Melissa Sandoval: From Mortuary Science to Live Music

About two years ago, singer/songwriter Melissa Sandoval was on the brink of a record deal in New Jersey when the offer went sour due to circumstances out of her control. But what seemed like a big disappointment at the time actually became the spark she needed to produce her own album, Memory in the Sand, in Delray Beach.

She's been performing her own originally produced music in South Florida for the past few months and has big plans on the horizon. But this Delray diva actually started out her career 19 years ago in New York City. The songstress comes from a close-knit El Salvadoran family, and her parents were her biggest supporters.

Her diva-strength voice echoed through nightclubs before she even got to middle school.

"The person that inspired me the most to just get up there and sing was Selena," Sandoval says. "As a little girl, I loved her, and I wanted to be just like her. When I was performing at 10 in bars and clubs, I used to dress up like her. That was a big part of the reason I decided to start singing."

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Michelle de Carion