Who is Melinda Schneider

Melinda Schneider is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter, live performer, storyteller, the CEO and founder of MPOWER Records, a sought after key note speaker and a female empowerment activist.

She's enjoyed 40 years in Australian entertainment, released a whopping 15 albums and been awarded an incredible six CMAA Golden Guitars.

Aside from an impressive body of recorded musical work, Melinda loves to play live and create new and original live show concepts. A personal highlight was her

iconic theatre show 'DORIS, Doris Day - So Much More Than the Girl Next Door'. The tour which accompanied her #1 hit album 'Melinda Does Doris', toured extensively and sold out the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall - twice.

In 2020 Melinda became an ambassador for the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program to help raise awareness and end the stigma around depression.

Melinda is also a fashion designer, has competed on 'Dancing With The Stars' and delivered key-note speeches to empowered women across the country. She's been an actress who made her debut at age 13 in 'A Country Practice', John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John and Paul Kelly have all recorded her songs and above all, she's Sullivan's mum.






Be Gentle On Yourself EP

Now playing: Be Gentle On Yourself

One sleepless night at 3am, I had the idea to put together an EP of six of my most healing songs of self-love and put it out into the world. During this time of Covid, 2020 has been full of the stress of uncertainty. Fear has led to anxiety and sadness has led to depression. However, once I recovered from the shock of losing my job as a live performer back in March, I fully embraced the time I suddenly had to rest and simply surrender to what was happening. After all, there was no way of controlling it or fighting against it. This year has been such a wonderful opportunity to worry less about work, money and getting ahead and more about self-care, listening to your body and filling your soul with what it really needs. I hope these songs bring you some comfort for the rest of 2020 and encourage you to Rest Your Weary Mind and Be Gentle on Yourself.



1

Be Gentle On Yourself
I wrote this song about 20 years ago with Dave Faulker from the Hoodoo Gurus. I remember I was going through a pretty hard time personally back then and I obviously needed some self-care. The irony is I'm only just starting to learn how to be gentle on myself now and it's a daily practice. I'm definitely a work in progress when it comes to self-care, but I am getting better at it.

2

It Will Always Turn Around
This song was written in Nashville with one of my favourite co-writers, Angela Kaset. My little boy Sullivan was very young. I was still very much in those early mummy years of milky days and kissing his sweaty little sleepy head. I remember wanting to hold onto those beautiful toddler years and protect him from the heartbreak the world can bring, but also give him the strength to cope with it. I hope he listens to this as he gets older and it helps him in some way.

3

Be Yourself
Ah, the idea for this song came to me at a very liberating time in my life. I had just left an unhappy marriage and been through a nasty divorce. At 35 I was starting to give myself permission to be exactly who I was and I was determined to let go of the 'disease to please'. Really, accepting myself just as I am has been my life lesson... and the lesson never ends.

4

I'll Take Care Of You
I thought this song might be a beautiful message to sing to ourselves. We are so good at taking care of everyone else, kids, parents, partners, but often we leave ourselves out of the picture altogether. This song is kind of like a pledge or promise to take care of yourself.

5

Rest Your Weary Mind
I wrote this song with my friend Elizabeth Cook in Nashville after a pretty traumatic life event. My mind was racing and confused. I was totally overwhelmed. I think this is one of the most soothing songs I've ever written and boy did I need to hear this message at the time. I still do.

6

Courageous
There have been many times in my life when I've had to find courage from somewhere deep within. After I lost my baby, after I lost my father, after I lost my marriage. I've even listened to this song a few times in the lead up to coming out publicly with my depression story. I believe we all have the capacity to be courageous, and when you are terrified, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, is true courage to me.

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Melinda's Story - Be Gentle On Yourself, a work in progress

I've always believed taking care of yourself was kind of selfish. Growing up a good Catholic girl, selflessness and sacrifice were to be aspired to. But this manifested for me as a belief that when it came to my needs, I should put myself last or leave myself out of the picture all together. On Mother's Day 2018 that belief began to change, it had to.

That Sunday, I came home after performing a show and told my partner Mark, "something doesn't feel right", but I couldn't describe what it was. He sent me to bed and told me to stay there. He said: "you're a workaholic, you never have any time off. Go to bed and watch Netflix, but do not work". I took his advice and was in bed for 6 weeks. I felt deep sadness, my body felt so heavy that I couldn't really move. Then came the shame. I felt hopeless and defective. Some days I couldn't even pick up my son, Sullivan from school. I couldn't bear to be seen by the other school mums.

Then followed the guilty thoughts: "What do I have to be depressed about? I have a great life, a successful career, a home, a kind and loving partner and a beautiful son." "There are so many people worse off than me." I've since learned that it's all relative and comparisons don't help. They only make you feel worse. It's validation a person with depression needs. Permission to feel exactly how they need to feel at any given time. I was lucky, Mark gave me that.

I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety. My doctor said "be strong, but not TOO strong". Her words really made me think. Was I too stoic? The answer was yes. But now I have so much more awareness around how workaholism, perfectionism, exhaustion and a critical inner voice can bring on a bout of depression, in fact two in twelve months in my case.

In April 2019, my depression re-emerged and in May, I lost my old flat-mate to suicide. I was beyond devastated. The grief and depression combined were too much and the pressure to be all smiles for my upcoming Doris Day national tour was looming, I needed help. I went back to my doctor who convinced me I didn't have to keep battling this alone. I finally agreed to try medication. A week later it kicked in and I felt so much better. However, I've learned that meds alone can't manage it, I need to exercise regularly, meditate, eat well and cut out coffee to stay healthy.

As my song, The Story of My Life describes, "I was born in 71, policeman dad and a yodelling mum." With that came lots of wonderful things, but it also came with pressure. Pressure to be a perfect reflection on my family. I felt I always had to be a happy, little, pretty, thing. Jim Carrey once said "think of the word depressed as 'deep' 'rest', your body needs to be depressed it needs deep rest from the character you've been trying to play". That really resonated with me. Without even realising it, for my forty-year music career (an anniversary I celebrate this year), I felt huge pressure to publicly play a role, until I just couldn't anymore.

For me, to Be Gentle on Yourself means learning to stop self-judgement and treating myself with the same unconditional love I offer my child. This doesn't come easily, it takes practice, daily. I'm a work in progress. In hindsight my experience with depression was less of a breakdown and more of a breakthrough, it's changed me for the better.






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I first discovered Melinda's music very late one sleepless night in 2004. Melinda was on TV performing and I was enthralled! She clearly wrote and sang from the heart! This led to me researching her other music, all of which I fell in love with. Melinda's song "Courageous" has helped me through my long and arduous journey of health struggles, and even on the days I felt I couldn't go on, Melinda's music kept me going, and I am eternally grateful! Melinda is not only an amazing artist, but she is a genuine, loving and caring person, too! I couldn't be happier that I didn't sleep that night I discovered her on the TV.

- Amy, VICTORIA

I have been listening to Melinda's music since forever but did not see her perform her music live until 2011. Her songs reached out to me in some of my darkest times and spoke not only of pain but of colour and optimism, the determination to get up and go on, and have helped carried my soul forward. My favourites are "Story of My Life", "Walk that Wire" and "Courageous" - all these years on they are still so powerful, poignant and beautiful and resonate in different ways to when I first heard them. Melinda's new song "It Will Always Turn Around" is a new favourite - it catches in my throat as a Mother and Grandma. What a gift to share and I thank you Melinda, for your courage, your inspiration and your music. You are truly amazing.

- Cathy, WA

Like many people, I have been a fan of Melinda's music for many years. Her amazing talent as a singer/songwriter, coupled with her generosity of spirit make her the "real deal". An Australian icon! Melinda's music comes from an authentic place. A place of courage and vulnerability. At some of the most difficult times in my life I have drawn enormous comfort and inspiration from her music. Melinda's willingness to share her own journey with such honesty is remarkable.

- Paula Blanch, NSW







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NEED HELP?

In an emergency call 000 or go to your nearest hospital Emergency Department.

Having a tough time and need someone to talk to right now? The following services are there to listen and help you out. They are confidential and available 24/7.

Lifeline - 13 11 14

Men's Line Australia - 1300 78 99 78

Kids Help Line - counselling and support provided for young people (to 24 years old) who are feeling depressed, sad, or lonely - or just need someone to talk to - 1800 55 1800

Domestic Violence Line - 1800 656 463

Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467

Head to Health is the Australian government site for finding mental health services and resources. You can find information on how to improve your wellbeing, mental health disorders, supporting yourself or someone else, as well as linking you to phone or chat services, apps and websites.

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Melinda Schneider is an ambassador for the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP).

RAMHP has 20 Coordinators based across regional, rural and remote NSW who inform, educate and connect individuals, communities and workplaces with appropriate services and programs. To find your local RAMHP Coordinator go to the postcode locator at www.ramhp.com.au

Proceeds from the Be Gentle On Yourself EP will be donated to RAMHP.



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