Joanna’s Debut Album A Natural Selection

J-Melas-CD 300 A NATURAL SELECTION features songs of romance and pure emotion. It is an eclectic collection of stage favourites and originals set in stunning arrangements. The sounds range from Latin and R&B beats to sweet serenades, from reggae rhythms to sultry jazz and blues. There’s something for everyone on this album. It is a vacation for the ears.

"A Natural Selection is an immensely enjoyable album, bursting with talent and creativity. The arrangements, song selections, production and of course performances by all involved, especially songstress Melas, are first rate." - Kelly O'Neil, Review You

"Joanna’s crossover talent and multi-genre expertise provide a high-quality listening experience for fans of jazz, Latin, dance, pop, folk, and lounge music." - Matthew Forss, Review You

Album Story

Arriving at Style Music Studios in the Hunter Valley felt like a homecoming for Joanna. Destined to pursue a career in music, the release of A Natural Selection in May 2011 is a dream come true and the fulfilment of a promise made long ago. Having cultivated a successful career as an accomplished singer and entertainer, one of the busiest on the Sydney circuit, Joanna arrived at the recording studio with plans to release an album of the covers most requested at her gigs.

jo-pc-mic42Working on the album gave Joanna a chance to re-evaluate where she wanted her passion for music to take her and, as she revisited some of her earlier compositions, including Such As These, she became inspired to write again. Creative energies taking over, Joanna wrote Danca da Chuva and We Had No Cares. The final product, A Natural Selection – which features three original songs and seven award-winning covers with dazzling new arrangements – has been warmly received by the industry and the public and signifies an exciting new phase in Joanna’s career.

Recording took place over three months, with around 113 hours spent at Style Music Studios directed and programmed by the very talented Phil Tweed. Guitars were played by Phil Tweed, Dieter Kleemann and Joanna. Phil also played piano, keys, bass, drums and percussion. Craig Walters was on tenor saxaphone, Stewart Kirwan on muted trumpet and flugelhorn, Leigh Sherringham on trombone.

Each track was co-produced and co-arranged by Joanna and Phil and then mastered by Oscar Gaona at Studios 301 in Sydney.

“The collaboration with Phil was magical - I was very much in my element,” Joanna said. “Creating the arrangements with meticulous detail and exploring the sounds we used was a journey I'd been waiting to take for a long time and now it was actually happening. A Natural Selection is the fulfilment of a promise I made to myself a while back.”

Having spent many years performing covers and recording for others, A Natural Selection was Joanna’s first opportunity to showcase her talents as a songwriter, arranger and producer and the final product truly is a production to feast the senses. The behind the scenes work has also unleashed the songwriter within, evoking Joanna’s desire to not only continue performing music but create it, so fans can expect great things from this velvety voiced songstress in the future – watch this space!

Commentary On Album Tracks

1   DANCA DA CHUVA   3:22

Joanna Melas © 2011

The Portuguese name means "rain dance”. “Inspired beats undulating South American rhythm with an urbane, very modern mechanized samba dance sheen” - Nick DeRiso, Review You embellished by Joanna’s lyrical vocals which pull you onto the dance floor.


Jenny & Tam Morris © 1991

This classic dance track has been given a facelift with tight unpredictable backing vocals, funky production treatments, a sultry tenor sax solo by Craig Walters amid a danceable beat atop a thumping bass line.

“Melas has a winning Sade-like quality.” - Dan MacIntosh, Review You


Bob Crewe & Bob Gaudio © 1967

Franki Valli with a Bob Marley twist .. the hip reggae groove in the verses adds a romantic island vibe and blend seamlessly into the classic chorus lines, giving a refreshing feel to a classic and well loved piece.

“ one of the album’s true highlights.” - Dan MacIntosh, Review You

4  WE HAD NO CARES  3:49

Joanna Melas © 2011

"Sweetly nostalgic with both Spanish and Afro-Cuban elements and a quasi-Montuno beat in a contemporary production - captivating with its heady mixture of Spanish flamenco guitar far-off Pacific romanticism and gypsy cadence.” - Nick DeRiso, Review You

“It has the perfect blend of relaxing melodies and energizing rhythms.” - Zack Daggy, Review You

5  FLY TOO HIGH  4:05

Janis Ian © 1979

"A Steely Dan-inspired R&B-soaked rock shuffle a jazzy pop standard beat incorporating Americana, roots, big band, and show-tune music. Joanna’s voice successfully matches the undulating rhythms and sounds with such accuracy that the song seems to be born out of her soul.” - Matthew Forss, Review You A stand out track.


Leonard Cohen © 1971

Blues/rock at it's best with driving rhythm, stunning Clapton-esque guitar work by Dieter Kleemann, creative arrangement, sparse production and vocals are matched perfectly for the mood.

“What’s startling about the piece is how good it really is.” - Heath Andrews, Review You


Burt Bacharach & Hal David ©1967

Another standout track - transporting you straight into the smoky late night jazz club with the raspy muted trumpet, the rhodes keyboard, the classical guitar and the brushed drums

“...just right for the smooth pop sensibilities of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, making this song a perfect vehicle for Joanna Melas.” - Nick DeRiso, Review You


Victor Young & Edward Heyman ©1945

Joanna's wispy smooth vocal, the 6/8 feel, the lovely melodic electric guitar lines, the piano and strings along with the brushes combine to give this track an effortless relaxed atmosphere.

“This song cements Joanna’s voice as a gold standard in jazzy pop songs.” - Matthew Forss, Review You

9  FOR ALL WE KNOW  3:23

James Griffen © 1970

"This soaring Carpenters' ballad has been fused with a gentle loop that glues the piano and string arrangement together under Joanna's sweet and soaring melody. “Joanna sings it nearly like Karen Carpenter did, and is a true doppelganger for the original.” - Dan MacIntosh, Review You

“Joanna shows a wholesome sensitivity that strongly recalls Karen Carpenter, but without the gauzy overproduction.” - Nick DeRiso, Review You

10  SUCH AS THESE  3:24

Joanna Melas © 2011

Uninhibited beauty - with a gentle folk introduction fusing into a contemporary arrangement that only serves to magnify the bell-like quality of Joanna's vocal.

“It is a folksy, spiritual ballad with an earthy guitar, sparkling piano keys, looped beat, and Joanna’s Heavenly voice." - Matthew Forss, Review You

"The soft, gentle arrangement that she and Tweed weaves here, perfectly compliments the lyric, with an understated elegance that allows Melas to let her voice carry the song.” - Heath Andrews, Review You

“The lyric speaks lovingly of children and no matter what you believe, religion-wise, it’s hard to argue with the sentiment expressed through this lyric.” - Dan MacIntosh, Review You

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