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'Change is Comin' for local musician

YMelanie Anderson, who grew up singing in the choir at Woodbury Lutheran Church, peformed Sunday at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.2 / 2

Melanie Anderson's childhood was surrounded by music, since her father, Mark Shepperd, is the music minister at Woodbury Lutheran Church.

"I grew up in a musical family," she said. "I just grew up singing as a little girl."

It was singing in the church choirs that really opened Anderson's eyes to singing and performing.

"The more I trained, the more I wanted, and the more I wanted to develop my voice."

So it came as no surprise to anyone that music was something that Anderson, a Woodbury resident, wanted to pursue professionally in hopes of making it to the mainstream.

"For me, singing is like a God-given dream," she said. "It's just like when you have something inside of you and you know that it's meant to be -- I tried to give it up, but it always seems to get right back in."

Anderson just had her dreams realized with the release of her debut CD, "Change is Comin.'" Anderson held a CD release concert Aug. 2 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis.

"It's just very fulfilling to have it and know that I accomplished that dream," she said. "The Varsity Theater is definitely the biggest venue I have ever performed at."

Anderson also performs with two cover bands, Perfect Mix and R Factors.

Anderson describes "Change is Comin'" as a mix of Christian, pop and R&B styles. Seven of the 10 songs were written by Anderson.

Anderson's album has been 10 years in the making, but things seemed to always get in the way, whether it was finances, conflicts or timing.

But two years ago, Anderson was finally able to shoot for her dreams thanks to support from a member of Woodbury Lutheran Church.

The church member, who had seen Anderson sing and had watched her grow up in the church, contributed the finances needed to bring Anderson's dream of releasing an album to reality.

"The Lord had just put on their heart that they wanted to give me a sum of money to fund my project -- it was pretty incredible," she said. "That's where it all started and the rest just fell into place."

With the help of her father and other professionals in the music industry, Anderson went to work writing songs and recording her music.

This project was Anderson's first experience writing songs, but it certainly will not be the last.

"Now I'm able to say what's on my heart and get that message across," Anderson said. "And when you realize that you may actually be making a difference in people's lives, I love the idea of that."

For inspiration, Anderson turned to her faith, her husband and the many experiences that have helped to shape who she is as a person.

Anderson said in the future, she will approach song writing and recording differently, since this time around she was doing both simultaneously, and that proved to be extremely difficult.

"I only started writing when this project came into my lap, so when you are writing while you're trying to do this project, it's kind of hard," she said. "Sometimes the songs would come easier and other times I would have no creativity whatsoever."

While working on her album, an opportunity arose for Anderson to travel to a Hollywood studio, where she recorded a majority of her album. The remainder of the album was recorded at an Edina studio.

Throughout the entire process of writing and recording, Anderson came to learn the ins and outs of the music business, the problems that could arise and the people to avoid.

Anderson is taking this newfound knowledge of the business and is investing it in her very own production company, with her husband Josh, called Laney C Productions in hopes of helping those like her who have a dream.

"Since I kind of know the business in and out now, I would like to pass some of that on and give people the opportunity to do what I have done, and not deal with some of the stuff that I have dealt with," she said. "Just give them an opportunity where its honest and its real."

Anderson said they are hoping to launch Laney C Productions this winter.

Despite embarking on another venture, Anderson said she has no interest in giving up on her music. She is even looking into doing a tour with her debut.

Anderson hopes to reach mainstream with her music, but whether or not that happens, she said she will continue to sing.

"I'll always sing and I'll always do it because when you hear someone say that they were touched by it, it makes you feel like it's not a waste of time, and people actually identify with it," she said. "And all it takes is one person to hear it and think that it can be something big and if you're in the right place at the right time, it definitely could."

To purchase Melanie Anderson's debut album "Change is Comin'" visit I Tunes, CD Baby, www.melanieanderson.org, or call Laney C Productions at (612) 210-9720.

Kispert can be reached at akispert@woodburybulletin.com

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

(651) 702-0976
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