Well, my friends, it was bound to happen. This is officially the first episode of this podcast where my guest got a flat tire on the way to the diner. Melissa Menago hit a gigantic pothole on Rt. 476, barely making it off the highway to the relative safety of a parking lot next to a hair salon. Luckily, Melissa was no worse for the wear after she Uber’d over to the Springfield Diner, in the heart of Delco.
Melissa and I go way back. We met roughly 15 years ago when she was a music industry student at Drexel University and I was her song writing teacher. Even then, her songwriting and vocal talent was impressive - so much so, that when I left academia in 2020, the first person I thought of to recommend for the job was Melissa.. and guess who the current songwriting professor at Drexel University is!
In the 2010s Melissa formed June Divided, a killer rock band that played all over the country on the Warped Tour, and had turned out to be an enduring collective of musicians that she still fronts today.
Melissa is also a great solo artist, and she has a brand new record coming out in 2023 that leans more “sad girl” (as she puts it). It’s that more introspective sound that informs a very special holiday duet she wrote just a few weeks ago, called
“I Never Liked The Holidays (Before I Met You)"
All I know is.. I never met a parenthetical title I didn’t like, so I felt super-fortunate that Melissa thought of me to sing this song with her. Check it out on all streaming platforms now!
In this conversation over mushroom omelettes and pancakes, we talk about our struggles as music "lifers" (both with Delaware roots and a vocal coach in common), who still sometimes have to answer the age-old question:
You still doing the music thing?
Which begs the question: Do we really have a choice?
I hope you enjoy this wonderful conversation!