Backstage with Barbara - Melissa Western


Brisbane-based singer-actor-writer Melissa Abigail Western was born in Manchester, England ... the only daughter of a jazz-singing English father and an award-winning Sri Lankan model mother. By turns sassy, soulful, smart and sweet, Melissa straddles the worlds of jazz, cabaret and theatre. Over the past ten years she has performed to audience and critical acclaim locally in Brisbane, nationally throughout Australia and internationally in the UK and France. Her self-penned musical Ella, Marilyn, Marlene and Me was an official sell-out two consecutive years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, garnering five star reviews from ThreeWeeks "absolutely brilliant... enthralling vocal talents wowed the audience". In 2013, Melissa new jazz cabaret at The Jazz Bar entitled Sweet, Sour and Saucy received critical and audience acclaim, Western being touted as a “force of nature” (Broadway Baby, 5 stars, August 2013). 

She has appeared twice with the iconic Women in Voice (QPAC 2008, Qld tour 2012), and has created countless cabarets including Push It! Songs about getting pregnant, giving birth and having kids, Oh Lady Be Good: A tribute to the great chanteuses of the 20th century and Melissa and the Cunning Accompanist and Lush Life with husband Tnee. 

She has recorded her own original CD Stepping Stone as well as releasing a live jazz CD, Live & Intimate and featuring on High Tide vol II (Brisbane Jazz Club), Tailspin: Brisbane Big Band tribute to Paul Gibens and Singin' and Swingin'. Melissa is a Churchill Fellow, was Valedictorian of her graduating Bachelor of Arts at UQ, holds a University Medal from the University of Queensland, first class Honours degree and was awarded her Masters of Philosophy in the field of Drama.