Whenever Melissa Azavedo sings at a performance, everyone is hypnotized by her angelic voice and unassuming stage presence. She still gets surprised when she hears others praise her, and it is this innocence and humility that makes one want to draw closer. There is an air of mystery to her, as though she is not only singing, but revealing her own story in the process. Though we cannot know her story, we will at least try to capture a little bit of what it means to be Melissa…
Miguel de Cervantes once said that “[he] who sings frightens away his ills.” Agree?
Well, I would not fully agree to that because I believe that even listening to music is therapeutic in nature. But from a singer’s point of view, I do experience a sense of peace and happiness whether i am singing alone or in public. It does not matter how many times I perform, but a few minutes before any event I feel afraid and a sense of nervousness. Miraculously, all of it disappears once I start singing. So, yes the act of singing does help one feel liberated.
What do you look for in the crowd when you sing?
I look for nothing. The reason being that it is vital for everyone – whether a musician or not – to embrace their real self. This thought has really changed my perspective of life. The more you look for approval, the more insecure one becomes, but with that being said it is a ‘choice’ of how we deal with praise or criticism. A crowd comprises of people from different backgrounds and different walks of life and you cannot really look into peoples’ minds separately. Music unites people and oneness is possible when the singer is able to make individuals empathize and communicate the message of the song whether lyrically or musically.
Do you have any rituals prior to a performance?
Singing is a gift from God, so I always pray and spend some time alone.
You are known as a humanitarian. How can you encourage fellow singers to use their voice to awaken their respective communities?
As mentioned earlier, empathy is one way your priority changes. When you see yourself in the other, the way you think and act changes for the best. You do not have to sing to be a good human, but the tongue is a weapon that could hurt someone or heal a broken heart. So watch your words and continue to be positive and kind even though it is hard sometimes. You will feel yourself grow stronger and focused on what life has to offer you. Let’s share our voice for the betterment of the world.
Finally, do you think music will feature prominently in the next chapter in our evolution of consciousness?
That’s a tough question. Firstly, for me, consciousness is being self-aware about one’s actions and surroundings. Therefore, it is connected to the mind, body, experiences and culture. So when I meditate about music and consciousness, music does have the power of bringing people together despite our differences, but I think it’s the ‘motive’ of the song that directs the quality or direction of consciousness.