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Melina Lilios: Voice and Creative Coaching
Bringing out Each Person’s Unique, Creative Voice

By Sarah Hodges

“When you’re raw and authentic, something big speaks. I try to bring this out as a vocal coach. I ask my students and clients, who are YOU, why did you choose this song or expression?” says Melina Lilios, one of Hawai’i’s most beloved musical theater directors. “Music is a mind-body-spirit experience,” Melina declares. 

Melina works with Hawai’i’s greatest musical and theater talents. She’s served as the musical theater director for 40 years and counting for nearly every theater on the island, with over 40 productions under her belt. She’s conducted orchestras, worked with actors and directors from around the world, and has won the prestigious Po’okela Theater award six times. 

I’m so inspired listening to Melina talk about singing, art, and creativity. She started playing piano at age 6 and remembers sometimes being so touched by the music that her tears would well up. Playing authentically came naturally for her. However, when she began auditioning singers for shows on the island, they often lacked this authentic feeling. Actors and singers would try to put on the voice of a character instead of letting something true flow out of them. They had talent but needed guidance. Melina got to work.

As a performer, I especially appreciate hearing about Melina’s approach. She gets right to the heart of art, performance, and auditioning. “As artists, we are mediums for something much bigger to come through us,” says Melina. I wholeheartedly agree.  Melina continues, “One of my superpowers is my intuition, and knowing how to guide people through their blocks.” 
Melina often refers her students to a video of Dame Judi Dench performing “Send in the Clowns,” as an example of someone bringing their voice to life, from somewhere deep in the gut. “She’s almost talking some of the song,” expresses Melina. And yet so much feeling exudes from the performance. 

Melina’s music and life philosophy is, “Celebrate your voice, your story, that’s unique from anyone else’s.” Over the two decades of Melina’s work as a vocal coach and teacher, Melina has helped her students access their unique voices. In recent years Melina returns to her love of teaching by substitute teaching at Iolani and Punahou Schools. Her love of music and creative writing reignites in working with so many talented students. I can see that the results of her work fulfill and energize Melina, and bring accolades and recognition. 

Melina’s on a mission to bring people alive into their music, their art, and their lives. When she’s not teaching music, directing plays, serving as a master accompanist, or exercising her musical superpowers, she works with creativity and life coaching clients and provides small guided travel tours around the world in places such as Bhutan, Greece, and Thailand.

“My passion for cultivating meaningful, joyful, authentic experiences for people ties everything together,” says Melina. “I love curating and inspiring people to live their most authentic expression.”

You can learn more about Melina’s offering HERE, and maybe even try out a vocal or creative coaching session yourself!

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)