Melissa Tkautz

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Melissa Tkautz
Birth name Melissa Natalie Tkautz
Born (1974-01-24) 24 January 1974 (age 40)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Origin Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died acc
Genres Pop, dance, Europop
Occupations Actress, singer-songwriter, model
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1990–present
Labels Phantom, Westside, J&B, Big, Rajon, Central Station, independent
Website melissatkautz.net

Melissa Natalie Tkautz (born 24 January 1974) is an Australian actress, singer-songwriter and model. As an actress Tkautz had the role of Nikki Spencer on the popular Australian TV soap opera, E Street, from September 1990 to May 1993. During the early 1990s she had a solo music career, performing mononymously as Melissa, and had top 20 hits on the ARIA Singles Chart with "Read My Lips" (No. 1, June 1991), "Sexy (Is the Word)" (No. 3, September) and "Skin to Skin" (No. 16, April 1992). Her debut album, Fresh, was released in June 1992 and peaked at No. 15 on the ARIA Albums Chart.

After her stint on E Street, Tkautz has appeared on Paradise Beach (1993–94), Pacific Drive (1996–98), All Saints (2001–02, 2004), Swift and Shift Couriers (2008, 2011) and Housos (2011). Her modelling career has included early child modelling, then as a teen in various pop entertainment magazines and from 1996 on fashion and men's magazines. On 4 December 2005, she issued her second solo album, Lost & Found, which provide a single, her cover version of "The Glamorous Life", which appeared in the top 40. In August 2011 she issued a compilation album, The Hits and More. In February 2009 Tkautz married a finance businessman, Kwesi Nicholas, her partner of five years; outside her performance career she uses her married name, Melissa Nicholas.

Television career[edit]

Tkautz was born in Sydney in 1974.[1] According to Tkautz "I had very strict parents ... I wasn't allowed to do anything".[2] Her father, Stefan Tkautz, is from Austria and her mother's family are Maltese.[3][4] As a young child she studied drama, dance and singing; she began modelling and appearing in commercials.[5] By the age of 17, she had appeared in over 160 television and print commercials.[1] Some of these included ads for QANTAS and Cadbury.[3] She started modelling and then began acting in TV soap operas, Richmond Hill and Home & Away in the late 1980s.[1][5] In 1989 she entered the Miss Teen Australia contest.[6]

In September 1990, at the age of 16-years-old, Tkautz was cast in the role of Nikki Spencer on the popular Australian soap opera, E Street.[1][7][8] She described her role, "Nikki is everything I don't want to be ... She smokes and she's really the sort of girl most parents would be horrified to have their daughters associating with".[8] Tkautz soon became one of the show's main stars due to the popularity of her character. During this time, she attended the Australian Academy of Dramatic Art in Sydney, graduating in 1991.[1][3] During that year she appeared on numerous Australian editions of magazine covers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan, TV Week, Smash Hits and Dolly.[3] In 1991 readers of TV Hits voted her as the Hottest Woman on Earth.[3] Tkautz also had a supporting role in the mini-series, The Girl from Tomorrow (1992).[1]

Due to her popularity, the producers of E Street decided to have Tkautz record a song, which would be used in the show as part of a dream sequence, where her character imagines she is a pop star.[5] This resulted in a recording career for Tkautz, she later recalled "I loved singing and I had trained as a singer, but everything happened so quickly, it was just a crazy whirlwind. One minute I'm watching E Street in my lounge room, the next minute I’m starring in E Street and I've got a number one single in the charts".[9] However in November 1991, due to the pressures of juggling two full-time careers, and a conflict with the producer, Forrest Redlich, Tkautz left E Street to concentrate on her music career.[6][10] At the TV Week-sponsored Logie Awards she was nominated for Most Popular New Talent in 1992.[11] By November 1992 Tkautz had returned to E Street.[6] However, the network decided to axe the series in May 1993.[12]

In 1993 and 1994, Tkautz appeared on Paradise Beach,[7] playing Vanessa Campbell, the manipulative ex-girlfriend of Sean Hayden (played by Ingo Rademacher).[12] Tkautz described her character "[s]he's a bit of a psycho, a real bitch ... She is nothing like Nicki in E Street. This one's a real troublemaker".[12] In 1995, she had a role in Echo Point. In 1996, Tkautz joined the series Pacific Drive,[7] where she played a model, Bethany Daniels.[9] This role had a major affect on Tkautz, who played the first long-term HIV positive character on Australian TV.[9] She described how "I did a lot of research on the role and a lot of charity work with HIV [patients], especially young kids who had contracted the disease".[9] The series later gained a cult following.[9][13] When Pacific Drive was cancelled in 1998, Tkautz joined the cast of Medivac (1998) as Nurse Evie Morrison. Tkautz later appeared in the series, All Saints (2001–02, 2004).

From 1996, Tkautz modelled for fashion and men's magazines Black+White, Australian Playboy, Ralph and FHM.[1][3] In 2001 she appeared on the Myer Intimacy Apparel runway, modelling underwear,[14] and followed with a stint at the Australian Fashion Week, that year.[1][3]

In late 2008, Tkautz starred in Swift and Shift Couriers (created by the same crew that created Fat Pizza), which aired on SBS ONE.[9] Filming took place in early 2008, with some episodes being shot in Thailand and Egypt. The first season had eight episodes that aired on TV during October–November 2008. She returned for a second season in 2011.[2] Tkautz was also a guest star in controversial comedy series, Housos (from October 2011), residents of housing commission units wanted the show banned.[9][15] In May 2012, Tkautz was interviewed by Sonia Kruger and David Campbell on Mornings and described her career after E Street in the segment, "Where Are They Now?".[16]

Singing career[edit]

Tkautz was signed to Westside Records, a label created by E Street's producers, and recorded her debut single, "Read My Lips".[7] Redlich described why Tkautz was chosen ahead of her fellow actresses "I thought it was too raunchy for Toni Pearen and too teeny-bopper for Alyssa-Jane Cook".[10] It was promoted via the show and released in June 1991, which reached the number-one position on the ARIA Singles Chart in July.[17] The track was written by Tony King and Roy Nicolson,[18] and was produced by Leon Berger.[17] At the ARIA Music Awards of 1992 it won Highest Selling Single for the previous year.[7][19][20] The song was parodied by Gina Riley on the comedy TV series, Fast Forward, as "Pout Your Lips". The single's B-side is "Say Goodbye" and was written by Berger, Alston Koch and Doug Henderson.[21] Since 1991, Tkautz has re-recorded "Read My Lips" twice: the first version as the "Read My Lips (Electro Pushers Remix)",[22] which was to be included as a bonus track on her proposed third album, Glamorous Life; and the second version as the "Read My Lips (Neon Stereo Remix)", which was performed live by Tkautz on Channel 7's The Morning Show.

Tkautz' second single from her debut album, "Sexy (Is the Word)", was issued in September 1991 and peaked at No. 3.[23] It was written by Berger, King and Nicholson and produced by Berger, Koch and Henderson.[23] She performed the track at the 1991 Rugby League Grand Final. At the end of that year Tkautz toured nationally as a support act on American dance-pop and hip hop group, C+C Music Factory's Australian Tour. Her third single, "Skin to Skin", appeared in April the next year, which reached No. 16, and was written and produced by the same team as "Sexy (Is the Word)".[24] In June that year, having left E Street, Tkautz released her debut album, Fresh, which peaked at No. 15 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[25] Tkautz promoted the album by a national tour, a further single, "Is It...?", was issued in July 1993 and reached the top 40,[26] but a proposed second album was shelved and Tkautz refocused on her acting career.[7]

In September 2005, Tkautz released a new single, a cover version of "The Glamorous Life", a 1984 song by Sheila E and written by Prince,[27][28] which peaked at No. 31 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[29] Her second album, Lost & Found, was issued on 4 December that year. Also that year, she re-recorded "Sexy (Is the Word)", which was included as a bonus track on Lost & Found. Tkautz travelled to Sweden in early 2006 to work with 2N and while there she recorded her next single, "Easily Affected", and "Not Enough".[13][25] Her version of "The Glamorous Life" had some success internationally. It was released in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, Russia, Dubai and UAE, and Canada.[13] In February 2008 she performed "Easily Affected", "True Love", "Read My Lips (Neon Stereo Remix)" and her new single, "I Want Your Love" at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day.[30]

In January 2012 Australian comedian, Sam Kekovich, released a music video as an ad for Australian lamb meat, which was a rendition of Aqua's hit "Barbie Girl"; it featured vocals by Tkautz and an appearance by hip-hop dance and pop music group, Justice Crew.[31] Meat and Livestock Australia's marketing manager, Andrew Cox, declared "[i]t's the most successful lamb campaign ever in terms of lamb sales ... people were able to share our 'Barbie Girl' song on Facebook and Twitter".[32] In August that year Tkautz issued a compilation album, The Hits and More, and followed with a tour promoting its appearance.[33]

Personal life[edit]

In 1999 her father, Stefan, died of cancer,[34] she co-wrote the track, "Goodbye Daddy" (with Paul Wiltshire),[35] from Lost & Found in his honour.[34] In December 2006 Tkautz told Woman's Day that she had been in love with her E Street co-star, Simon Baker, the relationship ended as "she wanted a long-term commitment but he was not at that stage of his life"; and then with Marcus Graham who "betrayed her after four months".[36] Baker had also appeared in the music video for her debut single, "Read My Lips". In February 2009 Tkautz married a finance businessman, Kwesi Nicholas, her partner of five years.[2][37] She uses her married name, Melissa Nicholas, outside her professional career.[38]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions.
Title Album details Peak chart positions
AUS
ARIA
[25]
Fresh 15
Lost & Found
  • Released: 4 December 2005
  • Label: JRB Music, Big Records (BIGCD036)
  • Formats: CD
The Hits & More
  • Released: 10 August 2012
  • Label: Digital File
  • Formats: Music download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Singles[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
AUS
ARIA
[25]
"Read My Lips" 1991 1 Fresh
"Sexy (Is the Word)" 3
"Skin to Skin" 1992 16
"My House"
"Is It...?" 1993 39 Non-album single
"The Glamorous Life" 2005 31 Lost & Found
"All I Want" 72
"Easily Affected" 2006 86 Non-album single
"I Want Your Love" (Nick Skitz featuring Melissa Tkautz) 2008 60
"Something About You" (Nick Jay featuring Melissa Tkautz) 2011 The Hits & More
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Year Award-giving Body Award Result
1992 ARIA Award Highest Selling Single ("Read My Lips")[19] Won
Best New Talent ("Read My Lips")[19] Nominated
1991 Logie Award Best New Talent (E Street)[11] Nominated

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Melissa Tkautz Biography". CelebritiesTime.com. 2005. Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Moran, Jonathon (28 August 2011). "There's Something About Melissa Tkautz". The Sunday Telegraph (News Limited (News Corporation)). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Melissa Tkautz Interview". Access All Areas (AAA Entertainment Pty Ltd). 2006. Archived from the original on 6 November 2006. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Portelli, Ramona (5 September 2011). "Interview with Melissa Tkautz". okmalta.com (Ramona Portelli, Mark Bugeja). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "Interview: Melissa Tkautz". auspOp. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "It's Melissa and Melissa". TV Week (Televisionau.com). 8–14 November 1992. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Melissa'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 27 June 2004. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Briefly...". TV Week (Televisionau.com). 22–28 September 1990. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Pearson, Sean (8 August 2012). "Melissa Tkautz: Read Her Lips". Scene Magazine (Eyeball Media Pty Ltd). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Melissa's Shock Exit". TV Week (Televisionau.com). 23–29 November 1991. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "What an Awesome Foursome". TV Week (Televisionau.com). 8–14 March 1992. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "Paradise Bitch!". TV Week (Televisionau.com). 23–29 May 1993. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c "Melissa Tkautz – People and Organisations", Trove (National Library of Australia), 2009, retrieved 8 June 2013 
  14. ^ "Melissa Tkautz: Modelling ... Melissa hits the runway for Myer". Herald Sun (News Limited (News Corporation)). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Aston, Heath (8 May 2011). "Not in Our Backyard: Call to Ban Show". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Campbell, David; Kruger, Sonia; Tkautz, Melissa (10 May 2012). "Mornings: 'Where Are They Now": Melissa Tkautz". Mornings. ninemsn (Nine Entertainment Co. & Microsoft). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Melissa [AU] – 'Read My Lips'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "'Read My Lips' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c "ARIA Awards – History: Winners by Year 1992: 6th Annual ARIA Awards". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Australia 1992 ARIA Awards". ALLdownunder.com. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  21. ^ "'Say Goodbye' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "'Read My Lips (Electro Pushers Remix)' (Rare)". NME (IPC Media (Time Inc.)). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  23. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Melissa [AU] – 'Sexy (Is the Word)'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  24. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Melissa [AU] – 'Skin to Skin'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c d Peak chart positions for singles and albums in Australia
  26. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Melissa [AU] – 'Is It...?'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "'The Glamorous Life' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Australian Top 50 Singles (12/9/2005 – 18/9/2005)". Talk About the Music. Archived from the original on 21 January 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  29. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Melissa Tkautz – 'Is It...?'". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  30. ^ "Melissa Tkautz – Bio". The Hot Hits (MCM Media). 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  31. ^ Fiedler, Nikki; Deeth, Courtney (26 January 2012). "Sam Kekovich Channels Aqua for Australia Day". Nine to Five. News Community Media. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  32. ^ Myer, Fiona (28 March 2012). "Sheep Sales up After Lamb Promo". Weekly Times Now. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  33. ^ Leo (10 August 2012). "Melissa Tkautz (Hits & More Interview)". JOYful Days (Joy 94.9 (JOY Melbourne Inc.)). Retrieved 8 Jane 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "Read Her Lips ... Again". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Australian Associated Press (AAP). 1 December 2005. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  35. ^ "'Goodbye Daddy' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  36. ^ Agostino, Josephine (4 December 2006). "Melissa's Pain: My Hunky Co-Stars Broke My Heart". Woman's Day 58 (49) (Australian Consolidated Press. EBSCO Publishing). p. 33. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  37. ^ "Melissa Tkautz Ties the Knot". Woman's Day (ninemsn Pty Ltd). 13 February 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2013. 
  38. ^ Dennehy, Luke (20 August 2011). "Read Her Lips, She Has no Regrets". The Advertiser (News Limited (News Corporation)). Retrieved 8 June 2013. 

External links[edit]