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Oakland vocal activist brings people together through song

Vocal activist Melanie DeMore

This story originally aired on July 7, 2016 and again most recently in the February 7, 2024 episode of Crosscurrents.

Oakland singer and vocal activist Melanie DeMore believes in the power of song to bring people together. It’s what drives her work as performer, songwriter, and teacher.

“Contained within that rhythm is that longing and desire for freedom and connection.”
Melanie DeMore

Blessed with what she herself has called a “very, very, very low voice,” she’s made a name for herself through music that blends African-American folk music with other American forms like spirituals and soul — her own special mix. 

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.

Crosscurrents Crosscurrents
Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.