A couple of months ago we had the chance to see Jason Michael Carroll in concert at our local honky-tonk. His opening act was a young Montanan named Melissa Forrette. We were impressed with her stage presence and original material, although we felt her set had a few too many covers. We got the chance to meet her later, and were impressed with her enough to want to do an interview and introduce her to you. Please welcome former Californian and now Montanan Melissa Forrette to our list of up and coming indie artists.
IVB: What is your musical background?
MF: I played piano for about ten years growing up. When I was a senior in high school, I was given an old Fender acoustic guitar by my uncle, which was his when he was a kid. I stayed up all night learning my first three chords. Having the guitar spurred me to do more songwriting, which has always been my passion. I grew up in Santa Clara, California, and moved to Montana after I graduated from high school. I had met a boy, a “cowboy,” headed to Montana, and decided to move here to work on ranches. The relationship didn’t work out, but I got a great song from it – “You were a Cowboy when you were Mine.”
IVB: How long have you been performing?
MF: Actually I’ve only been performing for two years and my first show was at the Bitterroot Brewery in Hamilton. I went to Nashville the year before I started to participate in the American Country Star competition as a songwriter, where I won the award for Singer/Songwriter of the Year for “I Made him Your Man.”
IVB: Who are your influences?
MF: Obviously, Merle Haggard. I’ve also been influenced by Gary Stewart, George Jones, Vern Goskin, Randy Rogers, and Turnpike Troubadour. I love classic country, not the country music of today.
IVB: What made you decide to DIY?
MF: I didn’t really have a choice. I’m not rich and was just learning how to be a musician. It seemed the best way to do that was to just do it.
IVB: Do you want to be a mainstream artist?
MF: In a word, yes, although I’ve always considered myself to be more of a writer than a performer However, I’ve reached the point where I refuse to sell myself short, and I want to see how far I can go.
IVB: What are your future plans?
MF: I will be going into the studio soon to record my first EP. I’ve picked out five of my original songs to be included. I eventually want to do a full length album, and have enough songs to do two albums. I also plan to continue booking shows, maybe go on tour and get into some music festivals. I am scheduled to open for Sawyer Brown on July 21 at the Darby Logger Days, and for classic country artist Moe Bandy for the 4th of July Roundup Rodeo. I also want to go back to Nashville and play the Bluebird Café. Last but not least, I want to put a band together, but it will have to have a steel guitar player.
IVB: Any good stories from touring/recording/performing?
MF: Once a police officer named Brian McPhillips contacted me on Facebook. He had heard my song “Old Guitar” and wanted to cover it. He did an amazing job and recorded a video on YouTube.
I also finally got to participate in a songwriter’s round at Douglas Corner in Nashville. I flew in and got the slot around 1 a.m. It was a fast trip but something I had always wanted to do.
IVB: What kind of social media presence do you have?