MEL & KIM
As a wordsmith with a deep affinity for singing, it's only fitting that Mel Johnston would channel her gift of gab into a life as a vocalist and songwriter. From a young age, Mel has been enamored with the voice and songcraft as mode of a storytelling and as a vehicle for connection. A word slinging New Yorker with a deep love of performing, you'll see Mel hopping around the city, from gig to gig, creating blues, soul, R&B, rock, jazz, experimental, and American folk music. Mel started her journey as a musician learning to sing jazz standards and musical theater classics, but soon expanded to the worlds of classical singing, piano and guitar performance, and composition. While studying literature and music at New York University, Mel began to develop her career as a session vocalist and backup singer. After a brief post-grad stint as an arts and culture journalist, Mel’s abilities for performing and teaching music led her back to a life as a full-time music maker.
Originally from Long Island, NY, vocalist and songwriter Kim Foxen has been harmonizing her way through New York City’s music scene since 2010. Starting off her musical studies at Manhattan School of Music as a classical voice major, Kim hopped downtown to complete her studies at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Kim has managed to blend her technical virtuosity as an opera singer and her expressive and soulful sound as a jazz singer into a voice that tells it’s own story. During her time at The New School, Kim fell in love with the stories she heard in the standards and ballads she sang. This inspiration led her to create her own stories that capture the same lushness and spirit of the standards she loves. Today, she is a prolific vocalist, songwriter, lyricist, children's performer, and music educator.
After a chance meeting while performing together in Paul & The Tall Trees, Dala founder Billy Aukstik invited Kim and her childhood best friend Mel to his recording studio to workshop a protest song he had been working on with fellow songwriter Steve Garvin. The result? "Bad Man" - Mel & Kim's debut single on Dala Records. Together, Mel & Kim produce memorable melodies and adept harmonies that draw from the sounds of classic soul, folk and R&B. Both their personal and musical bond runs deep and is undeniable when they come together on the mic. On "Bad Man," they take inspiration from the sounds of Motown and Stax while delivering a message that is surely meant for today. Dala Records house band The Soulful Saints also shine as they lay down a backing track reminiscent of the classic Curtis Mayfield/Johnny Pate arrangements.