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A little Faith goes a long way

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Who: Melanie Dekker

When: Friday, Jan. 13 to Saturday, Jan. 14

Where: Four Season’s Fifty Two 80 Bistro

Whistlerites might remember Melanie Dekker’s house tracks as a guest DJ at Buffalo Bill’s, or singing covers mountaintop with Whistler Heli-Skiing, or some may have been lucky enough to catch her opening for Faith Hill in Whistler.

Although Melanie hasn’t been a regular face about town lately, Dekker fans will be pleased to hear the charming, giggling, storytelling singer is stepping out of the shadows of the road dog, note slinger life and is making ready to play in the big leagues, with her growing credits including a recent performance with Diana Krall for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the recording of her premier studio album last fall with Grammy-Award-winning producer David Kershenbaum.

"I am imagining big stages more often, the income getting more consistent," said Dekker of future dreams.

"Oh god, there is so much. It’s really good right now. Of course I imagine bigger things, but my state is really good right now."

Dekker has plenty to be optimistic about these days.

Her new album, entitled Revealed and set for release within the next few months, was produced by Kershenbaum, world-renowned in the music industry whose artist credits include Tracy Chapman, Joe Jackson, Duran Duran, The Jacksons, Tori Amos and New Order. Kershenbaum launched Chapman’s career with her self-titled album, which sold 20 million copies and garnered six Grammy nominations, winning three, including Album of the Year.

"(Kershenbaum) has a personal note at the front (of the album)," Dekker said. "It opens doors. You are able to call Sidney and Warner. It’s a stamp of approval in the music industry. It’s solicited material. Having his name on there makes me feel proud, as if I don’t have to be selling myself right now."

Often successes such as these do more than just build resumes – they build confidence. It’s amazing how a little Faith will go a long way.

While Dekker kept her expectations realistic when opening for such a big name act as Faith Hill in the summer of 2004, she was immediately put in touch with music industry professionals in Nashville. Dekker was paired with songwriters Gerald O’Brien, who penned hits for Amanda Marshall and Manhattan Transfer, and Gary Nicholson, who wrote more than 20 number-one hits, including songs for Vince Gill and Wynonna Judd. Dekker now travels twice a year to Nashville to exercise her songwriting talents.

"It gave me such a big sense of accomplishment," Dekker said of the Faith experience. "It affirmed that I need to do this and do this as often as possible. When you have a visualization like that, stuff does happen."

But more than a vision is needed, hard work has always been the driving force.

Thankfully the days of 280 shows across Canada a year – six shows a week and a different town every seven days – are over. Dekker remembers playing a little pub in Trail, B.C. with a life-sized wax Elvis. The show was cut short: due to faulty wiring, her drummer was "lightly" electrocuted. Her hotel room was covered ceiling to floor in shag carpet.

Needless to say, Dekker’s knowledge of Canadian geography is excellent.

An overworked voice from three years of touring led to a three-month-long rehab process, along with a departure from covers and a new focus on original works. She entered and won international songwriting contests and released an indie album, entitled Just Because . She performed the Whistler music circuit then moved to Vancouver to fly around the world with tours through Germany, Poland, Holland, England and North America.

Dekker, now signed-on with Sonoma Mountain Entertainment, returns to Whistler Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14 for shows from 6 to 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight at the Four Season’s Fifty Two 80 Bistro. The intimate lounge show will include covers and originals, particularly new works from Revealed . The playful yet intense album was recorded live off the floor in response to fans’ comments that Dekker’s previous album did not do justice to her live performance.

It took a Grammy-Award-winning producer to even get close.

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