Local singer and songwriter Melissa Alesi has been hard at work this year, completing her third studio album, “Lie Again.”
To celebrate, Alesi will be hosting a release party on Sunday, Dec. 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Casa DiLeo on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach.
“I will be playing songs off of the new album, as well as from the first two. This is the first event that my new album, ‘Lie Again,’ will be available for sale.”
Alesi’s has always had a love for music and singing but began songwriting in 2007. She went on to release her first full-length album, “Alesi” in 2008. In 2012, she recorded her second album, “House of Stones.”
“This album, ‘Lie Again,’ is a little bit like my first album, ‘Alesi’ in that I am exploring my songwriting in other genres. My guitar playing and songwriting has developed over the past few years, and it’s allowed me to be more experimental with my ideas,” she explained.
“‘Shot Him Down’ is a song I was very unsure about when I was writing it, but it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. It has a fun African feel that Johnny and I really had fun working on. Then there is ‘Incredible,’ that has a Stevie Wonder vibe that develops at the end. I hope everyone can feel how much fun we had making this album when they listen to it!”
For this album, Alesi worked with Johnny Neel of the Allman Brothers, who received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
“Johnny and I first met at the Locals Under the Lights show at the Freeman Stage about a year and a half ago. We were talking backstage, and it was a really natural, fun vibe,” she recalled. “He offered that, if there was anything he could help me with, or if I ever wanted to go to Nashville, to call him up.
“Well, I thought he was just saying that to be courteous, and I never contacted him. A few months later, our mutual friend John DiLeo got us connected again, and Johnny started inviting me to sit in for a few at his shows up here in Delaware. We got together on our own time in March, and we played around with some old ideas and got started on some new ones.
“I was so inspired the few weeks after he left that, when I was working on some of the ideas we came up with, I would have several other ideas coming at me at one time. I hope we work on those ideas we came up with together some time soon. Maybe I got taken away from them to a new song for a reason. Maybe we were meant to finish them together.”
Alesi said she wrote a lot of the album in March, and then traveled to Nashville, Tenn., in May to work with Neel in the studio.
“I was drawing from a lot of the situations happening around me for inspiration, so the majority of the writing for this album was me putting myself in someone else’s shoes. The first two were more about what I was personally going through at the time. I watched a friend in a relationship that would be on-again, off-again for a long time.
“There’s a reoccurring theme of heartache and cheating, because I guess I was around that energy so much that it came out in my writing. I also wrote about empowering yourself to leave, in ‘Keep On Walkin’ Babe,’ and songs that are a celebration of love. Those were easily inspired by my current relationship.”
Alesi said that, in working on the album, she had her first experience working with a live, in-studio band.
“That was really amazing, because within a few moments, my songs went from the acoustic version in my head to a full band playing all the parts. The session musicians there are stellar, and it was exciting to watch them do their thing. This whole experience of working with Johnny and all the other guys that played on it was very refreshing. I hadn’t been in the studio for about three years and, for me, it’s one of the funnest places I could be.”
Alesi said working with Neel as her producer was a life-changing experience.
“Working with Johnny in Nashville was so much fun, and the entire process just flowed. We worked really hard the whole week, but it didn’t feel like we were working at all. I think the moment that summed up the entire week for me was when we finished on Tuesday night and we went upstairs, fell on the couches and I said, ‘Wow, what happened?!’ He laughed and agreed.
“I felt right at home in Nashville, and Johnny and I worked on some really cool harmonies and ideas at night for the following days. We would discuss and re-group for the next session and our ideas were very harmonious. It felt as though I was writing with my best friend, and we were just hanging out having fun.
“That whole week reminded me how much fun writing and creating music from scratch is. I look forward to working with him again. He was such a fun producer and to be working with a musician as amazing and accomplished as him was truly an honor that I am forever grateful for.”
Those who are unable to attend the Sunday release party can catch Alesi every Wednesday, when she hosts open-mic nights at Casa DiLeo in Rehoboth, from 8 to 11 p.m. She can also be found performing solo every Thursday at Harpoon Hanna’s near Fenwick Island, from 5 to 9 p.m., and every other Friday performing with Lauren Glick at the Crab Cake Factory Bayside, from 4 to 7 p.m. Information on additional performances can be found on her website and Facebook page.
Alesi said working on “Lie Again” was an incredible experience, and she hopes listeners will enjoy the album as much as she enjoyed creating it.
“I feel like every album has been a new turn or new beginning in my music career. Every time I finish the writing and recording process, I feel like I have grown not only as an artist, but as a person. And when I leave the studio, I have already started developing new ideas for the next one. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a full-time musician, and I would like to say a big ‘Thank you,’ to all of my supporters.”
Casa Dileo is located at 721 Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. For more information about Alesi and upcoming shows visit www.melissaalesi.com or www.facebook.com/mmalesi. Those interested in purchasing “Lie Again” may do so at the release party, or any of Alesi’s live performances in the future, as well being able to purchase digital downloads from her website.