Melisa Devost grew up in the small rural community of Hornby Island, off the west coast of Canada. She composed her first song around the age of seven while meandering on the dirt and gravel roads to and from school. Although she continued to compose tunes and stories throughout her childhood, the first song she played for anyone she wrote for her heartbroken friend and lugged her guitar through the woods to play it for her, and they both cried.
It was shortly afterwards that Melisa left Hornby Island for the bigger world. She spent the subsequent years traveling, ending up in Ireland where she frequented the local trad music sessions and wailed songs acapella, which is a tradition that she continues to incorporate into her live shows. Melisa continued to adventure, falling in and out of love, moving around a lot, living in decrepit shacks in the woods and generally throwing herself into all that good life stuff songwriters tend to write about.
It was after a particularly rough go that she started writing blues and gospel songs. When asked one day, "how do you write a blues song?" She replied, " I think you really have to have the blues."
Her first recording "Click" which was recorded and mixed in various cabins on Hornby Island, was released in 2002. The first gospel song Melisa wrote caught the attention of folk music veteran Ken Whiteley. He invited her to go on tour with him, which she did and he has since twice invited Melisa to Toronto to perform in his ongoing gospel series, which shaped the CD, "Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright." Ken also produced Melisa's sophomore album "Capacity," released in April 2005.
Melisa has since toured extensively throughout western and northern Canada, the UK and continental Europe, carving her niche as a compelling vocalist with the guitar chops and songwriting skills to match.
She has shared the stage with many folk/roots veterans such as Ruthie Foster, Colin Linden and David Francey and has graced many festivals with her unique take on gospel singing, often teaching workshops.
Her latest record, A Sudden Shift of Existing Light, due out in May 2009, is a tasty mix of imagery laden poignant lyrics and sweet and low-down finger-style guitar wrapped up in Melisa's dynamically beautiful voice. She is joined on this recording by many guests, including Kent McAlister, Leah Abramson and Ken Whiteley.
Melisa currently lives in Vancouver BC and when not working on a series of very sad ukulele tunes, or being a guest vocalist on various recording projects, including The Great Outdoors, Kingsway and Kent McAlister, or playing bass in indie rock band Propolis, she finds herself often sitting on her porch, listening to the rain, staring up at the cherry tree, pen in hand….