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My name is 
MELISSA MARS
Mars, like the planet I may come from

Who?

(Below my 3rd-person bio...)

Powerful, Heartfelt, Thought-provoking, Disturbing...

International award-winning actress, singer-songwriter, writer and filmmaker, based in NY, Mars was born and raised in France, with roots in Algeria.

Described as “Tinker Bell transformed by Tim Burton” (Le Monde), she is well-known in France for her pop music career, three solo albums with Universal Music, the duet song “1980” (#5 in the charts), her leading role in the smash hit musical Mozart the Rock Opera directed by Olivier Dahan (Oscar-winning film La Vie en Rose)…

 

She received major notice after appearing alongside John Travolta in From Paris With Love produced by Luc Besson (Lucy), winning a best supporting actress award in The Cabining, multiple best actress awards for her “heartfelt, spectacular and vulnerable” performance in the drama Polly and having her song “Beautiful” picked up by Coca-Cola Music for their "52 Songs of Happiness" worldwide music compilation.

 

Mars’ work has been praised in the international press (Elle, Madame Figaro, W magazine, Le Monde... to name a few), as well as by her peers, receiving multiple awards as an actor, a screenwriter and a filmmaker, including for her latest dystopia The Last Touch.. 

A singer by accident...

 

Mars started acting at the age of 13. It wasn’t until a few years later that she became a singer by accident. After a disappointing meeting with a renowned French filmmaker (who had launched the career of Juliette Binoche among others) led Mars to an encounter with a renowned French songwriter and music producer (who had launched the careers of Patricia Kaas and numerous French pop stars), Mars was requested to record demo songs and soon after signed with the record label EMI. After a few months struggling to accept life’s calling, Mars came up with the idea of Papa m’aime pas (tr. Daddy doesn’t love me), which would become her first single. She then released 3 solo albums with Polydor-Universal Music, she toured, and made her mark in the musical landscape, praised and described in the press as “singular”, “fairy” and “rock n’fun”. She was featured on many duets with stars such as Lara Fabian, Louis Bertignac and Pascal Obispo. 

She brought to life the leading lady, Mozart’s first love Aloysia, in the smash hit musical Mozart the Rock Opera in front of more than 1,500,000 spectators and, along with the other lead cast, received an NRJ Music Award for Best Ensemble and a Diamond Record. 

1,500,000 spectators, NRJ Music Award

& a Diamond Record...

 

When Mars is not on set or in the studio, she dedicates her time to her other passions: photography, graphic design, filmmaking and screenwriting. 

At the age of 13 she started writing and filming anything and everything that caught her eye and sparked her imagination. In 2007 she made her official directorial debut with her music video Love Machine which was produced by Universal Music, and then her first short film, Le Petit Chaperon Noir, and the animation Army of Love, she wrote and co-directed.

Mars has also held a photography exhibition in Paris called Children of China, to promote children’s rights, that was praised in both Elle Magazine and Metro Daily. 

 

Settled in New York, Mars travels between the US and France, balancing her worlds of music and film. 

She is currently writing a pilot for her latest award-winning short dystopian film, The Last Touch, as well as preparing to direct her award-winning screenplay, My Ancestors’ Song

2023 will see Mars embark on a reunion tour in France with her cast mates of Mozart the Rock Opera, along with some familiar faces of other hit musicals, for a new show, Les Retrouvailles (Tr. The Reunion). 

To be continued...

Actor, singer, songwriter, screenwriter, writer, photographer, graphic designer, filmmaker… so many -ers. The order in which I do them never really matters, they’re all equally important parts of my being that could be summed up in one -er: STORYTELLER.

 

Now, the big question I’m often asked is “WHY?” Why do you act? Why do you write? Why do you sing? 

Asking me why I do these things is like asking me why I breathe. We just breathe. No questions asked. We can’t survive without breathing. I have to act, I have to sing, to write, to make movies and tell stories to survive, to be. I can’t live otherwise. Storytelling is the air to my lungs, the beat of my heart. It’s me just existing.

If I stopped? --------------------------------- flat line

I am a storyteller because that is the only way I can exist.

 

I am a storyteller because that is the only way I can exist. To say that I was born to be an artist might sound pretentious, but I don’t know another way to describe how I feel about it. I was raised by a single mother and had an absent father who I only met when I was 9 and who vanished from my life for the second and final time when I was 18  (I think he likes multiples of 9s haha). 

The sense of abandonment left me with an effed up psyche, but it also left me with a CHOICE. I could let myself go downhill, could drown in my pain and dwell on my scars OR… I could turn my experiences into characters, songs, stories and screenplays and use my pain as a well of inspiration. And that’s how my first single, “Papa M’aime Pas” (Translation: Daddy doesn’t love me) was born! 

Every time I create, I WIN.

 

Using my experiences, both the good and the bad, to create stories and art is how I accomplished all of the beautiful and wonderful things listed in my bio above. I hope that in sharing my experiences I can inspire others like me, people who feel unworthy or like they are not enough, people who have been programmed by absences in their lives to feel unlovable  (whether the absence of a parent, of safety, of acceptance, etc), to find a way to fight through negative thought patterns and turn the bad into something good. 

I may fail sometimes, but every time I rise and go to my computer, pick up my colored pens, my camera, my mic or my sides, every time I act, sing or write, every time I turn my reality into a form of art, every single time I create, I WIN. I breathe. I continue to exist. That is my why. 

Why?

I invite you to click on the pictures below to explore...

What I Do

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