By Janee Law
When she was 7 years old, Melody Rose would often be found swinging back and forth on the swing set at her South Huntington home, singing sweet tunes to the family Yorkie Terrier, Teddy.
“I’ve always been writing and singing little melodies since I was a child,” said Rose, now 27. “I grew up involved in a lot of theatrical productions, but professionally I’ve been singing since I was 17 years old. It’s been about 10 years now that I’ve been out on the Long Island scene doing gigs and stuff like that.”
Rose, a singer-songwriter, has embarked on a career in jazz-influenced pop music, releasing her first, self-titled extended play of eight songs in March 2015. She’s currently collaborating with her boyfriend Andrew Carroll, a jazz pianist, on her second album, which will consist of 12 songs and is expected to release later this year.
And on April 18, Rose will venture to Grasso’s restaurant in Cold Spring Harbor for a special show.
Born Melody Rose McNamara, she grew up in South Huntington with brother John, a guitar player. Rose was cut from the same cloth has her parents, with her mother, Patricia Rynn, a singer and a songwriter, and her father, Glenn McNamara, is CEO of Nationwide Touring Services, which handles transportation for bands during tours around the country.
“I grew up going to a lot of concerts from a young age, and I just always wanted to be involved in music,” Rose said. “Becoming a musician has always been a part of who I am so I’ve always had a passion for it.”
In high school, Rose was involved in both NYSSMA and chorus at Walt Whitman. She graduated from there in 2006.
Rose recounted a time when her father pushed her to start a band or another musical venture and told her: “There’s nothing worse than having an award winning voice that nobody ever hears.” Rose said that moment stood out to her, she’s wanted to “get out there and sing for people ever since.”
“He’s always been a really inspiring person for me,” she said.
Shortly after, Rose started taking private opera and classical music lessons with Kenneth Friese, of the Old First Presbyterian Church in Huntington. She also earned All-State and All-County nods in NYSSMA during her senior year at Whitman.
Rose said that, in high school, she wrote down all her lyric ideas in journals, eventually filling up more than 10 of them with ideas for songs. She also learned to play the piano.
However, Rose added, she didn’t really fine-tune her songwriting craft until college, when she developed approximately 40 songs that are now ready to be recorded.
Rose first attended LIU Post before transferring to Five Towns College in Dix Hills for her sophomore year in 2007. While at school, Rose joined up with cover band Free Shots in 2009, and also freelanced with another band, Free Noise Brigade, before going solo.
In 2012, she earned from Five Towns a bachelor's degree in music with a concentration in music business. She later went back to LIU Post to earn her master’s degree in music composition in 2014.
Rose compares her soulful voice to those prominent artists Adele, Norah Jones or Sara Bareilles. She said she looks up to artists like Billy Joel, David Bowie, The Beatles and Diana Ross.
At Grasso’s on Monday, Rose and Carroll are set to take the stage at 6 p.m.
“We just put our own kind of flare on it which is kind of cool,” Rose said. “I’m really excited… it’s going to be a good night.”
The free show promises to incorporate jazz standards, singer-songwriter tunes and an arrangement of tunes from other artists like the Foo Fighters and David Bowie.
Grasso’s will be offering its Long Island Restaurant Week, three-course prix-fixe menu next week. For more information, call Grasso’s at 631-367-6060.