"La Muñeca de la Salsa"
A good salsa is always a great choice to spice up your life. With her great moves and amazing voice this Puerto Rican beauty is guaranteed to make you shake your bootie to her salsa rhythm. Melina Almodovar is pushing forward and leaving her mark wherever she goes. And all those rumors that you’ve heard that the salsa style is a dying artform? Definitely not! With Melina around, it will live forever!
D: How did you start your singing career?
M:I started singing in clubs and festivals in Memphis, Tennesssee at 16. I sang rock, jazz, blues, R&B, anything I could. Then I was approached by a group of very talented Memphis musicians to start a salsa band. I played with them for four years. That is where I fell in love with tropical music.
D: Who or what was your inspiration?
M: My grandmother, Elia, gave me my first collection of salsa songs by Ruben Baldes, the record “Siembra” with Willie Colon, when I was very young, like 13, when my mother and I had to move from Puerto Rico to Memphis. This record meant so much to me even at such an early age. It reminded me of my home and kept me happy in the adjustment years of my living in Memphis. Ruben Blades and Celia Cruz are always inspiring me. My mother, Ilsa, and my grandmother, Elia, they are very strong women who always support me and show me the way. Let me just say I have a lot to live up to.
D: Why did you choose to sing salsa?
M: Really, I think it chose me. I knew I wanted to sing and perform from a very early age. I just didn’t know what. I think salsa followed me from Puerto Rico to Memphis to Miami. It’s in my blood. I love it! I never formally learned how to dance salsa or sing. I just had a natural ability for it and I just ran with it to see where it could take me. And here I am having a great time. Gozando!
D: What is your take on salsa music nowadays?
M: There are some great artists out there who are keeping salsa alive. Unfortunately, I think it’s not a great time for salsa at the moment. I feel it is in a transition period. But the artists that are out there will find a way. Salsa is very important for the fabric of Latin culture. It will never die. It lives in every Latino’s heart, plus people all over the world keep it alive that never grew up with it, with their salsa classes and salsa clubs. They just love it. Who knew a salsa band could be successful in Memphis, Tennessee?
D: What inspires you to write?
M: The things that inspire me to write change all the time. Singing live for people inspires me a lot. Those first few moments of a salsa song when you see all the dancers crowding the floor, I love that moment. So I try to write music right now that has that affect on people. At other times in my life it hasn’t been about that. There are times when I write about being away from Puerto Rico. Whatever it is, I am living at the moment. It could be many things. But I have friends that help me write as well; and if I like a song from someone else, I will sing it too. If the shoe is fabulous and it fits, wear it out dancing!! That’s what my Mami always says.
D: Are you working with other artists? If so, who?
M: Right now I am looking forward to singing with the great Andy Montañez on November 16th at the Fiestas Patronales de Puerto Rico. I am doing my show and then singing with him. I am so excited! I can hardly wait. He is such an amazing legend of salsa, it is truly a privilege. And I am collaborating with some amazing songwriters and arrangers for my next record coming out next year; so it’s a busy time, but very exciting and fun. I hope I can keep up!
D: Do you work with any charitable foundations?
M: I work with My First Horizon. It’s a non-profit organization that helps young people with developmental disabilities live as normal a life as possible. They are amazing people that need opportunities just like all of us. And they need fun and entertainment just like everyone else. I hop that I can do more than I have done for them in the future.-DUO