Melinda Schneider has achieved much in her 45 years, including a Nashville (US) career, a string of Australian Golden Guitar Country Music awards and more recently, performing the songs of Doris Day, America’s sweetheart of 60-odd years ago.
But, as she readily admits, nothing compares with the arrival four years ago of her little boy, Sullivan. “The best thing I have ever done, absolutely. In the first week of his life I just had this amazing epiphany that this is why I’m here,” said Melinda as she prepares to sing Doris Day once more… this time with Australia’s Frank Sinatra (Tom Burlinson).
“Not the bloody career, not the phobias. All that means nothing compared with having a child and in the first week of his life I really felt like this is my purpose,” said Melinda.
Melinda has a new album out next year and Sullivan, whom she calls “Sul”, features in a special song called “This is why I’m here”. The Brisbane-born singer, who originally had her eyes set on a fashion-design career when she left school at 16, is about to launch a new stage show with Burlinson celebrating the iconic hits of Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.
The Brisbane performance will be at QPAC Concert Hall on June 22. The show, called “Young at Heart”, is inspired by the successful collaboration of Sinatra and Day in the 1955 box-office movie hit of the same name. Songs from the movie are among the many featured in the show, which are performed individually and as duets by Melinda and Burlinson backed by a 20 piece orchestra.
Melinda debuted her successful Doris Day theatre show in 2011 and approached Burlinson, who has been doing Frank Sinatra just as successfully for many years, to join the two shows.
“I just thought they would be a wonderful match with all of those incredible songs, so I am really thrilled to be doing the show with him and a 20-piece orchestra,” said Melinda.
A taste of what will be in the show was given in Melinda’s album last year when she included a duet with Burlinson called “Young at Heart” from the movie.
She said when selecting the songs for the coming show she and Tom made a list and then “whittled it down to about 20 or something and “there’s not one dud”.
“They are just all hit after hit after hit after hit and everyone will know every song in the show and hopefully sing along with them. That’s what we want,” she said.
“I love singing Doris Day songs. They are beautifully written and I never tire of singing them because they are just so well crafted. “They just make me happy. So many of them are so romantic and written in a much more innocent time. Kind of refreshing and full of joy. They make me feel good when I sing them.”
Songs to feature in the show include Secret Love, New York New York, Que Sera Sera, Come Fly With Me, Shakin’ The Blues, Mack The Knife, Perhaps Perhaps and, of course Young at Heart.
Melinda, whose partner is Mark Gable lead vocalist of the Australian pub rock band The Choirboys, naturally has a busy life but still manages to do the normal “mum” things with Sul after taking two years off following his birth.
Asked to pass on to SHEBrisbane readers what had been the biggest lesson she had learnt so far in her life, she thought for a moment before replying: “Value Yourself , that’s the most important thing for me.”
“I have had quite a few experiences in my earlier years where I chose the wrong men and tolerated all sorts of things I should never have tolerated and I’m still putting that lesson into practice in my business life.”
“Standing up for myself, valuing myself, whether it be in a personal relationship or a business one. “That is the most important thing as a women. To always stand up for yourself and don’t be manipulated.”
When asked what her key to happiness was, Melinda was quick to reply “My little Boy”, adding that peace was really the key to her happiness.
“I don’t go for happiness anymore I go for peace, because happiness is something that comes and goes. To be content with your life is the true happiness.”
And there’s no doubt that Melinda’s “peace” is centred around her family life and especially a little boy called Sul.