Rockville Centre native Ellis Melillo always pictured herself performing in front of a crowd of thousands, and next month her dreams will come true when she returns to Long Island to open for country music superstar Zac Brown at the Jones Beach Amphitheater on September 16 and 17.
“It was something I always wanted to do,” Melillo said. “I’m most excited that I am getting to live out something I dreamed of my entire life.”
Melillo said she first started singing when she was 5, and would start writing songs and playing guitar by the time she was 11.
She was involved in the music program at South Side High School as a teen and was picked to be the song coordinator for her team during the school’s annual Red and Blue competition.
Melillo attended the University of Delaware where she would work on honing her vocal talent.
She would later join an acting conservatory in New York City, while she continued to perform her music at several local bars and clubs including Kasey’s in Rockville Centre, and a number of other small venues in the Hamptons and Manhattan.
Melillo said she started working on recording her music in 2020, when she decided to message Zac Brown with a demo of some of her songs.
“I never thought he would answer,” Melillo said. “So I drove down to his house and we wrote some songs together.”
She then decided to pick up and move out to Nashville in April of 2021 and has been working with Zac Brown and many of the artists he has been working with ever since.
“I love it here,” Melillo said about living in Nashville. “It’s amazing. I get to write songs everyday for other artists and for myself.”
She said that Zac Brown has been as supportive of her musical career as possible and that she is excited to be performing two shows with him at Jones Beach following the release of her debut EP on September 15.
“I’m excited,” she said. “My whole life it feels like I’ve been manifesting the same vision.”
Melillo said that when she was five, she begged father to take her to a singing lesson, but during the class she was too scared and ended up not performing. She said he then took her to her first concert — Brittney Spears at Jones Beach.
“I swore I would never be afraid to sing again,” she said.
Now, after years of honing her talent, Melillo will finally get to live out her ambitions by gracing the big stage at Jones Beach in front of thousands of fans.
“Getting to sing on that stage is a dream come true,” she said.
Melillo describes her music as lyrically driven blend of pop-rock. Some of her many influences include such strong rock vocalists as Alanis Morrisette, Jewel, and Sheryl Crow, along with some modern pop artists like Dua Lipa and Lana Del Rey.
Her first single, “Penny Lane” was released on all streaming music platforms on July 21 along with a music video directed by Shea Jones.
Melillo said her next single, “Cry Wolf,” is going to be released next Friday along with another music video.
“The rest of the songs will waterfall out,” she said.
Her debut EP, which is produced by Zac Brown and features performances by Parson James and Matt Mangano, will be released on Friday, September 15.
Ellis Melillo will hit the stage at 6:20 p.m. to perform as the opening act for the Zac Brown Band during their two-night run at Jones Beach in Wantagh on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17.