Sleuth is Melissa Francis, enigmatic south-western Victorian singer-songwriter. She composes minimalist funk electro, dark and soulful jazz, and quirky alt-pop. Lyrically dark, melodically bitter, her music explores auto-biographical themes of feminism, identity, grief and emancipation, spanning genres from moody jazz to electro lounge and hard pop.
Mel has performed original music on synths and loop pedals for the last 4 years, frequently playing solo live in pubs and cafes, and festivals, as well as writing, producing and collaborating. Her first 3 month regional tour for debut album ‘Umbra Anima’ and 2nd EP ‘alter ego’ was nearly completed when COVID struck Victoria, so she was fortunate to only have the last 3 scheduled gigs out of 25 cancelled in late March and April 2020.
Sleuth's original debut album 'Umbra Anima' (Jan 2019) was described as 'incredible, cinematic… vocal work that would make Beth Gibbons proud… 5-stars’. (Forte Music Magazine) EDM track Empty Room was the winner of RadioEasternFM's New Music competition winner Feb ‘19. She was 2019 Roar Award winner for Best New Creative Artist, and signed with distribution label Noisehive in May 2020.
Most recently Mel received an AIR award nomination for her electronica EP ‘alter ego’, and a nomination for a Music Victoria Award for Best Regional Artist 2020. Her song 'Hibernate' (Track #1 on upcoming album LUX) was a finalist in the World Songwriters Awards (Spring 2020), and winner of a Clouzine International Music Award for Best TripHop Song (Fall 2020). https://open.spotify.com/track/4CXgFbsEDFt5TLstyOidPd?si=RTH8f7bzSG-mdAoP9qeHGw
Releasing prolifically over 2019, including collab funk-fusion album ‘Fly By Design’, + singles with Adelaide wordsmith ‘Eskatology’, + EDM producer ‘Nos Rider’, Sleuth also features on Nyctophiliac’s (Macedonia) noirish trip-hop album ’Everyday Existence’, providing impeccable vocals on Sweet Oblivion + The Still.
Lockdown has not stopped Sleuth, who just keeps on writing with her next album, LUX, anticipated Jan 2021. Singles such as the moody ‘Hibernate’, Aussie hiphop collab ‘Breathe’, dark trance track ‘Abyss Of Your Heart’, electronica fem-pop ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ have already released, with over 82k streams collectively thus far. Remaining tracks 'Umbilicus', ‘Vinyl Scratch’ and ‘Underground' are still to be released.