Music my ultimate dream: Andrea Melisa | Sunday Observer

Music my ultimate dream: Andrea Melisa

The performing arts industry in Sri Lanka is at its highest with of unique talents and different takes on Music/Drama and more artists coming up every year and bursting onto the scene. This week we shine a light on the talented Singer-Actress Andrea Melisa, a product of India who now resides in Sri Lanka, looking to take on the industry and showcase her skills through many platforms of the performing arts.

Q: Who is Andrea Melisa?

A: Well I grew up in a hill station called Coonoor in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where I completed my schooling. I then moved to Chennai to pursue my bachelors in Social Work at Stella Maris College, receiving the Gold Medal for academics (valedictorian award) and the ‘Best Outgoing Student of the Department, 2014’ award, while also being a Class Representative and holding the post of Cultural Secretary of the Student’s Union.

I then moved to Bangalore, Karnataka, to pursue my Masters in International Studies from Christ University, once again completing the course as class valedictorian. Having been actively involved in the performing arts – dance (Bharathanatyam), music, public speaking/ elocution and theatre – for as long as I can remember, my past experience includes stints as a radio jockey, kindergarten and primary school teacher, social work volunteer and a public relations executive.

I moved to Sri Lanka a little over a year ago and currently work as a Feature Writer while also singing professionally in and around Colombo.

Q: What made you get into the field of arts?

A: With my mum being a professional Bharathanatyam dancer and a Carnatic music singer, getting into the field of arts was inevitable for me. Having started at quite a young age, I found myself being actively involved in church, school and university choirs; international dance competitions; and other extracurricular activities of this nature. I wrote and co-composed the school anthem of Riverside Public School, Kotagiri – my alma mater, and slowly started writing advertising jingles in addition to voicing them.

I began my career as a professional singer in Chennai in the year 2014, and have performed extensively in South India since then. Moving to Colombo hasn’t changed my involvement in the music scene and I know for a fact that this is something that I will take with me wherever I go.

Q: Describe your experience so far in the performing arts industry in Sri Lanka.

A: My journey in Sri Lanka has been absolutely incredible, especially with regard to the performing arts industry here. My involvement in Sri Lankan theatre began within a month of me relocating to this beautiful country, when I joined The Workshop Players in their latest production The Greatest Shows. My next thespian experience was with Cold Theatre 7 for their production of Grease – The Musical.

I participated in Colombo’s annual music talent competition – TNL Onstage 2018 – emerging as the winner for Best Original Song and runner-up for Best Soloist. I’ve also had the opportunity of performing for the Barmy Army at Unawatuna and Galle; at Pettah Effect’s ‘Rendezvous’; Zonta International’s Biennial District 25 Conference; and at other corporate events and gigs. I’ve been blessed with the privilege of meeting and working with some of the best talent in the Sri Lankan music industry, and it has truly been an experience of a lifetime!

Q: How do you think Sri Lanka can improve in music/drama?

A: Sri Lanka, from what I’ve learned, has always been culturally rich when it comes to music, drama and the performing arts. Today we see such a lot of talent in very diverse sectors of these arts. However, there is always room for improvement. I believe that holistic, rounded and more structured musical education is key for young Sri Lankans, whether it’s through the school system or outside of it.

This way, passion and dedication – which the talent here abundantly has – can be combined with international quality education to wield a better result. It will also help uplift the industry in a way that performers are treated with as much respect as any other professional. From what I’ve seen in Sri Lanka, performers always do their arts in their own time and with their own money. The country will benefit a lot if it creates a platform for the arts to be a lucrative career choice and not just a hobby.

Q: What next for Andrea Melisa?

A: The month of December is looking fabulous with an amazing line up of gigs – beginning with a Christmas concert that I’ll be performing at alongside insanely talented musicians and singers. The concert is scheduled for December 1, at the Russian Cultural Centre and is something that you definitely shouldn’t miss!

Apart from that, I’m currently working on some original music with Mike De Silva. An EP is definitely in the near future along with a series of collabs. Music ministry is something that has always been close to my heart and is something that I will definitely continue to pursue. I’m excited to see where this musical journey takes me in the long run. Singing has always been my passion, and launching a full time career in music is my ultimate dream.

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