By J1 Reporter Kenzie Anderson
Music is a part of so many people’s lives and so many people’s lives have been changed just by discovering and listening to, singing with, and/or creating music. For junior Melina Piperis, music has changed her life and brought her joy and happiness, as well as hours of entertainment and purpose.
“Music has always been a prominent part of my life,” Melina said. “I mostly attribute my love for music to my parents. My mama sang to me every day when I was young. I also remember her playing Disney songs, Broadway tunes, and Greek music throughout my childhood (I still love all of these to this day).”
Melina continues, saying, “My Baba (Dad) introduced me to some of my favorite styles of music.” Melina’s parents – Dr. Peter and Mrs. Christina Piperis – have played a huge role in inspiring her passion for music, which is focused mainly on melodies from 60s and 70s rock, folk and pop genres. “I think every generation has something unique to offer, and I love music from just about every time period,” Melina said.
Mrs. Piperis said, “We listened to a lot of Greek music, but also enjoyed bands from the 70s and 80s.”
Famous artists/musicians have made an impact on Melina as well, encouraging her to start songwriting. According to Melina, songwriting has allowed her to gain a better understanding of her emotions and identity. “Some of my biggest songwriting inspirations are The Beatles, Carole King, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell—and many, many more.” Vocalists who Melina admires include Billie Holiday, Lady Gaga and Maria Callas.
Her greatest inspiration though is her vocal coach, Anne Marie Kenny. “I aspire not only to achieve Anne Marie’s musical skill level, but her elegance and grace as well. I am beyond blessed to have her in my life.” Melina began vocal training with classical, Broadway and pop music when she was 12. “Since then,” she said, “I have participated in recitals, school productions, singing competitions, and occasional gigs with my older brother, Stavro.”
She said she feels lucky to live in Omaha since it has such an active performing arts community. “My mama loves Broadway,” she said, “so I’ve been exposed to that style of music for a very long time. Some of my favorite shows are Hamilton, Lés Miserables, Mamma Mia! and Jersey Boys.”
When Melina was 13 or 14 years old, her brother gave her his old acoustic guitar, and she’s been teaching herself to play ever since. In addition, she knows how to carry a little tune on the piano. “My mama put me in piano lessons when I was 5, and I continued with that for nine years,” Melina said. A little while back, she also found an interest in playing the ukulele.
With her love for music, Melina developed an interest in writing her own music. “I started writing music a few years ago,” she explains, “and am looking forward to potentially recording later in high school or college.”
When her older brother, Stavro, was recording his first album, Chances, he invited Melina to spend some time with him in the studio. “I was immediately fascinated by the recording experience,” Melina said, “and hope to one day do the same with my music.”
With that being said, Melina has always looked up to her brother and enjoyed his music. “I’m glad that my passion for music has spread to Melina and hopefully others,” Stavro Piperis said.
“I think it can really help an artist to have someone older who they can observe and learn from,” he said.
Recently, Melina began studying Byzantine music. “This is the style of music found in Greek Orthodox liturgy,” she explained. “Learning more about this style has allowed me to incorporate my love of music into my culture and faith.”
So many of Melina’s classmates and friends know her as a caring and spirited young woman—in clubs which she’s involved in Student Board, Girls 4 Girls, Recruitment Team, Campus Ministry. This year, Melina will be a retreat leader at the freshmen retreat on Friday, Nov. 13. However, not too many people have seen her musical side. Girls may have heard her sing a few covers of songs on her Instagram account (@melinacolada), but they haven’t heard or seen the whole behind-the-scenes of how music influenced her life.
“Her covers are amazing! They really show off her unique and GREAT music taste, and it’s insane how talented she is on the guitar,” junior Kate Timmerman said. “I think everyone aspires to be as good a singer as she is.”