RANCHO SANTA MARGARTITA, Calif. – Tesoro High School teen, Melissa Lauren, headed to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and took first place in four North American Country Music Association International (NACMAI) events for her age category: Vocalist of the Year – Traditional Gospel (“Be Still My Soul & Lead Kindly Light”), Entertainer of the Year – Traditional Gospel (“Come Thou Fount & How Great Thou Art”), Songwriter of the Year – New Country (“Wild and Crazy”), and Songwriter of the Year – New Gospel (“Grateful”).
Traveling to Indiana and Tennessee was a whirlwind of celebration and success for the Orange County senior high school student. Not only did she take home four first place NACMAI awards, but she played a two-hour gig at The Player’s Pub near Indiana University. Melissa was also a featured guest on WFHB Radio 93.1 FM, the station which was the first to play her EP, Where I’m Supposed to Be, in December 2013.
NACMAI was founded in 1997 to promote the discovery, education, and showcasing of aspiring artists in the genres of Country, Bluegrass, and Gospel. During the week of the NACMAI competition in March, events ran from early morning until late in the evening and included the top three winners from each category at state affiliate competitions in the Summer of 2015. Melissa qualified in August at the California state competition placing first in Traditional Gospel and fourth in New Country. Three of her original songs progressed to the international level, where they were judged by music industry professionals and award-winning songwriters. As a contestant, Melissa had opportunities to meet and network with music industry executives in radio, television, recording and artist development.
Melissa Lauren is a regular participant in the OC Hit Factory/Sony Music advanced songwriting camps, where she receives instruction and coaching from internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, certified platinum and gold recording artist, and producer, Thomas Barsoe, along with special guests, who are often Grammy nominated/award-winning songwriters. The songwriting camps also have a competitive element, whereby the winning songs are distributed by Sony Music. Melissa consistently places high in these very competitive events, and her original, “Wild and Crazy,” was selected as a winning song and released by Sony in July 2015.
Melissa has lived her entire life in Rancho Santa Margarita, where she grew up singing musical theater and eventually landing her favorite role of Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” in the Elite Company of Broadway Bound Academy. She spent several years as lead singer and co-songwriter of New Shadows, who regularly performed at House of Blues, Downtown Disney and Hard Rock Café Hollywood, as well as, other venues in southern Orange County. Currently, Melissa is a regular performer at Country Live at the Merc in Temecula. In 2013, Melissa released her first EP and music video, both of which were recorded at OC Hit Factory. She has studied voice with Level 5 Speech Level Singing instructor, Lori Lindley, in Rancho Santa Margarita for the past 3 years. She has been an active member of various Tesoro High School choirs for all four years of her high school career, including the Madrigal choir during her junior and senior year. Tesoro is a Grammy Signature School under the direction of award-winning choral director, Keith Hancock.
Melissa Lauren is currently working on a gospel project with a veteran dedication set for a Memorial Day release and is writing new songs for her next album, which OC Hit Factory hopes to release by the end of the year. Her music can be found on iTunes, Goggle Play, Amazon and other music distribution sites.
For more information about Melissa Lauren, please visit her official website www.melissalaurenmusic.com