie did by launching 'Hot Pop Radio', a new young artist internet radio station that is owned and operated by Music Development Inc.(MDI).
The radio station allows Melanie to not only showcase her talented teens, but also that of other young talents emerging on the scene. Hot Pop Radio was created especially for kids, teens and the whole family.
So now, 27 years and numerous multi-platinum songs written for some of the music industry's best talents; a scholarship music foundation with Melody Makers; a record label with Music Development Incorporated (MDI); an exciting new very popular internet radio station named Hot Pop Radio, and studios in L.A. and Orange County, Melanie Andrews is a true melody maker who has had great success with more promising accolades to come.
But I would be remiss if I did not mention one more very outstanding accomplishment that is one most dear to her heart: at six moths old Melanie Andrews was chosen as the 1st African American Gerber Baby in print. That is a distinction that no doubt set the tone for what has been a career on a meteoric rise.
Melanie Andrews Song Writing Discography
Here's a partial list of some of Melanie's song-writing releases ~ Song Artist Label Units Sold/Chart Position:
"Let's Wait Awhile", Janet Jackson A&M Records Over 10-million world-wide, #1 on Billboards Control Album;
"Go Too Far", Jibbs Geffen/Jibbs CD hit #9 on Billboard Hip Hop Charts;
"Just Want to Hold You", Jasmine Guy Warner Bros. #15 Billboard Hot 100 Chart;
"How We Roll", Fat Joe Loud Records;
"Can This Be Love", Quindon Tarver Virgin Records Charted on Billboard R&B Charts;
"I Got Love", Kleo Dynasty/Raging Bull #5 on Billboard Dance Chart;
"We Got The Night", Michael Saucedo ABC Television Aired on numerous episodes;
"In The Name Of Love", Earth Wind & Fire Kalimba Records Platinum in Japan & Europe;
"The Right Time", Earth Wind & Fire Kalimba Records Platinum in Japan & Europe;
"Keep it Real", Earth Wind & Fire Kalimba Records Platinum in Japan & Europe.
(Ref. from Wiki-Pedia)