Everyone takes piano lessons growing up, but most people quit because they don’t want to practice. At times, senior Melissa Giges has thought of quitting, too, but her dreams are beginning to come true because she stuck with it.
The New York native releases her debut CD, No Perfect Time, this week.
Giges started playing the piano at age four, which she says is a “normal” age to begin. She then started singing. But she did not take an active interest in songwriting until she came to GW.
Giges says her music sounds a bit like Fiona Apple, her favorite artist. But she says she does not like to put herself into any category.
Whatever her style, Gige’s quiet nature is definitely deceiving. Her voice is barely audible above the high-powered fan in her apartment during the 90 degree weather. But on her CD her voice evokes powerful emotion through lyrics that describe her relationships and the world around her.
Giges encourages aspiring musicians to observe and learn from others.
“Don’t be discouraged by those who don’t like what you do, because there will plenty of people who do,” she said.
Just as Giges urges others to pursue their talents, she was influenced by fellow music major and GW alumna Angela Aki.
In college, Aki often performed at a coffee house called Jam’n Java, located in Vienna, Va. Giges had opened there many times. Tony Alany worked at this coffee shop, which conveniently had a recording studio in the back.
“Angela and Tony ended up getting married,” Giges said. And the rest is history. Giges wanted to record a CD before she left GW. Alany became her producer, and they recorded in the coffee shop where they had all met.
Making a CD is no easy task. Giges has been working on the album since August, which she said is “not considered a long time.” She had to rush to finish it before graduation.
Producing an album is not a cheap endeavor, either. She currently has no label, which means she had to pay from her own pocket to start up. But, on the upside, she makes all the profits.
“Its a lot of money to invest up front,” Giges said, adding that she hopes that it will be worthwhile.
Music is not just her hobby. It is something she intends to pursue, especially when she moves back to New York.
“The music industry is Washington is not geared towards someone like me,” she said. “If there are venues, there are not enough of them.”
In New York, she has performed at bars on several occasions. When she goes back home, she plans to travel to different cities and colleges along the East Coast to get her name out.
“I’ll see what happens, who picks up my music,” she said.
In the meantime, Giges is celebrating her success with a release party April 25 at Mimi’s American Bistro in Dupont Circle. There will be a $5 cover charge, but the price is more than worth it to see Giges perform.
She will sing a full set of 12 songs, mostly ones from her CD, but a couple that are unreleased. A full band – drums, bass and guitar – will accompany her that evening. The CD will sell for $12 at the event.