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Where in the world is Melanie Lowe?

2009-04-20 16:04
Melanie Lowe

In short, Melanie Lowe's living the music!

She was the second runner up in South Africa's very first Idols competition back in 2002. Heinz Winkler won that year, but it was also the year that made household names of Brandon October, Bianca Le Grange, Ayanda Nhlangothi, David Fourie and of course Melanie Lowe.

And while some contestants went on to win awards, others wandered the streets barefoot hoping to find their true selves between that rock and hard place. With the fifth Idols season nearing its end, it's clear that reality competitions can't make you a musician. The competition raises its contestants to celebrity heights almost instantaneously and then drops them into obscurity, so that by the time the next season begins, the previous year's contestants are already forgotten. 

"I am continually amazed by what television exposure can do for your music career" says Melanie Lowe, the second runner up in Idols 2002, "However, if I had just relied on Idols, I would probably be back at my day job doing the same thing I was before."

Melanie has worked hard since the show seven years ago to recreate a career as a singer/songwriter. "The music industry is full of challenges and being part of a TV show will not cement your career."

Since Idols she's recorded several albums, been nominated for - and won - SAMA awards and given up her day job to tour the country promoting her own music.

Melanie's debut album Yesterday’s Diary sold over 12 500 units. Her duet with Garth Taylor, the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton single "Islands in the Stream" and "Cabin Fever", a duet with fellow Idols contestant Ezra Lingeveldt, both won her SAMAs.

She has two new CDs, a 12-track English album called Unspoken Truth and a five-track Afrikaans single called As. All tracks on these CDs have been written and composed by Melanie.

Apart from recording music and performing at gigs, Melanie also started her own company called Mellow Music. "I think there is a lack of proper management in the music industry and a general lack of knowledge on the part of young and upcoming musicians. I have some big plans for Mellow Music". The company was only started about a year ago, so it's still in its infancy, but Melanie hopes this will allow her to take more control of her career and to help new musicians enter the industry.

And like a true idol, she's also taken to charity work, becoming the official ambassador for Little Eden, a home for severely mentally and physically disabled people. "I wrote a song for them a few years back and put it on my first album. The song's called "If I could" and it's written from a handicapped person's viewpoint. I've used the song as a means of getting a lot of exposure for Little Eden and it really helped that the song became a hit!"

So who is Melanie's favourite contestant in this year's Idols show? "I really enjoyed Jason's performance" she says of the April 12 performance, "I like that he's a muso and works hard at it".

But her personal idols are Tori Amos and Sarah Bettens, and her CD collection boasts plenty of female singer/songwriters.

Melanie got the chance to support one of her idols, Belgian artist Sarah Bettons, on a countrywide tour. She's also supported international artist Katie Melua on her tour and Westlife at their Durban show.     

Watch out for Melanie's live gigs where she performs her jazz and blues songs with her band or solo with her ovation guitar.

Coming up: Your can see Melanie and her three piece jazz band at the first birthday of Steven Graham Gifts And Décor at the Rockwell Center in Cape Town on 24th April, 2009 at 18h00.

- Ashlin Simpson

In short, Melanie Lowe's living the music!

What to read next: www.melanielowe.co.za

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