“Welcome to my Lady Lair,” says the diminutive Ivey, her famously huge brown eyes sparkling with a trademark combination of wisdom and mischief.
Equal parts laboratory, writing space, recording studio and sanctuary, the Lady Lair is packed with clues about what motivates the art, and heart, of Melissa Ivey, one of Denver’s most enduring songwriters and musicians. There are yoga books and spiritual icons, an altar to her guru, Amma, whom she treks to visit in New Mexico every summer. There are two guitar-shaped statues placed side-by-side on the window pane, tokens from 2005 and 2006, when Ivey was named “Best Singer/Songwriter” by Westword newspaper, Colorado’s largest alternative weekly. There’s a computer, loaded with sounds and samples and Garage Band, which Ivey used to record demos for her new album, Speed of Life, due in summer 2013.
But mostly, there are tools of the musician’s trade: Electric and acoustic guitars, basses, a mandolin, a Moroccan bouzouki, a rain stick from New Mexico. In the corner stands “Sweet Beast,” an upright electric cello Ivey sometimes bows just to connect to a deep-down resonance of its hum.
The instruments plot Ivey’s development as an artist who taught herself to play bass and guitar before she entered high school, who often missed weeks of classes to go on tour as the front-woman of a teenage punk band, and who eventually established herself as one of Denver’s leading songwriters and performers by constantly working, honing, refining and loving her craft.
“I think of musical instruments as postcards,” Ivey says. “It’s kind of like how people get tattoos to mark important events. I’m constantly surrounding myself with things I don’t know how to play, because it keeps that childlike wonderment. I don’t bring a formula. I let the muse in.”
The muse is clearly at work on Speed of Life. From the jubilant power-pop of “Friday Night,” an ode of the thrill of the teenage crush, to the haunting “Let Me In,” a meditation on the longings and losses that accompany the breakdown of relationships. The songs reflect a range of experiences and projections of an older, more mature Ivey, an artist who feels and lives with her eyes open.
Speed of Life’s songs were shaped with help from “Eva”, a sixteen-track Zoom that expanded Ivey’s skill as a player, arranger and composer.
“I’m getting into more of an experimental, electronic sound,” Ivey says. “I usually have a very organic sound -- everything is written on an acoustic guitar – but I’m learning how to speak the language. It’s significant for me to not limit myself to what I’m comfortable with. Speed of Life is opening me up. It’s like, ‘I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m creating it’s very ambiance.’ And the stories aren’t from this other world. They’re from the heart.”
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The NEW ALBUM "SPEED OF LIFE"
Reminiscent of Janis Joplin and pop rock icons Joan Jett and Pat Benetar, the Gypsy Rocker Melissa Ivey takes you on a musical journey through blues, rock, punk, folk and her AWARD-WINNING singer-songwriter style.
"Speed of Life" is Melissa's third studio recording, currently in production. This soul driven Blues-Rock project promises more of the Gypsy Rocker's signature sound... catchy hooks, hard hittin' bass grooves, beautiful rhythm guitar riffs in perfect harmony with distorted electric bliss - accompanied by her sometimes sweet and sometimes gritty vocals. Featuring appearances by former lead guitarist for James Brown - Damon Wood, award-winning singer/songwriter Xolie Morra and renown producer Ryan Franks, Speed of Life is destined for the charts.