Iconic Australian SongBird Melinda Schneider chats to Focus about her love for Doris Day and bringing old classics back to life … Focus caught up with Melinda to talk all things Doris.
Hi Melinda. Where are you originally from, and at what age did you first find your interest in music?
I’m from Sydney, born into a musical family – a show biz family, with my mum, Mary Schneider. I’ve always loved music; it’s been around our home from before I was born. My mum performed on stage until she was eight months pregnant with me; I was hearing it in the womb, I suppose.
I first performed on stage with her when I was three, and then recorded my first single on my mum’s album when I was eight. So, I’ve been doing it all my life.
Since then, you have won six Golden Guitars …
It’s always a wonderful feeling to be recognised for your work. It’s not the reason I do it, of course. It’s not my driving force, but it’s always a very special thing, winning a Golden Guitar Award.
The most special one I received was when my dad was alive, and he was there and I won Female Vocalist of the Year. It was a song all about my family, called The Story of My Life, so it was a very special night. He died later that year.
The name of your latest tour is Melinda does Doris. Tell us about your love for her music and what we can expect at the show…
I’ve always loved Doris Day, ever since I was a kid and saw Calamity Jane on the Saturday afternoon movie on Channel 9. I just loved her as the “Rootin’ Tootin’ Whip Cracking Sharp Shootin’ Tom Boy” – she played this amazing character. I thought she was the best of everything a woman could be; she was a Tomboy, and then by the end of the film was the big make over, and she turned into the blushing bride. It was such an amazing film; she’s an incredible singer, dancer, actress, comedian. She’s done great dramatic roles in her life as well.
She starred in 39 hit movies, recorded over 600 songs, and I just really liked her as a personality; she’s so likeable. In about 2010 I finally embarked on the project that I’d wanted to do for several years before that, which is an album called Melinda Does Doris – a Tribute to Doris Day, and it was after I was on Dancing With the Stars I thought it was the perfect time to do a Doris project. So, I wrote a stage show and did that at the Opera House in Sydney and Her Majesty’s Theatre and all the big concert halls around Australia.
Now I’m turning that show into a concert version and I’m taking it to smaller centres with a little Jazz trio.
It’s more intimate, still telling Doris’s story of her life and singing these amazing 26 songs, and I’m loving it.
Is the show a trip down memory lane for you?
Oh yes, for me and the audience! They’re songs that everyone knows – even younger people! They may be in their 20s or 30s, and they may only know Que Sera Sera, or Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps but once they actually get to the show, I often hear people say, “Oh, I didn’t realise I knew all of these songs!” We’ve all been brought up with these kinds of songs.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
It has to be The Deadwood Stage from Calamity Jane, the Whip-Crack-Away song; it’s just a lot of fun. It’s a musical theatre/country song, and everyone loves it and gets into it!
What are your plans after you finish this tour?
I’ll be doing this tour pretty much for the rest of the year, as I have a new album out, my second Doris album, Melinda Does Doris Again – The Movie Songs. So, I’m promoting that album all through this year, as well as doing my country gigs and a couple of different things here and there.
MELINDA DOES DORIS – A Musical Tribute to Doris Day. Saturday 1st April | 8pm.