Melanie Jackson’s early roots were from the church choir and years of studying the flute. She sang on her first national commercial when she was 14 years old, and received the John Philip Sousa Band Award for her flute playing when she was 16. She then attended the University of Southern California studying for two Bachelors (Music and Broadcast Journalism) by day, and singing in blues and rock bands at night.
While she was in college she fell in love with the song stylings of jazz vocalists, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. She also became involved with crafting lyrics and became published when she was 20 years old. She started a jazz group that was rated one of the best jazz groups in Los Angeles by Music Connection Magazine in Los Angeles. She received the Westinghouse Broadcasting Scholarship and moved to work in a television production internship in San Francisco (KPIX-TV) which lead to a production assistant job in New York City (NBC Network) for the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder in 1980. She still sang in groups and recorded, while she worked in broadcast production.
In 1981, she moved back to California to pursue her singing career, but on the way, also recorded a demo of some of her original songs in Nashville.
Back in Los Angeles, she worked in the studios recording commercials (Budweiser, Toyota, Michelob, Disney), network promos (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, E-Entertainment, Playboy) and background vocals for various recording artists. (She has worked and collaborated with hit songwriters such as Tom Kelly (Madonna, Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper) and Elliot Wolff (Paula Abdul). She has had songs of hers covered in films, and lyrics recorded by other singers. She has toured as a background vocalist with such acts as REO Speedwagon, Latin artist- Jose Luis Rodriguez on CBS International, and Leonard Cohen. Since then, she teamed up with her husband, Grammy-nominated trumpeter, Sal Cracchiolo, to record their own CD, Fly, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2001. They were flown to perform for Pope John Paul II to sing in the Millennium Choir for the Jubileo and also performed for H.M. King Bhumibol of Thailand. In 2005 to 2006 the California Arts Council sponsored both Melanie and Sal. Melanie has also just finished recording on Tower of Power’s new album to be released in late 2013.
Today, Melanie lives in the Norwalk/Cerritos area of Los Angeles, California with her husband and their two terriers. She continues to perform locally and has teaches voice privately and classes in Jazz History at Santiago Canyon College and Santa Ana College. She was also an artist-in-residence at Whittier College in Whittier, California from 2008 to 2009. She is a member of SAG-AFTRA, BMI, and the Jazz Educators Network (JEN). She gives lectures and clinics in, jazz and pop vocal development, jazz history and some aspects of music therapy.