Amplif[ie]d | Miss Chief
By: Marissa Scheerer
The tambourine's shaking, the drums are jiving, and Melissa Loera's floral dress is flowing to the beat. The high energy of her lipsticked smile, bright eyes and fellow band members bring to life the garage pop magic of her alter ego: Miss Chief. We can all relate to the dream of dancing our life goals into existence, and Melissa Loera has done just that. With a passion for singing and the will to let loose and get creative, she has made way to show us all that life can be like a movie: if we can find ourselves in a place where we are able to let go of our supposed norm, we can become anyone we want to be, and anything can happen.
Photo Credit: Anel Salgado
Q. When did you start playing music?
Miss Chief: I started singing as soon as I could speak, it was always something I loved to do. I never had any professional training though, I just learned like a mockingbird, imitating my favorite singers and how they sang.
Q. When did you start performing live?
When I was 12 years old I performed with my sister's band Tralala. I sang “Don't Make Me . . . ” which is on my Bandcamp as a tribute to my sister. Playing that show made me realize that being on a stage is where I felt most powerful, even as a dorky teenager.
Q. Have you ever been in a band?
A lot of people mistake Miss Chief as a band name, but she's actually my alter ego. In the past I've tried to play with a band, where the music is created as a group, and it was a fun learning experience. Today I am fortunate enough to have a band that backs me up and lets me become Miss Chief. I am accompanied by Mr. Eddie Gonzalez on guitar and song co-writer, Mr. Daniel Aaron Flores on drums and Miss Devyn Trujillo on bass. There will be more fun additions to the line up for future shows, but that's still to come.
Q. Who are some of your main influences (musical or not!)?
Selena Quintanilla, Donna Summer, Fiona Apple, Billie Holiday, Carole King, Paul McCartney, Electric Light Orchestra, No Doubt and more recent musicians like La Luz and Summer Twins too. Different sounds entice me, but I have a love for singers with soulful, signature voices.
Q. How would you describe your sound?
Garage pop is a term my band and I made up. It's a hybrid genre combining elements of garage rock, surf rock, indie rock and punk with pop music. There's also some jazz, bossa nova and western but garage pop just sounds right.
Q. What are some of your most memorable performances? Why?
For my 24th birthday I performed at The Flyway in Pomona with Pity Party, Children and Naive Thieves. All the bands did a fantastic job, a lot of family and friends came out, and there was nothing but love from everyone. Once I started performing, everyone was feeling the music and I crowd surfed for the first time! I never imagined that I would be crowd surfing to my own music, so it was a very surreal moment that I'll never forget.
Q. What is your favorite part about performing?
My real name is Melissa Loera but when I'm performing I'm Miss Chief. Performing allows me to become an unfiltered, fearless version of myself that I usually can't be otherwise. There's no hesitation or second guessing myself when I sing, it's a natural part of my being and the most beautiful feeling I've ever encountered.
Q. If someone had never heard your music, and they were going to hear a first song—what song would you want to show them and why?
Personally, I love “Paranoid Bird.” I made up the name Miss Chief while writing that song, and it's about being overwhelmed with fear and paranoia from other people. The words are a lot of fun to sing too, especially the chorus, "I got a mad case of the hee bees, I got a made case of the jeebies. It's coming it's taking over me, it's coming it's taking over."
Q. What are you working on now? What can we expect to see/hear in the near future?
My first EP is currently being mixed and mastered by Brad DeLorenzo, who recorded all the instruments. Vocals were recorded by my friend Luis Miguel De Anda, who I'm looking to record with in the future.
Q. What are some of your goals for the future?
There is going to be a big release show for the EP, then make a music video, sign with a label and tour! I've always dreamt of touring and seeing how unfamiliar audiences will react to my music. After all that it's back to recording.
Q. Anything else? Shout outs?
Shout out to my hero, the woman who inspired me to do all of this and the most courageous person I know, my sister Stephanie Loera. I love you hermana!
Photo Credit: Ralph Acosta
Follow Miss Chief through a variety of places on the web: Bandcamp, Tumblr, Facebook and @_misschief_ on Twitter and Instagram!
And brace yourself for the awesomeness: Melissa's next rendezvous revealing her altar ego alongside her "misters & miss" and "over 50 other bands!" will be an experience you don't want to miss. Get inspired by Miss Chief and let your own altar ego loose at Upland's Way Strange Fest: August 29th at Imagine That.