Since the release of Melissa Czarnik’s (Zar-nik) first two albums, Strawberry Cadillac (2008) and Raspberry Jesus (2010), the emcee/poet/singer has received praise from NPR, Bitch Magazine, Bust Magazine, among others and was listed as one of the top 50 Hip Hop Albums of 2010 on the Amoeblog. Being compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill, Cat Power and Saul Williams she has toured across the United States and Europe and has co-hosted radio specials such as Billy Jam’s “Women in Hip Hop Special (91.1, WFMU, NJ) which also featured Flipmode emcee Rah Digga, as well as co-hosted the hour long segment, “The Musicality of Rap” on VoiceBox with Chloe Veltman (91.7, KALW, San Francisco). A newbie to New York City (via Milwaukee, WI) Czarnik continues to run her independent label, Hyperdrive Motivator Productions with producer Eric Mire who is currently pursing a Master’s in Music Composition at New York University. Since 2007 the two have been releasing Hip Hop music that is heavily influenced by jazz, classical, and spoken word. “Hitting the heart, the mind and soul,” Czarnik states, “that’s all I want, is to make feel-good vibe-music that all kinds of people can enjoy… because that’s the type of music I enjoy.” Her live show can go from intimate confessions to hard hitting tracks packed with explosive energy. Whether performing with the five-piece Eric Mire Band or as a duo with Eric Mire on an upright piano and loop-pedal, the two have mesmerized audiences in France, Belgium, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, and New York City among others.
On September 25, 2012 Hyperdrive Motivator Productions announces it will release Melissa Czarnik’s highly anticipated third album, Non Merci (HMP, 2012). The 13 track compilation fittingly received its French title when Czarnik began planning to write and record at the Centre d’Art Marnay Art Center (CAMAC), a 500 year-old French chateau turned artist residency 90 miles outside of Paris, France. The competitive residency hosts artists of all mediums from around the world with as many as 9 present at a time. From April 2 – May 31, Czarnik worked across the Atlantic with the sole producer of the album, Eric Mire. For the first 46 days of the project Mire emailed Czarnik a beat per day until he joined her in France to begin recording.
Non Merci takes listeners on a journey from poetic-hip hop to vulnerable singer-songwriter stylings. Czarnik mixes love, humor and sarcasm with intelligent commentary on society and politics. Differentiating from her first two albums, creating in France allowed her the opportunity to reflect on the world outside of her typical atmosphere. France seems to attract musicians, poets, writers, as we have witnessed with Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Ernest Hemingway and Quincy Jones seeking temporary refuge in the now socialist run state. “Working in France allowed me to escape the pressures and stereotypes that often plague female artists in the U.S.” Czarnik stated, “The distance and solitude allowed me to remain true to myself as I created.” The recognizable craft of Non Merci is found in Czarnik’s flow: soft and peaceful, provocative and tempting, displaying a constant musicality throughout which is what makes her one of the most soulful and versatile emcees to emerge in recent years. Displaying the patience and intuition of a jazz singer, the instincts of a freestyle emcee and the thought provoking wordsmithings of a poet, Melissa Czarnik’s Non Merci is expected to be the project that boosts her career to the next level.
“a classy slice of socially-conscious hip-hop that bodes well for the LP [Non Merci].”
– Amy Bell, The Girls Are (U.K.)
"Non Merci … is destined to be the most Parisian hip hop album ever released by a rapper from the US…”
– Evan Litwack, My Backpack is Bigger than Yours, Amoeba Records Video Blogger
"Czarnik is a soulful, fluid rapper, backed by the Eric Mire Band. Together, they've produced a surprising, potent and thoughtful mix of funk, jazz, soul and hip-hop." – Robin Hilton, NPR, All Songs Considered
"With slammin’ poetry, precise beats, and DIY authenticity, Czarnik is an inspiration to young MC’s everywhere.” – Claire Ashton, Bitch Magazine
“This incredible young rapper from Milwaukee had me under her spell from the first to last moments of her album… This girl is going all the way.”
– Chloe Veltman, VoiceBox, KALW 91.7FM
"Her unique style is a powerful mix of singer songwriter Hip Hop combined with jazzy instrumentation by the Eric Mire Band. 'Strawberry Cadillac' is really one of my favorites."
– Jeannette Petri, Anattitude Magazine
“Melissa Czarnik is up next, she’s a poet and emcee from Milwaukee, WI… she’s a very good one.”
– Paul Lester, New Band of the Day, The Guardian *(excerpt from Paul Lester on Amazing Radio)