Embarking on a musical odyssey is akin to peeling the layers of life and discovering the depths of one’s self. For Melissa, the creative genius behind Nordic Daughter, music has always been an intrinsic part of her being. In a candid interview, she unveils the profound story of her indie music career, taking us through the ebbs and flows of life that have shaped her unique sound and perspective.
Melissa’s introduction to the industry saw her wearing many hats like: merchandising, booking, audio engineering, and artist management. Yet, it was the pursuit of vulnerability that led her to craft her own music. After five years of navigating the complexities of music management, Melissa made a life-altering decision: she started her own band, Nordic Daughter. Today, armed with the knowledge she gained through experience and education, she has forged a path that is truly unique.
As indie musicians, Nordic Daughter faced their fair share of challenges. Establishing a fan base and finding their niche proved to be daunting tasks. They chose the path of originality, resisting the allure of becoming a cover band, even if it meant slower progress initially. However, their perseverance eventually bore fruit. After accumulating enough original material to fill 90-120 minutes of stage time, they began headlining their shows, evolving from a band that played alongside other original acts for 30-45 minutes to a thriving, independent entity.
Looking ahead, Nordic Daughter has ambitious plans to expand their music business, with the goal of performing over 100 dates annually to provide full-time incomes to their band members. They aspire to collaborate with A-list acts, secure placements in TV and film, and ultimately perform and speak on a global stage. Melissa’s passion for creating music and crafting lyrics opens the door to collaborations with other artists, forging a path toward an even more vibrant future for Nordic Daughter.
Check out the interview beneath
Can you tell us about your journey as an indie musician? What inspired you to pursue a career in music?
The journey is always about life and the many layers we peel in our discovery of ourselves. I don’t think we are capable of writing such beautiful and intricate pieces unless we first are made vulnerable. Music was always a huge part of who I was as a child. I loved to sing songs and dance to popular music from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Piano pulled the pieces together and theory put logic to the emotion of the music. I was miserable working a normal 9-5 job in sales in my 20’s and initially moved into music business as a natural transition learning the business and how money is made from this many faceted monster.
I did merchandising, booking, audio engineering and management for 5 years before choosing to write my own music. The biggest challenge as a manager is always finding a band that has a model that works and a synergy to stick together through the hard times. So, I started my own. Today we have used the knowledge we have gathered from education and built something unique that has found a niche.
How would you describe your unique style and sound as an artist? What sets you apart from other musicians?
We don’t really sound like anyone else. Some call it Alternative Folk, Sometimes they add Rock or Pop to the single but Alternative Folk is a good description. We have traditional melodic influence blended with modern undertones and psychological relevance that speaks to the core of our hearts and minds. Nordic Daughter is just a bit different. The recordings are lovely but the live performances will peel you away from your phone and bring you right into the present with a gift of true enlightenment. Others call is female driven power ballads of both traditional and modern influence.
Could you share some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an indie musician and how you overcame them?
Reach and finding the right niche for the band has proven the biggest obstacle. Booking has been slow because we aren’t a cover band and we really didn’t want to pigeon hole ourselves into the cover band market. We wanted to make a name as an original artist but with Jason and I as the soul investors it was slow going. After a few years we had a few albums of material and could fill 90-120 minutes with original music.
We played 30-45 minute sets with other original bands until we could justify being the headliner. Building an online fan base is not the same as building a live show fan base. We finally have a good following in multiple markets post Covid again. Now we are performing at Viking festivals and Scandinavian festivals all over the country in a niche that has embraced us both pagan and christian alike. It is refreshing to see so many different religious and cultural backgrounds flocking to the messages in the music.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach songwriting and composing music?
Creativity for most of us ebbs and flows and each song begins with either Jason or I bringing a melody or a lyric to the table. The beauty happens organically and is never contrived. As a husband and wife team much of the foundation for songs are written by the pair of us. I, Melissa, am the lyricists and vocalist and Jason writes the core guitar melody. During the process we find the emotions and message we want to push out there and typically it flows as if from the ether. A whisper from the many dimensions around us. We have natural pitch so the process feels seamless, natural, and can happen in a few minutes or a few hours.
Are there any particular themes or messages that you aim to convey through your music? What inspires your lyrics?
Most of our music is either the quintessential love song…LOL, or much deeper. Life has been a real challenge for most of us. It brings highs and lows that most of us can’t control so we must learn to ride these waves. We strive to let people know they aren’t alone, they are stronger than they may believe, so, keep persisting and be brave. Life will bring us what we need if we choose the paths of service to others. Many of us are numb from societies grind. A grind of excess and pursuit of more stuff, fuller days and bigger dreams. Service is the only way to reach true enlightenment, for to be in service to others fills everyone’s cups.
I am guilty of it as much as everyone, my past is full of pain and traumatic response to that pain. I have allowed my childhood traumas to break relationships, harm those I love, and ruin careers. I have also grown and changed, built empires, chased dreams, lived in service to those that society has left behind, healed my soul, and found peace. Human nature is pain, the subsequent choice to love despite that pain, and the wisdom of acceptance that it has a lesson for us. Sometimes people can’t admit that they hurt us, because it means they have to be vulnerable and we as humans have a hard time admitting when we are wrong. I hope I can give people the strength to expose their secrets and be vulnerable so they too can live in peace.
Tell us about your latest project.
Our latest album that has been recorded will be coming out sometime in late 2023. We are waiting on the final song to be mixed and mastered. This album “Perceptions” talks about how people have different views of life and can have very different perspectives about the same event. Each song is really meaningful and I hope it will rock your heart strings! For example:
- Martyr is a song about life. We found a piece of time is the life we are granted at birth. Blinded by loves good intentions is the lies or omissions our parents perpetrate with good intention to try to guide us to decisions they would make. Folded up in words and phrases describes our search for knowledge and understanding in our teens and twenties. We pursue life with reckless abandon until the possibility of death begins to consume our thoughts with regrets and reconciliations.
- We even did a song in Norwegian from the 15th century or should I say Old Norse which sounds alot like Danish more than Norwegian. “Dromte Mig” speaks of a dream of love and then she wakes up every time. .
What are your long-term goals as an indie musician? Where do you see yourself and your music in the next few years?
We have plans to expand the business and try to perform 100+ dates per year in order to pay full time incomes to the band. In the meantime we are booking as much as we can for the rates we need in order to travel across the country for a weekend via plane. In the long run I would love to both perform and write with other A list acts. I love to make music and lyrics are my passion. So a collaboration or twenty, a few placements in Tv or Film and performing and speaking full time globally would be my ultimate goal for the project over the next few years.