The daughter of a Belgian mother and an Italian father, jazz vocalist Melanie De Biasio grew up in a household in which she was surrounded by music and art. By the time, De Biasio turned three, had started to take ballet classes, and by the time turned eight, she started to learn the flute; in fact, when De Biasio was 12, she was a member of the Ensemble de l’Harmonie de Charleroi, which toured across Canada for a month.
Like countless teenagers across the globe, a 15 year old De Biasio was a huge fan of grunge-era bands like Nirvana, and was in several rock bands before she decided that she should focus on jazz – and a result, De Biasio attended the Royal Conservatory of Brussels for formal vocal training, and was awarded a first prize with distinction degree. Upon graduation, she toured across Russia and while in Russia she ran into Steve Houben, a fellow Belgian jazz musician and saxophone professor at the Royal Conservatory, who invited De Biasio to perform with his band at a number of Belgian music festivals. Naturally, that kind of exposure led to De Biasio collaborating with a number of notable Belgian jazz musicians including Pascal Mohy, Michel Herr, Jan de Haas and Phllippe Aerts. Adding to a growing national profile, the Belgian jazz vocalist and flute player was nominated for a Young Talent Django d’Or award in 2006.
Melanie De Biasio’s debut full-length effort, A Stomach Is Burning was released in 2006 to critical praise across Europe; however, her sophomore effort, No Deal has received international attention as it was released to breathless praise from the likes of The Guardian, Mojo, Record Collector and her most recent single “I’m Gonna Leave You” has recently been on BBC Radio 6’s regular rotation. And in addition to all of that, she’s toured with the likes of Agnes Obel, EELS, British radio personality Gilles Peterson, and others who have also started to champion the Belgian vocalist.
Speaking of Peterson, the radio personality enlisted the assistance of a number of artists across the electronic music, indie music and jazz scenes to re-imagine and re-work songs from De Biasio’s acclaimed sophomore effort. And interestingly enough, the first single from No Deal Remixed is Mark Oliver Everett, a.k.a. “E”’s remix of “The Flow.” Whereas the original is has De Biasio’s effortlessly old school vocal style accompanied by simmering organ chords, drums and her flute. Although the arrangement seems simple, it’s deceptively simple – the interplay between the instrumentation and De Biasio’s vocals is haunting and evokes despair, loss, longing and lust in a way that contemporary pop music is utterly incapable of these days.
Everett’s re-work of the song pushes the tempo up a notch with faster drum work, swirling electronics and subtly pulsating synths while retaining De Biasio’s vocals and piano; in some way, it makes De Biasio’s vocals seem more spectral while making the song jump up and swing. And by the time, you hear De Biasio’s flute solo, the song suddenly and effortlessly morphs into trip-hop territory, bearing a resemblance to the likes of Portishead and Goldfrapp.