Material: As a Balkan refugee growing up in Sweden, Zana Messia faced several trials and tribulations. But as a teenager living in a foreign country, she was also exposed to the beauty of international music. The experience of living in a cultural melting pot has certainly contributed to her confidence in leading a new ensemble called The Midnight Mission, a band of musicians from all over the world. Zana Messia often refers to this new group as her “altered ego,” because the project allows her to detour from writing contemporary pop songs, to penning music from edgier genres like punk rock, alternative and soul. One of the band’s most eclectic live compositions is an unreleased love song called “Enuff.” This track combines elements of reggae-rock and ska with pop-rock.
Musicianship: Over the years, Zana Messia has developed a penchant for writing soulful music that incorporates music from different countries. The success of experimental R&B songs by Messia’s former band, The Balkan Soul Orchestra, has led to the inception of her new band. With a live sound that is often spearheaded by the Brazilian tandem of Felipe and Viny Melanio, their extensive background in rock music provides a solid foundation for the R&B drum grooves of Joseph Vallery. The Midnight Mission will be releasing this new music as part of a collection of songs that Messia co-created with her Grammy-nominated producer, Billy Mohler.
Performance: This live performance coincided with the taping of a film called The Midnight Mission at Factory West. This visionary display featured four alternative rock songs by the band. The performance was greatly enhanced by a memorable guitar solo from Felipe and the plucking bass guitar technique of his brother Viny. The two Brazilian natives made their presence felt on original compositions like “Ride This To The End” and “How Did We.” With the help of drummer Vallery, they both engaged their leader quite often as she danced in front of the live spectators.
Summary: The Midnight Mission concluded their live taping with a performance of a track called “LA Minute,” a pop-rock song about how fast someone’s fortunes can drastically change in the city of Los Angeles. That premise could also be a narrative for the way that Messia has evolved from a solo pop singer to an integral part of The Midnight Mission. This band has already become more than just another side project. They are a vision that encompasses the friendships that she has made from all over the world and the showmanship they all have to offer.
Players: Zana Messia, vocals; Felipe Melanio, guitar; Viny Melanio, bass guitar; Joseph Vallery, drums