Earlier this year, Canadian musician Melissa Endean was chosen as one of the top 20 Peak Performance Project Artists out of more than 500 applicants. Involvement in the Peak Performance Project is an incredible honor. The top 20 artists are given a base-camp award of $3000 that they can use towards filling gaps in their musical careers. They then go on to attend a boot camp, where they are coached in virtually every aspect of how to build a successful career in the music industry. Melissa’s participation has been groundbreaking – she was not only the first openly gay artist in the Peak Performance Project, with all of her songs dealing with LGBTQ issues and women’s rights, but she also brought to the project the first ever all-female band!
Although a passionate songwriter and musician, Melissa has set herself apart from her competitors by approaching the entire project with the mindset of a social activist. A volunteer and long-time supporter of Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW), a rape crisis centre in Vancouver, Melissa hopes to use the media attention given to her because of her involvement in the Peak Performance Project to raise awareness of sexual violence against women.
This is something that is intensely personal for Melissa, as she left an abusive family life at a very young age and spent much of her formative teen years as a street youth, battling sexual exploitation, addiction, and violence. After fighting for many years to get off of the streets and free of addiction, the Kamloops native finally emerged as a survivor at the age of 21. After completing her high-school diploma as an adult graduate, she decided to move to Vancouver to pursue a career in music. To-date, Melissa has released two full-length albums which have received worldwide radio play. Melissa’s 2009 single “Let it Go” topped Eastern Canadian music charts for six successive weeks, peaking in the #2 position.
Melissa knew early on in her career that her reasons for following a musical path moved far beyond the typical dream of being a “rockstar.” It has always been her goal to use her position as an entertainer as a platform from which to speak about ending violence against women, and to raise awareness about the rape and sexual exploitation that more than 1-in-4 women in Canada will suffer at some point in their lives.
During the month of October, Melissa is teaming up with WAVAW for their 30th anniversary to raise awareness and funds for their organization. She will be performing on October 2nd and 3rd at Vancouver Community College as part of WAVAW’s C.A.R.E initiative, and she will be hosting a benefit concert at The Waldorf on October 11th, in a bid to raise more than $5000 for the organization. Additionally, next month Melissa will be teaming up with WAVAW to shoot a campaign video in which she will speak about her experiences as a survivor of sexual exploitation and violence. The video, which will focus on Melissa as an artist in the Peak Performance Project as well as her position as a survivor and will also spotlight WAVAW’s services, and will provide critical educational information about sexual assault in Canada and the impact it has on the women affected by it.
Above all else, Melissa is hoping that by coming forward at this moment in her career she can encourage other women to break the silence and shame associated with sexual violence. She is available for interviews and live appearances, upon request.
In the following video, Smartest Little Girl Ever!, Melissa’s 6-year-old niece Elizabeth answers important questions and speaks the truth about gender inequality and other related topics in a powerful and simple way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ypNGRukE3o
Melissa Official Website: http://www.melissaendean.ca
Melissa’s Upcoming Shows:
Oct 2: C.A.R.E Initiative (WAVAW) @ Vancouver Community College
Oct 3: C.A.R.E Initiative (WAVAW) @ Vancouver Community College
Oct 6: Music video shoot (location TBA)
(MuchFact Video- “i could be your boi”)
Oct 8: CJSF Radio @8PM
Oct 11: WAVAW Fundraiser w/Lydia Hol – Doors open @8
Oct 12: Cafe Deux Solelis w/ Natasha Bouchard Doors open @8PM