Wendy Melvoin

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Wendy Melvoin
WendyMelvoin 2006.jpg
Wendy Melvoin in 2006
Background information
Born (1964-01-26) January 26, 1964 (age 58)
OriginLos Angeles, California, United States
GenresAlternative rock, funk, R&B, rock, pop, new wave, Minneapolis sound
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger, composer, songwriter, record producer
Instrument(s)Guitar, bass guitar, mandolin, drums, vocals
Years active1980–present
LabelsColumbia, SME Records, Virgin, EMI, World Domination

Wendy Ann Melvoin (born January 26, 1964) is an American guitarist and singer-songwriter, best known for her work with Prince as part of his backing band The Revolution, and for her collaboration with Lisa Coleman as one half of the duo Wendy & Lisa.

Music career[edit]

Wendy Melvoin met Prince in 1980 when her girlfriend Lisa Coleman joined Prince's band for the Dirty Mind period. Prince would stay at their house when he came to the L.A. area and she was regularly at the Dirty Mind, Controversy, and 1999 tour shows. She was watching from backstage when Prince and the band opened for the Rolling Stones in 1981. One night when she was practicing guitar in Lisa Coleman's room, Prince overheard and asked Coleman who was playing guitar. A few days later, when guitarist Dez Dickerson didn't show up at soundcheck, Prince asked Melvoin to play his guitar; that same night after asking Lisa first, Prince invited her to join the band. Melvoin sang back up on the 1999 album song "Free", as well as the B-side single "Irresistible Bitch."[1] Melvoin's debut show with The Revolution was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis on August 3, 1983. This concert was recorded and some of the songs ("Let's Go Crazy," "Computer Blue," "Purple Rain," "Baby I'm a Star," and "I Would Die 4 U") were released on Purple Rain, Prince's next record. Melvoin was 19 at that time.

Melvoin then worked extensively with Prince in the studio on songs released and unreleased, as well as contributing to protégé projects such as 1984's Apollonia 6, 1985's The Family, and the 1985 Prince & the Revolution album Around the World in a Day.

Shortly after the completion of Prince and The Revolution's 1986 album tour in October 1986 Parade, Coleman and Melvoin left the Revolution and started their own duo, Wendy & Lisa, also known as Girl Brothers.

Melvoin performed with Prince at a Bangles show later in 1986 and appears on Prince's 1987 album Sign o' the Times on the tracks "Slow Love," "Strange Relationship," and "It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night."

Melvoin and Coleman also composed music for the first season of the TV series Heroes.[2] In September 2008, they announced that they would release an album consisting entirely of the score from Heroes, entitled Heroes: Original Score. Melvoin and Coleman composed the main title song for Nurse Jackie, for which they were awarded an Emmy in 2010. As of mid-November 2015, the duo was working on the American TV series Touch.

Melvoin and Coleman performed with Prince on and off during the 2004–2007 period: notably, the 2004 Tavis Smiley show performing "Reflections" with Prince; a June 5, 2004, Musicology tour aftershow; the 2006 Brit Award Show; and the 2007 Triple Hit shows in Minneapolis (the Macey's Show, the Target show, and the First Avenue show.) They also worked on a few songs on Prince's Planet Earth album.

Melvoin also contributed guitars to Madonna's 2008 album Hard Candy on the song "She's Not Me." She is mentioned by name during the song.

Melvoin contributed heavily to Neil Finn's second solo album One Nil, co-writing many tracks and playing drums and bass on several. She is credited for guitar work on most of the tracks on Rob Thomas's first solo album, ...Something to Be.

Melvoin is also listed in the credits of Glen Campbell's 2011 final studio album, Ghost on the Canvas.

Personal life[edit]

Wendy Melvoin was born in Los Angeles, California. Her father Mike Melvoin was a pianist and member of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, and also a former president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.[3][4] Her brother Jonathan Melvoin was a touring keyboardist with the Smashing Pumpkins, and her twin sister is singer and composer Susannah Melvoin.

In April 2009, Melvoin gave an interview with Out magazine that, for the first time, publicly revealed she is a lesbian and discussed her past romantic relationship with Lisa Coleman, who is still her musical partner.[5] Melvoin was also in a long-term relationship with film director Lisa Cholodenko.[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2007, the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards gave Melvoin and Coleman the "Top Television Series" award for their work on Heroes.[7]

Melvoin and Coleman were awarded with an Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title in 2010 for their theme to Nurse Jackie.[8] They also technically share the honor of winners of a Grammy and Oscar for being part of The Revolution, as Purple Rain won two Grammys, and the Oscar for Best Original Score.

In 2014, Melvoin and Coleman received the inaugural Shirley Walker Award from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), an award which honors those whose achievements have contributed to the diversity of film and television music.[9]


With Meshell Ndegeocello

With Glen Campbell

With k.d. lang

With Doyle Bramhall II

With Lisa Marie Presley

With Michael Penn

With Ilse DeLange

With Rob Thomas

With Nerina Pallot

  • Fires (Idaho Records, 2006)

With Neil Finn

With Sheryl Crow

With Seal

With Nikka Costa

With Skye Edwards


  1. ^ Eric Deggans (December 30, 2010). "Biggest regret in 2008: Not publishing this Wendy and Lisa interview". tampabay.com. St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  2. ^ Melvoin's and Coleman's compositions for Heroes closely followed their music-scoring of the previous Tim Kring series, Crossing Jordan, which had starred Jill Hennessy in the lead role.
  3. ^ Dennis McDougal (March 1, 1985). "Jazz musicians threaten split after snub on Grammy show". Montreal Gazette.
  4. ^ Robert Lloyd. "Time of the Session: When the music was fast, and the players anonymous". LA Weekly. Retrieved April 8, 2004.
  5. ^ "The Revolution Will Be Harmonized". Out.com. April 16, 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Family dynamic: Lisa Cholodenko explores modern parenthood in 'The Kids Are All Right' | FilmJournal International". September 24, 2015. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Top Television Series". Ascap.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  8. ^ "'Glee,' Rock Hall of Fame Win Creative Arts Emmys". Billboard.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  9. ^ "ASCAP to Honor Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman with Inaugural Shirley Walker Award at 29th Film and TV Awards". Ascap.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017.

External links[edit]