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Melissa Reese

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Melissa Reese
Melissa Reese Composer Recording Artist.JPG
Melissa Reese in 2012.
Background information
Born (1985-03-01) 1 March 1985 (age 34)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • producer
  • Synthesizers
  • keyboards
  • sampler
  • piano
  • vocals
Years active2006–present
Associated acts

Melissa Reese (born 1 March 1985) is an American musician and model best known for her collaborations with Bryan "Brain" Mantia and her current position in hard rock band Guns N' Roses.[1]

Early life

Reese was born in Seattle, Washington.[2] She is the youngest of three girls born into a household of Chinese, English, Spanish, Japanese, Filipino, Irish, Scottish and Danish descent.[2]

Reese began singing and playing piano at age 4.[3] She started writing music on the piano at age 12.[4] At 13 years old, she was discovered by musician Tom Whitlock, who helped her get into the music industry.[4] When she was 17, she learned Pro Tools, Reason, and Logic Pro and began performing and producing her own music.[5] She attended Roosevelt High School, where she sang in the vocal jazz ensemble.[2] Reese won an outstanding soloist award at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in high school.[2] After graduating school, Reese began experimenting with recording, creating a module that featured a Boss BR-8 and a Roland Groovebox.[2]

In her early 20s, she moved to Los Angeles to study music full-time.[3]


Reese performing with Guns N' Roses in 2016.

Her first EP, Lissa, was released in 2007 under the name Lissa, and featured collaboration with Bryan Mantia and Pete Scaturro.[6] Three of the songs of the EP were featured in various TV shows, including Gossip Girl and Keeping up with the Kardashians.[3][5][2]

Reese has worked with funk artist Bootsy Collins, rapper Chuck D, singer Vanessa Carlton, soul artist Goapele and singer Taylor Swift.[3] In addition to composing, Reese has produced work for artists such as Drumma Boy. She also did work on the soundtrack for the movie The Assignment.[4]

In October 2016, Reese sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a Seattle Seahawks game.[7]

Brain and Melissa

Reese has worked on several projects with Mantia, a composing team dubbed "Brain and Melissa".[5] In 2010, along with Buckethead, they released the multi-CD sets Kind Regards and Best Regards. Brain and Melissa composed part of the soundtrack to the video game Infamous 2, for which they were nominated for "Outstanding Achievement in Original Composition" by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards.[8] Other video games the duo worked on include PlayStation Home, ModNation Racers, Twisted Metal, Fantasia: Music Evolved and Infamous: Second Son.[5] They also scored the films Detention and Power/Rangers. They have worked with music video director Joseph Kahn on several television commercials for NASCAR, SEAT, and Qoros. In addition, they scored a commercial for Johnnie Walker Blue which featured a computer-generated Bruce Lee.[9] They also worked on several remixes of songs from Chinese Democracy for a planned remix album.[1] In addition, the two created a stock music album called Eclectic Cinema alongside former Guns N' Roses guitarist Paul Tobias, and Guns N' Roses and Buckethead collaborator Pete Scaturro.[10] They are currently working on the soundtrack for the upcoming movie Death Race 4: Anarchy and the upcoming Joseph Kahn film "Bodied".[4][3]

The duo performed at a Houston Rockets halftime show on November 10, 2017, performing remixes of "Sorry" and "If the World" from Chinese Democracy, and a cover of KISS's "Do You Love Me?" from Destroyer.[11] They played another NBA halftime show, this time for the Los Angeles Clippers, on November 27, 2017.[12]

Guns N' Roses

Reese after a Guns N' Roses concert in 2016.

Reese joined Guns N' Roses in 2016 as the band's second keyboardist, replacing Chris Pitman, while also playing synthesizer, sub-bass, background vocals, and programming for all electronic sounds during live performances. She first performed with the band on the Not in This Lifetime... Tour.[13] Upon joining the band, she had two weeks to learn and master 50 songs to prepare for the tour, working 15 hours a day to learn them.[3]

As well as singing backing vocals, Reese's role in the band has been described as the "enhancer", using Akai samplers among other tools to produce sounds from Chinese Democracy songs, as well as playing the Moog synthesizer on "Paradise City".[3] Speaking of her role, she stated "I don't want to get in the way of these songs. On the keys, I add sonic layers to thicken our sound, without sticking out like a sore thumb. Anything from synths [to] organic patches and samples."[3]


Solo Work

  • LISSA EP (2007) (with Brain and Pete Scaturro)
    • Feel It (2:49)
    • Girlfriend (2:25)
    • Pretty Please (2:43)
    • Oooh La La (2:35)
    • Old Skool (2:56) (feat. Mar Brooks)
    • Remember The Times (3:18) (feat. Mar Brooks and Buckethead)
  • The Valence Project - "No Way", "Future People", "If We Get it - We Know We're Getting Good", "In This Life"(2010) (also featuring Brain)
  • Eclectic Cinema - "Ride or Die", "Ooh La La", "Feel It", "Girlfriend", "Pretty Please", "Mother Nature", "Old Skool", "Remember the Times" (Released 2013, most songs previously recorded, also featuring Paul Tobias)
  • The Assignment - "Tomboy" (feat. Raney Shockne) (2017)

Releases under Brain & Melissa

with Brain and Buckethead

  • Best Regards (2010)
  • Kind Regards (2010)
  • Warm Regards (unreleased)


  1. ^ a b "Meet Melissa Reese, Guns N' Roses' New Keyboard Player". Ultimate Classic Rock. April 2, 2016. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Melissa Reese Music: About Archived April 6, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Tavana, Art (May 3, 2017). "Guns N' Roses' First Female Member Has Become a Rock Icon". Archived from the original on May 3, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Melissa Reese: On the Road with Guns N' Roses - ROLI". November 11, 2016. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "About – Brain and Melissa". Archived from the original on April 5, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Lissa* - Lissa". Discogs. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Video: GUNS N' ROSES Keyboardist MELISSA REESE Sings National Anthem At SEAHAWKS Vs. FALCONS Game In Seattle". October 25, 2016. Archived from the original on May 30, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  9. ^ "BBH China brings Legend Bruce Lee back to life in gamechanging campaign for Johnnie Walker". Campaign Brief. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "Eclectic Cinema by Various Artists on Apple Music". iTunes. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Melissa and Brain perform live Archived April 4, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Melissa and Brain perform live 2 Archived April 4, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Brett Buchanan (April 2, 2016). "Guns N' Roses Adds First Female Member". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016.

External links