Melinda Schneider talks about her admiration for Doris Day and her new hit album ‘Melinda does Doris’

August 18, 2010 4 Comments

As we previously reported, the singer-songwriter Melinda Schneider has just released her tribute to Doris Day ‘Melinda does Doris’. Having just heard the album in full we were impressed by what is a very enjoyable collection of songs by a lady who is so clearly a talent of the Australian country music scene. We actually found Melinda’s sunny personality, country twang and rich vocal just so appealing which judging by the album’s chart success seems to have been felt by many other music lovers downunder!

The big triumph of Melinda’s latest long-play is it transforms many standards of over 50-years-old into contemporary pop tunes, fine examples of this are made with “Put ‘Em In A Box, Tie ‘Em With A Ribbon (And Throw ‘Em In The Deep Blue Sea) and her lovely duet “Love Somebody” with David Campbell – both of which we have just had time and time again on the repeat button. Other highlights are “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps”, “The Black Hills of Dakota” and a truly captivating ukulele version of “I’ll See You In My Dreams” which in our opinion stands firmly alongside Doris Day’s original as being one of the best ever versions cut of this heartfelt song (written by Isham Jones and Gus Kahn).

We recommend that you treat yourself to Melinda’s tribute as it is one of those albums that come along from time to time actually well worth the listen. ‘Melinda does Doris’ is available now across Australia or online from amazon.com and melindaschneider.com.

Below is an exclusive interview that Melinda did for the ‘Discovering Doris’ website:

How did you first discover Doris Day?

I was first introduced to Doris Day by my mum, Mary. I come from a show biz family, my mum is a wonderful singer and yodeller. She loved Doris Day and ‘The Black Hills Of Dakota’ was one of the first songs mum taught me how to harmonise…as an 8yr old. As the years went on, we would do the song at family parties in three part harmony with my mum’s sister Rita, also a wonderful comedian…aaah happy memories.

What impressed you most about her then and what has kept you interested in her until now?
I most loved the happiness and joy she exuded, of course her velvety voice, incredible dancing and comedic streak as an actress…there’s nobody like Doris.

If you could only pick one Doris Day song and one of her films to take with you on a desert island what would they be and why?
I would take the song ‘It’s Magic’ with me on the desert Island….I’d be looking at the stars each night getting lost in the silence of being stuck in the middle of nowhere and listening to the beautiful lyrics falling in love again each time I heard it. ‘Calamity Jane’ would be the film….it’s always been my favourite….it has it all, romance, action, comedy and a happy ending.

Has Ms. Day’s career or life in anyway inspired or influenced you?
When I think of Doris I always remember to keep my chin up and take the high road….she’s full of class and optimism.

Do you consider yourself in anyway similar to Ms. Day?
Yes actually, we were both born to German Catholic parents, though I’m not sure if her mother yodelled….and I’m also a mad animal lover, I wanted to be a vet and worked at a clinic when I was 13. I’ve had dogs all my life and they are like my babies….I have two Lab/Kelpie crosses, sisters Rosie and Daisy who are 12 and beautiful.

How and when did your new DD tribute album come about?
I took part in a Doris Day Tribute concert 7 years ago in Melbourne, Australia for the Midsummer Mardi Gra festival and was asked to sing ‘Deadwood Stage’, ‘Secret Love’, It’s Magic’ and ‘Black Hills Of Dakota’ and the response at the concert was magical….it made me realise I had to record some Doris songs one day. Then earlier this year I was writing songs for my next original country album and I was approached to do ‘Dancing With The Stars’, I knew then, that I was about to be all singing AND all dancing and the timing was just perfect for this record.

As you are best known in your homeland of Australia for your country music did you have any reservations about recording songs by a singer who is so much associated with the pop world?
Not at all…I am a songwriter and I believe in great songs, no matter what the genre. Doris’ catalogue is full of them.

Can you tell us any stories about the making of ‘Melinda Does Doris’?
Do any of the recorded songs now hold extra special meaning for you? I loved making this record. Chong Lim, my producer did a great job and my country players, Ian Lees (bass), John Watson(drums) and Mark Punch (guitar and Uke, he’s obsessed by Doris) really put my stamp on this record, then we added strings and horns and it was done! It’s the easiest record I’ve made, because the songs are great. I tried to be myself with this vocals and wanted to succeed in paying homage to Doris without impersonating her. One thing I did notice during the vocal takes was how difficult some of these songs are to sing. You really need to have great technique as singer to pull them off. I came to love ‘Teacher’s Pet’, ‘Sentimental Journey’ and ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ a lot more after I recorded them. I actually started crying during the vocal of ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’…it was one of those magic moments in the studio where my musicians were looking at me and they were choking up too. I was thinking of my dad, he passed away 7 years ago, I miss him sooo much.

What has been the most “magical” moment of this entire project so far?
It’s been so much fun recording an album with a horn section and I’ve been blown away with how well the album has been received. I’ve had nothing but positive comments about it from Doris fans in Australia and that’s a big relief for me…they are huge shoes to fill.

As Doris Day has a large fan base in the UK and USA do you intend to tour with your new album in either of these countries or indeed anywhere else overseas?
I would love to do some touring in the UK and the US and have the album released there….I’m open to all possibilities.

What can Ms. Day’s fans around the world expect from your new album?
Hopefully some happy memories, fun, joy and great songs. I hope they like what I’ve done with them.

If Ms. Day was reading this article now what would you like to say to her?
Doris if you are reading this I would like to thank you for all the happiness and joy that you have brought to so many people and to the world. You were given the immense natural gift of being multi talented, but you worked so hard with what you had to succeed and have endured many things along the way. Your strength, courage, joy and elegance and is what remains as well as your incredible body of work. I hope I get to meet you some day!

Now you have recorded this tribute album do you have any other aspirations you are keen to fulfil?
Oh, There’s a long list! I want to keep writing songs and making records, I’d also like to get back into acting and keep exploring different genres of music….I like to keep things interesting. As long as I am doing what I love for many years to come….I’ll be happy.

What does the future hold for Melinda?
More of the same with my music career I hope, I’d also like to have a child, if that’s meant to be it will be I guess…que sera sera

Before you go can you tell us of any favourite books, songs or albums you are currently enjoying and would recommend to our readers?
I am currently reading ‘My Booky Wook’ by Russell Brand, albums Nancy Wilson ‘With My Lover Beside Me’ and ‘The Rising’ Bruce Springsteen.

Thanks to Melinda Schneider and Suzy Byrne (her representative at Universal Music Australia) for making this interview possible!

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4 Comments to “Melinda Schneider talks about her admiration for Doris Day and her new hit album ‘Melinda does Doris’”
  1. Elsie says:

    Melinda, I am so glad someone is doing a tribute to Doris Day. I have been an admirer of Doris all my life and I am now 70. What is so wonderful if my children and my grandchildren adore her as well. I remember when my children were in high school I recorded some of Doris’ songs and at that time I could sing like her. If only that voice stayed with me. People thought it was her. Also, I was always told I looked like her and was just told this a few months ago by someone I purchased a car from. He said has anyone ever told you that you look like Doris Day and I said quite a few have but not lately. I felt honored. I think Doris is unique in her singing voice and the only other person so far that I have heard that I thought had such an unique voice was Elvis Presly. I will have to buy your album and I think you are beautiful also and I wish you many blessings.

  2. Nada says:

    After this reading I will for sure listen Melinda’s songs.
    Thank you Melinda and hope, you’ll meet DD some day.

  3. David says:

    Heard one track on 774. Excellent! Hope Doris doesn’t mind you sounding SOOO good. By the way Doris Day played the life of Ruth Etting who married a Moe Schneider, funny twist.

  4. David says:

    Re the above post I must correct myself, his name was Moe “Snyder” sorry.

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