photo by russ harrington
b. Melinda Marie Doolittle, 6th October 1977, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
Melinda Doolittle was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Steve and Marguerite Duke Doolittle.
She considers Brentwood, Tennessee, to be home, with her Homecoming held there after she reached the Top 3 finalists on American Idol Season 6.
Melinda graduated from Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1995.
Although she has been singing since the seventh grade, her professional career did not really get underway until 1999.
In her early years, Melinda studied music at Belmont University in Nashville.
She admits she was tone deaf up until 7th grade.
After leaving college, her vocal instruction was provided by Janet Kenyon.
Her debut album, 'Coming Back to You', was released on Hi Fi Recordings in 2009.
Working with the imprint’s founder, John Hecker, Melinda recorded 9 songs in the first 5 days of recording.
These included two Robert Johnson classics, 'Dust My Broom' and 'Walkin’ Blues', a pair of Sammy Cahn penned ballads, the Doris Day 1956 hit, 'I’ll Never Stop Loving You,' and the songwriter’s 1961 Sarah Vaughn hit, 'Wonder Why'.
Also included on the album is a remake of the Johnny Mathis song, 'The Best of Everything'.
Melinda is also involved in many charitable works, including raising money and awareness for an organization called Malaria No More, and has traveled to Africa with First Lady Laura Bush, and is involved in The Boys & Girls Club of America and a community driven children’s organization called The League.
The latter organization empowers students to organize projects directly in their own communities, highlighting the many ways they can positively affect their own neighbourhoods.
As a participant in American Idol, she originally attended the sessions with 3 other friends.
She didn't originally want to attend stating, '16,000 people showed up. I thought it was hopeless. We got there at 4:45 in the morning and didn’t audition until 12 hours later.'
Later Melinda and her 3 friends sang together. Only she was chosen.
She said 'I still to this day have no idea how that happened. I’m just very grateful.'
Prior to her appearance on American Idol, Melinda worked as a professional back-up singer for, among others, Michael McDonald, Kirk Franklin, Aaron Neville, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Alabama, Jonny Lang, Vanessa Bell Armstrong, and the gospel ensemble, Anointed.
photo by russ harrington
Coming Back To You (Hi Fi Recordings 2009)