Melissa Sandoval: From Mortuary Science to Live Music

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Though Selena was an idol that definitely drove Sandoval to the mic, the Glee Club at her elementary school was actually what initially captured her attention. She attended a music-focused high school in Manhattan where she was trained vocally and offered opportunities in musical theater. This is where her star started to shine brightly. But by the time college came around, Sandoval decided to take a "safer" route and study mortuary science, thinking she could always pursue music on the side.

When her family moved to South Florida to open a Cuban Restaurant in Sunrise, Sandoval became a funeral director, but it wasn't long before she grew tired of the industry and music kept calling her to the stage.

"It's actually one of my biggest regrets that I didn't stay in New York and pursue music more seriously," she admits. "Now that I'm older and I have a bit more level head, I can say, 'Hey this is what I want to do, and I don't care about anything else.'"

Sandoval has sung with Dominican bands, Top 40 acts, and more recently, her boyfriend Matt Stacy's band, Kocosante. Then about two years ago, Stacy and Sandoval decided to start writing and producing music together. After creating 15 original songs and recording, they were ready to take their sound to the streets.

"I try to put my experiences into my music, and hopefully somebody finds empowerment in them and they lift themselves up too," she says, "because life is hard, it's difficult. I get over the hard times by writing; that's my release. So if somebody hears a song that they can relate to, and that's their release, then I've accomplished my goal. What I really want is to connect with people through my music."

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Michelle de Carion