#6: Music and Magic with Melissa Axel

Ever need somebody to lean on?

Songwriter and recording artist Melissa Axel (photo by Lindsay McWilliams)

The freshly colored blue streak in Melissa’s hair had a seemingly magical spark in the afternoon sun on the Sunday we both met. I had no previous idea what Melissa looked like, I hadn’t Googled her or pre-vetted her on Facebook. Even if I had chosen to internet stalk her, the blue hair was new, a physical expression of her recent 180.

I had just written my piece about how to manage overwhelm which encourages others (*ahem* myself) to build teams around projects, because we (yeah, I) don’t have to do it all alone. With this, I reached out to close friends for support. It was one of my dear friends, Hannah, who prescribed that I meet Melissa, a bold woman who had a way with words—she is a songwriter after all! 

As Let’s Go 180 is my creative baby, I couldn’t invite just anyone into it. With any creative or relationship endeavor, the right fit is paramount.

It was with a heart full of hope and trust that I said yes, inviting Melissa to meet me at my home where we would lounge together discussing the rainbow of emotions that come with 180, drinking tea and eating fruit salad with homemade mango chile sauce.

Far from just anyone, Melissa is a prolific artist. She wrote her first song at eight years old. Her piano-driven musical style is likened to Nora Jones meeting Tori Amos. Most powerful for me was her connection to my message of 180. Through both her vision and her music, Melissa believes in resonance: “touch and be touched, move and be moved … through connection and empowerment.” Let’s Go 180 is about connecting with others, learning from others and empowering others on the path of creating change in their own lives; the kind of change that moves us toward purposeful pursuit, creativity and oneness with ourselves, our community and the world at large.

Of Let’s Go 180, Melissa shares, “The idea of changing up the status quo is nothing if not inherently liberating. It is fascinating to me that you can be headed full force in one direction and then stop in your tracks, turn around, and go right back where you began. From that crossroads, you can move forward again in any direction you choose. You can change career paths, move to a new place, pursue more rewarding relationships, the list of possibilities is endless.

“180s seem to be cropping up everywhere,” Melissa notes. A kind of zeitgeist is emerging as more and more people realize there is no such thing as the 'point of no return.' In the face of instability, people are choosing to follow their dreams—and they find a wealth of support and encouragement awaiting them when they do.”

Melissa is in the midst of a 180 in her career. For the past few years, she had an extraordinarily busy role working in the film & TV scoring business, and now she is diving back into songwriting and recording her own new material. It was clear by her smooth energy when we related to each other that first Sunday that Melissa is stepping toward her 180-bliss-state.

It feels amazing to focus on creating again and also take time to regroup as a human being, Melissa says. Leaving a super busy job can feel like stepping off of a moving platform: you have to adjust to walking on 'regular' ground again. It's a bit scary, too, with plenty of unknowns ahead, but it's incredibly exciting to reinvent my career as an artist.”

So Melissa believes that when deciding about an opportunity, go with entrepreneur Derek Sivers’s advice: “It's either HELL YEAH! or no.”

With nervous excitement, at our second meeting, I took the plunge. “Melissa,” I prepared, “Will you partner with me as a writer for Let’s Go 180?”

And what exuberance I felt when Melissa’s response was a HELL YEAH!

I am eager to see who Melissa will connect with as she supports me and YOU with uncovering the 180s among us. She’ll tell the stories in her own unique and beautiful way. You might look out for some lyrical 180s in the future!

Whatever juiciness is in store for us next, what I know for certain is that I am never alone. Not in my 180 and not in anything I create. When I put the message out for what I want and when I am specific, it shouldn’t be surprising when a blue streak of magic comes knocking on my front door.

Lookout for 180s authored by my blue streak buddy, Melissa Axel. And, if you’re musically-inclined, cool down to her debut album here:


Who are you going to lean on?