Getting To Know The Artist Known as Melissa Rebronja EMAR

Melissa Rebronja EMARMelissa Rebronja, also known as EMAR, is an extraordinary, multi-talented, multi-media artist who was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, grew up in Canada (in Toronto and Vancouver) and now resides in The City of Angels: Los Angeles. One of the most amazing things about beautiful Melissa is that she performs and records world music, singing in over 10 different languages, including Serbian, Hindi, Farsi, Persian and Arabic. Not only can she sing with the voice of an angel, but Melissa performed her debut stand-up comedy show in 2013 with DANTE at The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. She is currently the host of EMAR EVOLVE TALK on YouTube where she discusses Consciousness, Spirituality & Oneness among other topics and Music Dreams TV, in which she raises awareness about the current music industry. It is my genuine pleasure to interview Melissa Rebronja for this very special, end of the year, feature.

I’ve known you as Melissa Rebronja for a long time, however, you are also known as EMAR.  Why the re-branding? 

The first rebranding happened back in 2007 when I recorded my first EMAR EP. Since my first two albums were Adult Contemporary, and once I specifically started branching into World Music, I thought using a different name made sense. EMAR is really just an exotic way to write my initials M.R. In the last year I’ve actually started using both names as one: Melissa Rebronja EMAR.

You’ve been making music for over ten years. I can remember when your song “Beautiful” came out as well as your stunning cover of “Wonderwall” that became a download hit on CD Baby as I’ve been a fan since those days. What have you recorded since then? 

Since my debut album Embrace Yourself, which included radio singles “Wonderwall” & “Beautiful”, I’ve recorded two full albums and two EPs. In the last few years I have been collaborating with new producers on songs being licensed for Film and TV.  My voice and music made it in the soundtrack of ABC’s TV Series ‘Missing’ and Bollywood’s Salman Khan’s first North American feature ‘Dr. Cabbie’.

What musical achievements have been the most rewarding for you so far? 

I consider myself an Artist Raising Consciousness and Evoking Peace in all that I do.  So with that said, the most rewarding thing for me is evidence that my music is bringing people from different backgrounds together and evoking peace. I was deeply touched that my version of Church Slavonic Christian Orthodox Chant song “Tebje Pojem” was showcased to Catholic Priests of Society of St. Paul in Rome. What’s beautiful about that is the image of two different religions that have been at opposite sides in the Yugoslav wars coming together through respect and admiration for spiritual music.

Another example is when I first arrived in Singapore after a 24 hour flight a few years ago I noticed my cab driver had Hindu statues and symbols all around his car. I told him I sang in Hindi. He was stunned and didn’t believe me. I proceeded to sing to him my version of “Tumare Darshan” live in his car. He was almost in tears of joy. When we arrived to my destination he gave me a big hug, thanked me from the bottom of his heart and told me that if I lived in Singapore I would be a star. That was one of the most beautiful and touching welcomes I received yet.  

Do you have plans to record a new album and if so, what will it focus on and when can we expect it?   

Yes. I have brand new songs, covers and re-mixes.  It will be a culmination of Melissa Rebronja & EMAR in one.  It will be songs that have touched my heart and call for healing of our soul’s wounds. I plan to sing and record in English, Serbian, and Croatian. 

Because it is relevant to your own creative projects, would you share a little about your spiritual beliefs? 

I believe in our Oneness.  I would call my religion Love. I embrace all religions, all cultures and all people as one. I have respect for all no matter what their spiritual beliefs are or lack thereof. Like I’ve stated on the home page of my website, “It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, agnostic, religious, spiritual, whatever. If you are a kind human, have love in your heart, are open-minded and do your best not to judge but extend love, kindness and acceptance to every human on Earth – You are living in Oneness and we need you.” 

Can you tell us first about some of the guests you’ve hosted on EMAR EVOLVE TALK and share some highlights from those interviews in terms of what you learned? 

I started EMAR EVOVLE TALK as a passion project and it’s also a wonderful way to have my music in front of a wider audience. I talk to guest on topics of Consciousness, Spirituality and Oneness. My notable guests have been Spiritual Author Jeff Brown, Consciousness Author Graham R. White and Founder of UK pop-band Londonbeat, Will Henshall. What I learned is that we have some amazing people on Earth right now who are shifting our consciousness, expanding our minds and healing our hearts. This makes me feel very hopeful about Earth and its inhabitants.

Out of everyone you have interviewed so far, who left you with the most spiritually profound impression and why?  

I love all my interviews. Jeff Brown has left a profound impression because he has some very interesting, non-mainstream views on topics such as Forgiveness, which I find very intriguing and am still absorbing. I am hoping to have him back on the show again.

Can you tell us about Music Dreams TV and how you got involved with it? 

Music Dreams TV is another passion project of mine. I started the first episodes in Canada in 2009 and just restarted it recently in LA. It’s how I give back to the Independent Music community. Being an independent musician can feel daunting and lonely. I’ve been lucky to have the guidance of some amazing people along the way, including mentors in the Industry such as Derek Sivers, Tess Taylor, and Dave Kusek.  My wish is to share with others all that I learn and am learning to enlighten the Music Industry as a whole. 

Where can we tune in to these shows online? 

EMAR EVOLVE TALK is at youtube.com/mrebronja

MusicDreamsTV is at youtube.com/MusicDreamsTV 

I understand that you were nominated for “Best Social Media Artist of the Year” by LA Music Awards in 2014. Congratulations! What was the nomination based on? 

Thank you so much. It’s exciting. The “Best Social Media Artist” Award is based on my overall online social media presence and personal website. 

Tell us about your experience at the Awards ceremony Melissa Rebronja and Linda Blair

Being at the LA Music Awards Ceremony was super fun. I got to experience being on the red-carpet for the first time in my life. I realized there is a whole art to it, and I think I did pretty well for my first time.  I also got to meet some amazing people in the entertainment industry such as actress Linda Blair. Most of all it is nice to be acknowledged as an independent artist. We could use more of that. 

Do you enjoy living in Los Angeles? What’s the best thing about being there? 

Los Angeles is a great city. I definitely enjoy being here. Beside the obvious weather advantage it really is the entertainment capital of the world. I have met and worked with some amazing people from all around the world while in LA, people that I probably wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Mostly I like being on the West Coast as my soul resonates with it the most. I spent five years of my life in Vancouver, BC and that’s where I first fell in love with the West Coast.  

Melissa Rebronja EMARDo you have any acting aspirations? 

I did at one point in my life. I am not so sure anymore. When I see how passionate and committed some actors are, I must admit I am not. For me music has always been my obvious choice.  

Are you venturing into comedy now? 

I did take a class and had my debut performance last year, which was absolutely terrifying for me. I faced a big fear that day. I highly recommend it to people.  I have not been back on a comedy stage since then. I would like to be. 

Do you use music in your comedy routine? 

I haven’t yet but would love to have a portal to combine all the crazy characters that live within me with my musical abilities. That sounds like one fun challenge to face. Stay tuned.  😉 

Are you going to make any New Year’s Resolutions? If so, would you be willing to share any of them with us?  

Surrender completely to the power that created me. 

What would you most like to achieve in 2015? 

Be Love in moments when it’s especially hard to.

Thank you so much for talking to me Melissa! It’s obvious that you have a lot of passion for not only your music career but also for humanity in general. Oneness and Love is a movement that I can certainly get behind and I’m truly inspired by your goals. Los Angeles is really lucky to have you as a part of its entertainment community.

The Impeccable Lover by Amorah Quan Yin

Le Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee

Le Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee

This morning, I received this exquisite and mind-blowing poem from my Facebook friend, Jeff Brown, who is the author of Soulshaping: A Journey of Self Creation, a book that every man should read.

When I read this poem, I wept. I can’t believe that it sums up everything I think and feel about the man I’ve been looking for my whole life.

The Impeccable Lover

Oh, Gentle man, what do you see
when you look out at me with eyes
of desire and longing?
Eyes that reach out and surround me
with your heat and passion:
passion of wanting.
Eyes that say, “I must have you.”
Eyes that plead, or eyes that lust.
Eyes that say, “I’ve been lonely so long.”

Oh Gentle Man, do not look to me
with these eyes.
Go to the looking glass with these eyes.
Relief awaits you there.
And when you see the conqueror,
the knight, the hungry man,
tell that one to lay down his sword,
surrender his armor and shield:
Tell him the war is done.
Then put your arm around his shoulder
and look him in the eyes.
And when his sword, his armor, his shield
are locked and put away,
and he has cried and called you, “Brother,”
then, Gentle Man, may you come to me
with your soul’s light shining through
from behind your eyes,
able to see the Light and Essence that I am.
Then I will look back when I see
the love and respect in your eyes.
But when I see desperation and lust,
or the need to conquer and own,
I promise you this:
I shall look away.

Oh, Gentle Man, how would you give your gifts to me?
Excitedly, like a child
who picks a flower for his Mother
then runs inside to receive the praise?
Would you give to me to show
how thoughtful and kind you are?
How generous you can be?
To impress me with your charm?
To win my love and reward?
Would you give what you think I want
with the hope for pardon and mercy,
that you be deemed worthy
of all my attention and love?

Oh, Gentle Man, please take your gifts
to your magical child,
who awaits, so lonely and afraid,
in your garden.
For he is in need
of your caring and presence.
Take this child to your breast.
Cradle him.
Stroke him.
Shower him.
And be sincere.
Alas, when he sleeps in your arms,
lay him down softly
and climb the stairs to my room.
and if you see the Light of my soul
and the Beauty that I Am
and wish to honor me with a flower,
a poem, a sweet word, or a kiss,
then give to me with sincerity,
without the need for flourish,
without expectation
or the hope of reward,
but with the quiet dignity
with which you sniff the aroma
of a sweet-scented flower,
or watch in peaceful awe
the setting of the Sun.

Oh, Gentle Man. please burden me not
with the weight of your esteem,
or with the power to give or destroy
your joy, your heart, your image, and worth.
For this responsibility
is far too great for me.
Go find your peace and happiness,
your self-esteem and love.
Find them with God and Goddess;
Find them in flowers, and trees,
in the wind and the setting sun.
Then bring them with you for sharing.
Do not make me your reason
for living or dying-
my approval, the source of your power;
my touch, your salvation;
my eyes, your self-knowing-
for I would grow to despise you,
and you resent and loathe me.
This power that you would give me
I truly do not want.
At best, it could only serve
to soothe the doubts I hold,
and make me feel important to you,
and needed and worthy-
filled with a false sense of purpose-
but fleetingly.
And you would imprison me
away from my own sense of Essence,
and from the truth of my soul,
and from the Goddess that I Am,
and from my true power and Light.
You would cripple me, surely-
admiring me with your eyes that hide
your loneliness and need;
your gifts that beg for approval;
your words of praise that hide
your desperation.

Oh, Gentle Man, until the child sleeps
and is peaceful in your garden,
and the knight has lain down
his sword, his armor, his shield,
then, only then, approach my stairs.
and only then will I meet you
halfway.
When your soul is present and shining
brightly through eyes of love,
then you will see my eyes shining
and looking back at you.
When you give from your heart
and your words are not boasting,
when you know who you are without me,
then I will be free to receive you,
and to give to you fully my love.
For then, we will know that neither
of us can be destroyed.
The surrender that only can come
to two who have first
surrendered to self-
to their own inner Beauty,
and wisdom, and Essence Divine-
will be ours.
Then side by side, in blended Light,
our twin stars will shine
once again.

Amorah Quan Yin

If You Want To Change The World…Love A Woman

Poet, Teacher and Storyteller, Lisa Citore

I have been having a very difficult week, filled with pain and frustration after suffering a major back spasm that resulted in a brief hospitalization last Wednesday night.

This morning I opened the most beautiful email from my Facebook friend, author of the brilliant Soulshaping: A Journey of Self-Creation, Jeff Brown. Jeff leads a group called International Year of the Woman and he sent this poem to its members yesterday. This poem: If You Want To Change The World…Love A Woman has given me a much needed burst of love and light and I thank Jeff for sharing it.

“A poem that is well worth sharing… I am sure that when man lays down his arms and honors the divine feminine- both within himself and in another- our Soulshaping journeys will enhearten and this planet will soar…” ~ Jeff Brown

IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD…LOVE A WOMAN

If you want to change the world… love a woman-really love her.
Find the one who calls to your soul, who doesn’t make sense.
Throw away your check list and put your ear to her heart and listen.
Hear the names, the prayers, the songs of every living thing-
every winged one, every furry and scaled one,
every underground and underwater one, every green and flowering one,
every not yet born and dying one…
Hear their melancholy praises back to the One who gave them life.
If you haven’t heard your own name yet, you haven’t listened long enough.
If your eyes aren’t filled with tears, if you aren’t bowing at her feet,
you haven’t ever grieved having almost lost her.

If you want to change the world… love a woman-one woman
beyond yourself, beyond desire and reason,
beyond your male preferences for youth, beauty and variety
and all your superficial concepts of freedom.
We have given ourselves so many choices
we have forgotten that true liberation
comes from standing in the middle of the soul’s fire
and burning through our resistance to Love.
There is only one Goddess.
Look into Her eyes and see-really see
if she is the one to bring the axe to your head.
If not, walk away. Right now.
Don’t waste time “trying.”
Know that your decision has nothing to do with her
because ultimately it’s not with who,
but when we choose to surrender.

If you want to change the world… love a woman.
Love her for life-beyond your fear of death,
beyond your fear of being manipulated
by the Mother inside your head.
Don’t tell her you’re willing to die for her.
Say you’re willing to LIVE with her,
plant trees with her and watch them grow.
Be her hero by telling her how beautiful she is in her vulnerable majesty,
by helping her to remember every day that she IS Goddess
through your adoration and devotion.

If you want to change the world… love a woman
in all her faces, through all her seasons
and she will heal you of your schizophrenia-
your double-mindedness and half-heartedness
which keeps your Spirit and body separate-
which keeps you alone and always looking outside your Self
for something to make your life worth living.
There will always be another woman.
Soon the new shiny one will become the old dull one
and you’ll grow restless again, trading in women like cars,
trading in the Goddess for the latest object of your desire.
Man doesn’t need any more choices.
What man needs is Woman, the Way of the Feminine,
of Patience and Compassion, non-seeking, non-doing,
of breathing in one place and sinking deep intertwining roots
strong enough to hold the Earth together
while she shakes off the cement and steel from her skin.

If you want to change the world… love a woman, just one woman .
Love and protect her as if she is the last holy vessel.
Love her through her fear of abandonment
which she has been holding for all of humanity.
No, the wound is not hers to heal alone.
No, she is not weak in her codependence.

If you want to change the world… love a woman
all the way through
until she believes you,
until her instincts, her visions, her voice, her art, her passion,
her wildness have returned to her-
until she is a force of love more powerful
than all the political media demons who seek to devalue and destroy her.

If you want to change the world,
lay down your causes, your guns and protest signs.
Lay down your inner war, your righteous anger
and love a woman…
beyond all of your striving for greatness,
beyond your tenacious quest for enlightenment.
The holy grail stands before you
if you would only take her in your arms
and let go of searching for something beyond this intimacy.

What if peace is a dream which can only be re-membered
through the heart of Woman?
What if a man’s love for Woman, the Way of the Feminine
is the key to opening Her heart?

If you want to change the world…love a woman
to the depths of your shadow,
to the highest reaches of your Being,
back to the Garden where you first met her,
to the gateway of the rainbow realm
where you walk through together as Light as One,
to the point of no return,
to the ends and the beginning of a new Earth.

Lisa Citore