Melissa Portelli

Its surreal. I actually have a recording of some of my own compositions thats something I wouldnt have bet on in a thousand years. What were the chances of that happening to a secretary living in the small Mediterranean island of Gozo?

As a kid I loved singing and had always written poetry and short stories and when I started listening to Nirvana, I realized that I wanted to become a lyricist. I bought myself a shit load of diaries, and filled them with thoughts and pieces of poetry. Writing was a way of coping with my teenage confusion and helped me express my feelings in a kind of rebellious but straightforward way.

After my teenage angst had run dry My world stopped.

I went through a horrific life changing experience The brutal murder of my 27-year-old brother – which sent me on a downward spiral of confusion and anger. I crawled inside myself to suppress the hurt. I hated the world and couldnt believe that my family had to go through such a tragedy. Grief overpowered me. My life was a void with no meaning and I could no longer put my feelings into words, I no longer felt that I knew who I was. Eventually, I resorted to drinking to avoid dealing with unresolved grief and became quiet numb.

Music was my redeemer. It took me to a very private place in my soul where I found comfort, and it played a very significant role in mending the broken person that I had become. Although I chose dark, aggressive music to listen to at that time it had helped me return to my true love poetry.

Alone, pen and paper in hand. I dealt with the stabbing emotional pain – writing was my way of praying. I weathered the storm, the sun came out and eventually I found my way back right to where I had left off.

Just as I was rising from this very low time in my life it changed yet again when my boss Steve heard me singing in the office. At that time he was setting up a home recording studio with the help of Keith, a friend of mine who played electric guitar in a local band. Steve had suggested to Keith that he compose something on acoustic guitar and was so pleased with the result that he asked me to write a lyric and melody for the recording. Not only was it an exciting and liberating experience, but it was also the creative outlet that I had always yearned for.

Keith is a brilliant songwriter and his unique way of playing makes his compositions very distinctive. The sensitivity and soul in his music is what makes our songs what they are. I feel really honored to be his writing partner.

Together we are Chasing Pandora.

I really dont know where this will take us. My hope is that maybe someone will find refuge and inspiration in our songs in the same way that music helped and sustained me when I needed it most.

This is my story one of personal tragedy, overcoming fears and above all learning to let go.

Nightmares may sometimes be real but dreams can definitely come true.

Keith Anthony

When I was 8 years old I thought to myself; Why the hell should I play this piece of crap when all it does is hurt my fingers and buzz?

The guitar leaned in the corner of my room collecting dust.

Every day Id hear Led Zeppelin and Peter Gabriel blaring on my fathers stereo and I thought; I wanna play like that I want to be a rock star.

Its been 12 years since I started playing and every step of the way has been exhilarating. Music is my drug, it possesses me, thrills me and sometimes it feels as if it just might kill me. My emotions are amplified a thousand fold, and playing transports me to a place where hours become minutes – it affects me in ways that I just cant explain.

My inspiration comes from many artists.

I started listening to Bob Dylan for his lyrics, Crosby Stills and Nash for their harmonies and Jeff Buckley for his exceptional songwriting and voice. Now I listen to every genre and learn something new every day.

I have learned from the numerous musicians that I have worked with, every one of whom I thank deeply.

I am thrilled to be part of Chasing Pandora. I have known Mel for many years – we hung out together as teens and got hammered most weekends. Id play the guitar while she screamed at the top of her lungs but I never knew she had such a unique and beautiful voice until we started writing together. We discovered that there was extraordinary chemistry between us, and we wrote loads of songs in just a few weeks. The tunes just kept on coming and we both felt that there was something very special happening. I have been in many bands, all of which I have enjoyed immensely, but this is different!

I hope that our music conveys the emotion and excitement that we both felt when it was being created.