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Mella Barnes/The Amplified Effect The X Factor

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A voice with a mix of Natalie Merchant and Colbie Caillat with a touch of soul. Deep, powerful songwriting reminiscent of Joni Mitchell. These comparisons are just a few of Mella's influences. "It's hard to describe what you sound like when your influences are so varied!" she says, "I try to create a new sound and use true life stories when I write my songs." Starting from childhood, Mella was quick to move into the songwriting scene in her hometown, Detroit. "As soon as I could drive, I went to every studio I could find," she said, "I just wanted a chance. Eventually they gave me a shot and I started writing hooks for rap songs." The rest, as they say, is history. She began playing at local Detroit venues and touring the local area, opening for bigger artists and headlining packed shows. For Mella, music is all about the connection with the listener. "When I was younger, music helped me get through some really tough times," she said, "it saved me. And if I have the chance to help someone through my music, I can think of no greater way to give back. That would mean everything to me."

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