Melissa Garay, a Monterey Bay Area native, discovered her passion for music at an early age through singing in school and church choirs. She went on to perform with various local Bay Area bands and it quickly became evident that she possessed an extraordinary vocal range and technique that allowed her to excel in diverse genres such as traditional jazz, opera, R&B, mariachi, Afro-Cuban, and varying Latin styles.
Melissa has had the privilege of sharing the stage with accomplished musicians such as lead vocalist for Santana Tony Lindsay, renowned jazz guitarist Randy Vincent, and bass player Chris Amberger who toured with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, among others. She has also collaborated extensively with percussionist Mingo Lewis who has worked with notable artists such as Al Di Meola and Chick Corea.
As a highly educated musician, Melissa has earned multiple degrees in music and most recently completed a Master’s Degree in Music with a concentration in jazz studies from San Jose State University. During her time there, she had the opportunity to perform in Havana, Cuba with the Afro-Latin jazz orchestra.
Currently, Melissa is the lead vocalist for several established Bay Area ensembles, including the New Acoustic Collective, Colectivo, the Latin Jazz Collective, Saboricua, and Liberacion. Additionally, she co-hosts the TV show “California Scenes,” a long-standing project between the city of San Jose and Comcast.
Melissa is currently working on her self-titled solo album which showcases her eclectic musical influences, as well as an upcoming project between recording artist Jason Keiser & John Stowell, a highly anticipated collaboration that promises to showcase the unique talents of each artist. With Jason’s impressive guitar skills and multi-instrumental abilities, combined with John’s innovative take on harmony and improvisation, and Melissa’s exceptional vocal range and diverse musical influences, this collaboration is sure to be a feast for the ears and a true celebration of jazz music.