written by: Jonathan Frahm (updated April 13, 2017)
Melissa Polinar first embarked on her journey when the industry was evolving into something new with the digital age. Many of her first steps forward as a singer-songwriter were in large part thanks to YouTube at its beginning. She bubbled to the top of the website’s music category with a collection of original songs, which instantly set her apart from most other curators who are more known for covers of pop music. Self-penned songs like “Try” and “Meant to Be” solidified her presence on YouTube not just as a singer, but an authentic songwriter known for her artistic poise and lyrical sincerity.
It was during the formidable years between her YouTube videos and her extensive songwriting experience at a young age in Nashville when she began to fit into her shoes evolving to the artist that she is today. As the old industry further gave way to the social media era, she was able to reach more of an audience with her work than had arguably ever been available for Asian-American artists before. Polinar put a face and a voice to rising artists worldwide from the early stages of her career onward - thanks to her Internet presence and grassroots approach. In March of 2017, these events culminated into a spotlight for Polinar at SXSW (South by Southwest) in its first official Asian-American showcase put on by the LA-based nonprofit Kollaboration.
Throughout her career, Polinar has gained the respect and recognition of several recognizable artists for her unique soulful vocals, heart-bearing lyrical content, and passionate musicianship. These include many other respected singer-songwriters like Jeremy Passion, Ernie Halter, Tony Lucca, and Matt Cusson. Each of one of them collaborated and were featured on 2014’s Calls & Echoes. Polinar’s first full-length album, it was produced by David Ryan Harris, Jesse Barrera, and Josiah Bell.
She has also been praised by Grammy Award winners like Questlove (The Roots), Mark Kibble (Take 6), and India.Arie, the last of which was also a collaborator on Polinar’s latest project, Rise At Eventide. Funded by fans via PledgeMusic and independently released worldwide April 2017, Rise At Eventide is a testament to the experience Polinar has gained throughout her long-running career.
Listeners are drawn to Polinar’s cover of Sting’s “Fragile” featuring India.Arie on the project. The two singers draw out a soul from one another that is impressive even by their vocal standards. “Fragile” is just the song for Polinar and her Grammy-winning collaborator to fully deliver the kind of swagger that they can draw out of one another. Given that Polinar has received praise for her music from India.Arie for the past several years, it also marks a time for the two longtime fans of each other’s art to respectfully make art together.
Rise At Eventide showcases the original music that Polinar has always been best known for. She takes the musical blend of genres ranging from soul to blues and folk that her long-time fans always appreciated in her work and sets it to themes that embrace love, reflection, and self-empowerment. Completing the breezy and reflective nature of Rise At Eventide is the artful direction taken with producing and mixing by Polinar’s longtime friend and collaborator, Jesse Barrera. Polinar also exhibits her production capabilities on co-producing the track “Lost Balloon” which was co-written with Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman).
Previous works released by Polinar include Live at Room 5 Sessions (2015), As of Now (2010), and Bandcamp releases of her YouTube originals and covers. Outside of writing, performing, and producing her own art, Polinar has contributed her talents across multiple albums by other artists.
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