Friday, February 01, 2008

For Melanie read Juris

Melanie Lynch/Juris Prosper and the author in 2004
Since June 2004, the gorgeous Melanie Lynch has been a permanent fixture for all Steel Pulse live shows, until now. Steel Pulse have a policy of not commenting on changes to band members so I contacted Melanie for clarification when I noticed she'd been replaced as backing vocalist by Juris Prosper. Here's what she said; "Juris Prosper is my new stage name. While I do love my given name, quite a few female singers record and perform under it as is. I actually had a song released several years ago and I was being confused for another reggae singer from Jamaica. That incident made me realize that choosing a stage name would make me more distinguishable. I started my search and came up with a few good candidates throughout the years, but nothing 'felt right' to me. Finally, I was led to this new name because it speaks prosperity into every area of my life: career, spirit, finances, etc. I can always use that kind of blessing on my life."
My thanks to Juris for taking time out to explain the change. An extremely talented vocalist, she joined the band when Donna Sterling left in 2004 pending the birth of her second child, at which time David Hinds chose two replacement female backing vocalists, both hailing from New York, to join the group in Europe on the African Holocaust tour in June of that year. They were Melanie (Juris) and Traciana Graves. Melanie's background was mostly in reggae, and after their European dates, the band moved across to the United States for 33 concerts in 40 days, ensuring the two vocalists received a tough introduction to touring. Whilst Traciana later departed, to be replaced temporarily by Marea Wilson, Melanie remained and was joined by Jamaica-based Keysha McTaggart, who made her first appearance in June 2005. The two remain as the band's backing vocalists.
As I'm now far removed from the band geographically, it's difficult to keep as close to the news as I once did. My goal for many years was to compile a detailed biography of the band for publication as a book sometime in the future, but that never materialized though I amassed a great deal of interviews, photos and background information that I'm still holding onto. I approached the band's management on numerous occasions to ensure it was a biography with official backing but that was as far as it went. Nevertheless, I had great fun compiling my historical research and I may publish it on the web sometime in the future. First and foremost, I'm a Steel Pulse fan and my own website on the band and any writings I've penned have always been with a positive slant. However, this never seemed to curry much favour with the management. Even so, my relationship with the band members has always been a very good one. Selwyn in particular, has always been a great friend, alongwith Moonie, Syd, Amlak and former band members like Conrad and Donna. I will always remain a Steel Pulse devotee but it hasn't always been a smooth ride.

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