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December 19, 1967 |
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
|Genres||Pop, Pop rock, Folk Rock, Folk|
|Labels||Sony Music Canada, Columbia Records, MapleMusic Recordings, Actorboy Records, Warner Music Canada, Prairie Ocean|
Early life and theatre beginnings
Daughter of J. Chalmers Doane, an Order of Canada-winning music educator, Doane mastered many instruments at a young age, including the piano, bass, mandolin, guitar, violin, and ukulele. Following high school, Doane studied music at Dalhousie University with the intention of becoming a music teacher. Her career path changed after landing a role in Neptune Theatre's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in 1986. She was cast regularly in productions at Neptune for two years before moving to Toronto in 1988. Over the next few years Doane played roles in various theatre productions, including Fire! and a brief stint on Broadway in Mirvish's production of Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story.
By 1993, Doane began pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter, recording an EP titled Harvest Train which she released independently. The songs made their way to executives at Sony Music Canada, and shortly thereafter she signed with Sony and began working on her debut album, Shakespearean Fish. Shakespearean Fish was met with critical praise upon its 1996 release and helped Melanie garner a live following. Although it never reached critical masses through commercial radio, the album caught the attention of producer Rick Neigher in Los Angeles and Doane began working with Neigher on her sophomore release in 1997.
Adam's Rib was released through Sony Music Canada in 1998. Its title track became the album's first Top 40 hit at radio, followed by hit singles "Waiting For The Tide", "Goliath", and "Happy Homemaker". Doane toured in support of the album for two years with artists including Jann Arden, Great Big Sea, The Philosopher Kings, and Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair tour. In 1999, she won the Juno Award for Best New Solo Artist. Adam's Rib was also released in the United States under the Columbia Records label in 1999, although like many Sony Music Canada artists released under Columbia Records, little promotional support was provided in the U.S. market.
Following promotion and touring for Adam's Rib, Doane left her contract with Sony Music Canada. Through a business partnership between her (now ex-) husband, theatre director and actor Ted Dykstra, and actor Gary Sinise, Doane began working on a new studio release with Neigher in Los Angeles in 2000. Over the course of the next two years, Doane gave birth to her first child and worked on several other projects in addition to her album, including writing with country group SHeDAISY, starring in the independent film Black Swan, and releasing a live album, Melvin Live, through Maple Music Recordings, which featured Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies.
In 2003, Doane released You Are What You Love through Dykstra and Sinise's Actorboy Records label and a distribution deal through Warner Music Canada. Its lead single "Still Desire You" charted Top 5 at Canadian radio stations and its accompanying music video reached #1 on MuchMoreMusic's viewer's choice countdown. During promotion for You Are What You Love, Melanie gave birth to her second child.
After taking some time off to raise her young family, Doane began working on a new album in 2007 that was inspired by her experiences with motherhood. Initially dubbed as a lullaby album, the resulting independent release A Thousand Nights had much wider appeal, mixing classic covers by artists like Fleetwood Mac, The Everly Brothers, and Leonard Cohen with originals by Doane and featuring guests Jim Cuddy, Ron Sexsmith, Kathryn Rose, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Ted Dykstra. Released in 2008, A Thousand Nights was preceded by the lead single "Songbird" featuring Cuddy, which became a Top 5 hit on the iTunes country singles chart in Canada. Doane's original tracks "Every Little Thing" and "Chopin Ballade" each received prominent placements in shows Being Erica and Flashpoint. In 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2013, Doane was the featured entertainer on the Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train Tour. Each tour consisted of approximately 60 shows over the span of three weeks in various communities in the United States and Canada.
Doane began working on a new studio album in 2009 with her brother and drummer Creighton Doane at his studio in Toronto. Throughout the recording process, early demos of tracks "Back To LA", "Make God Laugh", "From Your Lips to God's Ears", "Sweet on You", and "The Stupider I Am" were given away as free downloads via Doane's official website. In the summer of 2010, "Sweet on You" reached #1 on the East Coast Countdown, a popular radio show in Atlantic Canada. In December 2010, The Emerald City was announced with a March 1, 2011 release date.
Shortly after the release of The Emerald City in 2011, Doane was asked to audition for the role of "Song Woman" in Mirvish's Toronto production of the acclaimed play War Horse. She was offered the role and began rehearsals for the production in December 2011. The play opened at the Princess of Wales Theatre in February 2012 to rave reviews, and eventually closed after a successful run on January 6, 2013. Of Doane's role in the production, Toronto Star's Richard Ouzounian wrote:
Through it all, the soaringly symphonic score of Adrian Sutton contrasts with the simple songs selected by John Tams, sung here with poignant effect by Melanie Doane.
Pat Donnelly of Postmedia News wrote:
The manner in which traditional songs (performed principally, in this production by the multi-talented Melanie Doane, who does wonders with voice and violin) are deftly woven into the narrative, uplifting it into anthem, is masterful.
Doane's music has gained a loyal following through prominent placements in television shows and movies:
- Being Erica - "Every Little Thing" (3 episodes)
- Flashpoint - "Chopin Ballad"
- Brothers and Sisters - "Good Gifts"
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer - "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
- Dawson's Creek - "Bionic"
- Party of Five - "Absolutely Happy", "Waiting For The Tide"
- That's Life - "Way Past Blue", "Still Desire You", "You Are What You Love", "Bionic", "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
- Baywatch Hawaii - "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"
- Resurrection Blvd - "Absolutely Happy", "Waiting for the Tide", "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "How You Cried", "Good Gifts"
- Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story - "You Are What You Love"
- Santa Baby - "Happy Together"
- Servitude - "How Can a Girl"
Music education career
In 2009-2010, Melanie began establishing a ukulele group at her kid's school in Toronto, much like the program established by her father in the 1960s. Since its introduction, the program has gained notoriety and Melanie now teaches classes of young children at a variety of local Toronto schools. She's given exposure to her groups through concerts, going to recording studios and arranging appearances such as performing with Chris Hadfield while he was still in space and playing at Nathan Phillips Square for the 2015 annual Pan Am Games.
- 1993: Harvest Train
- 1996: Shakespearean Fish
- 1998: Adam's Rib
- 2001: Melvin Live
- 2003: You Are What You Love
- 2008: A Thousand Nights
- 2011: The Emerald City
Awards and nominations
- 1999 Won for Best New Solo Artist - Juno Awards
- 1999 Won for Most Charted Rock Artist for "Adam's Rib" - Canadian Radio Music Awards
- 1999 Nominated for Album of The Year for "Adam's Rib" - East Coast Music Awards
- 1999 Nominated for Best Pop/Rock Artist - East Coast Music Awards
- 1999 Nominated for Single of The Year for "Adam's Rib" - East Coast Music Awards
- 1999 Nominated for SOCAN Songwriter of The Year for "Adam's Rib" - East Coast Music Awards
- 1999 Nominated for Best New Artist - East Coast Music Awards
- 2003 Won for Best International Actress (for "Black Swan") - New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
- 2004 Nominated for Entertainer of The Year - East Coast Music Awards
- 2004 Nominated for Best Pop Recording for "You Are What You Love" - East Coast Music Awards
- 2004 Nominated for Best Female Artist - East Coast Music Awards
- Ouzarian, Richard."Review: War Horse is bold, brave and beautiful and heart-stoppingly wonderful", Toronto Star, 28 February 2012, accessed 31 January 2014.
- Donnelly, Pat. ""Guaranteed to make you weep"", "Postmedia News", 3 March 2012, accessed 3 February 2014.