By Matt Ledger
Career aspirations frequently lead to relocation, and for singers and songwriters determined to leave their mark, Music City has long been that destination. Originally from Ulysses, Kansas, Melissa Ramski, 24, has lived in Nashville six years, while chasing her dream of being a country singer.
“At the age of only 3 or 4, she could memorize songs and just started singing along,” says Dave Ramski, her father. In those days, she would sing from the back of the car as her father drove the family on vacations. “I was probably in the fourth grade when I realized that singing and performing is what I really wanted to do,” Melissa recalls. A fellow Kansan, Martina McBride, was a major early influence for Ramski, among several chart-topping female performers.
A family on the move
“All she ever talked about was wanting to be a country music star,” Dave says. “We tried to help her along the best we could from the middle of nowhere.”
Ramski’s parents drove her to many talent shows and performances throughout the Plains states, and even gave her an acoustic guitar. “It just sat there for a year. Then one day (during her senior year of high school), I decided I was going to learn how to play it,” Melissa says. “I started Googling videos and looking up techniques on writing and eventually got pretty good at it.”
At age 18, Melissa’s family bought another home near Music City, helping to jump-start her career. Melissa’s mother, Nancy, has helped manage Melissa’s career throughout the years. Dave’s career at a telephone cooperative kept him in Kansas for a few more years, traveling cross-country numerous times for performances. That continued until 2013 when he moved to New Hope upon taking a position as an engineering manager at NHTC.
Ramski released a single, “Keep Dreamin’,” earlier this year. While it might sound like a tune about career ambitions, it’s actually a final sentiment to a prior boyfriend. “It’s one of those ‘See ya, I’m not coming back’ kind of songs,” she says, chuckling. “It’s my way of letting all my emotions out. Having people relate to your music is an amazing thing.”
Melissa’s sound is a blend of traditional influences and contemporary pop country from the radio, as evidenced by her most recent song “Lace and Diamonds.” She was nominated for several awards by country promoter Nashville Universe, which recognized Florida Georgia Line and Colt Ford the previous year. In June, Melissa performed at the CMA Fest, then at the Country FanJam festival. She will be touring later this year.
“She’s making a lot of progress and doing really well,” her father says. “I couldn’t be more proud of her.” He not only goes to most of his daughter’s performances, but he also tries to make most of the rehearsals. “We love going to her events, and it’s become our way of life.”