Melissa James

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2018

Genre: R&B/Soul

Location: South East


"Best current British blues singer I know." – The words of BBC 6 Music's Tom Robinson who has long given a nod of approval to the work of this singer-songwriter. Melissa James is, however, much more than a blues singer. Appearing in Parliament to lead Parliamentarians in a Big Sing of her song, Live Again, she is a singer with incredible passion for her cause. The creation of her project SING4SANE was testament to that. A singing project which see “pop-up” Big Sings appear in public spaces alongside anyone who wants to raise their voice in the name of mental health, wellbeing and joy. Her heart is large and together with her music which blends folk, gospel, jazz – and life tales – her songs are never without a big helping of soul. 

Melissa makes her shows as much about the delivery of her songs as they are about reaching out and making a connection with her audience. 

Her 2012 debut record, Day Dawns, affirmed Melissa's place on the musical map as, not only a singer with a voice that moves and continues to permeate the many who hear it but a poetical songsmith who walks in the shadow of her idols Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and blues singer, Eric Bibb. Her most recent recording, Stripped Back, awaits official release and, as name suggests, places Melissa’s voice in an acoustic duo setting against the captivating backdrop of guitar or piano.

“James takes all of her musical loves – jazz, blues, soul, folk – and wraps them up into songs that achieve an astonishing array of moods and emotions.” - Jazzwise

“Melissa’s vocals are sensitive, soulful and emotional...” - Maverick