Photography by Matteo Tommaso Petri, Licia Rossi and Silvia Pedrini
Melissa Stott, jazz songwriter and vocalist, was born in Manchester (UK), daughter of a Singaporean-Chinese mother and an English father who was a jazz pianist and church organist. Being the only student on the advanced music course at high school, Melissa received one-to-one tuition in harmony and counterpoint from Lorna Wareham. A classical pianist and dancer, she spent the late eighties and early nineties living and working in London, Canterbury, Singapore, Italy, Sweden and Denmark, obtaining a degree in Drama and touring with a theatre company.
After vocal and instrumental studies with Barry Harris, Stjepko (Steve) Gut, Vince Benedetti, Dennis Jeter, Andy Farber and LaVerne Jackson, Melissa, already an established jazz vocalist, started writing down the songs that had been in her head for a while. For her 2005 debut, Why Now, she was hailed by Chris Parker (Vortex, London) as “a witty, accomplished songwriter with the ability to deliver her material with beguiling, informal intimacy…”, who also went on to predict that “her ability to write clever but affecting original songs that sound like standards in the making should see her establish herself in the top flight of vocalists in short order”. Her new 2007 release The Picture for Leo Feigin’s Feetfirst Records (a division of the avant-garde Leo Records), sees that promise about to be fulfilled.