Melisa Whiskey, real name Melisa Abimbola, was born (09/03/1991) Hackney but after her family moved to north London, she would grow up in the same Camden tower block, which would see her have British Drum n Bass legend Goldie as a neighbor – Bray Towers, Camden.
Melisa’s father was the audiophile of the family, and it was through him that she remembers hearing her first proper artists in the house, Bob Marley being the earliest voice she heard. By age 11 Melisa was already singing in the local community gospel choir and satisfying her growing desire for self-expression by writing poetry whilst still in primary school. She would win the competition twice and become a published writer there too - at only age 11!.
If Melisa was already developing a penchant for words, it was only at age 15 and via her GCSE music teacher that introduced her to classical music; she had been into hip hop: Biggie, Tupac, Nas, the US icons that were so dominant in London in the late 90s and early 2000s. But Melisa would also start to become enchanted by more traditional storytelling styles – country artists such as John Denver and Patsy Cline. Melisa heard Patsy’s “If you got leaving on your mind” and since then has always wanted her sound to be similarly dramatic, grand, timelessly classic.
Whilst a student at the University of Leicester, Melisa would pack in as many open mic nights as was humanly possible. She would pick up influential fans even at this stage, with BBC Introducing East Midlands going on to support and play her music at that early stage.
She graduated 2013 and within a year, aged 23, had signed her first publishing deal with BMG without having released a single song. Matt Chalk, the renowned A&R man discovered her and had her working with a slew of the hypest emerging beatmakers in the country. It would be two years however before she would get her first serious feature with Redlight on the track ‘Threshold’ - but it would be BBC Radio 1 tastemaker Annie Mac’s Hottest Record that year.
Another high-profile Roger Sanchez feature would follow last year, and a track with Keys N Krates. Melisa however realised that being a feature artist wasn’t what she was about. She needed to be an artist in her own right. Following; building a prestigious songwriting contacts book that would include Jimmy Hogarth, Alex The Kid, Akon and Melissa Etheridge, Melisa Whiskey needed to take the shot on her own. Her muses remain a mix of the classic and hot: Aretha Franklin, Anderson Paak, Aloe Blacc, John Legend, Sade. What matters to Melisa is the vocals, above everything. It’s clearly something she’s taken to heart.
At the start of this year, her debut track ‘Played’ would be premiered by BBC R1Xtra’s Twin B, who would make it his first Track of the Week. Produced by ADP, who had also worked majorly with Kept & Konan, it signaled the beginning of Melisa’s new journey as a solo artist. With her new release ‘Sweetest Cake’ already premiered again with Twin last week and due to premier online via Fashion & Culture Bible Wonderland Magazine, it’s looking like a bright 2017. Bringing a much-needed modern London sound to her brand of soul, shades of Amerie and excitingly, the playful invention of Anderson Paak come through.
“I want to inspire people not to give up on themselves,” Melisa states. “My EP almost never happened – I was going from writing session to writing session doing things that wasn’t even me - to earn a living, to be in this city. Now I’m doing my own thing and holding my head high.” You’d be wise to keep an eye out for Melisa.