Mel Carter, the man responsible for giving the song “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” a place in pop history, began his career in Cincinnati at the age of four when his grandmother held him up to the microphone in a penny arcade recording booth. As it turned out, it was 25 cents well-spent; the unpolished performance had an unmistakable element of raw talent etched into those crude grooves. From that point on, music proved to be Mel’s destiny, as his career produced one hit single after another. Even to this day, Mel’s version of “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” has lost only 2% of it’s playing ability since it’s release 30 years ago and you can still hear this timeless classic played on the radio at least once a day somewhere around the world.
The now legendary Quincy Jones first discovered Mel and signed him to record his debut pop session on Mercury Records, which expertly showcased Mel’s passionate vocals and immediately began turning heads in the recording industry. But it was not until Sam Cooke signed Mel to Derby Records that he had his first hit single, “When A Boy Falls In Love,” which climbed the charts in England as well as in the United States and reached the number one position on the West Coast. A string of other hit songs including of course, “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” soon followed, which led to an offer to tour with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. Mel shared the bill with other up and coming performers of the day, including Sonny and Cher, Tom Jones and other popular English and American recording artists.
As further proof of his immense versatility, Mel also enjoyed success as a stage performer. A highlight in his career was playing Sportin’ Life in a concert of “Porgy and Bess” accompanied by the late perfectionist (and seven-time Academy Award winner) John Green, who conducted the San Diego Symphony Orchestra with an 80-voice choir. Mel received four standing ovations for his performance.
Continually expanding his horizons, Mel co-produced his 1985 album, “Willing,” which won him a Grammy nomination for “Best Male Gospel Performance. That same year brought him brilliant reviews and awards including “L.A. Weekly’s” La Wee and an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Performance in a Musical as a result of his starring role in “Glitter Palace.”
Mel continued to nourish his love for appearing before a live audience, starting the 90’s off with a series of successful tours. Standing room only engagements at Trump Castle, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Taj Mahal and Merv Griffin’s Resort Casino Hotel in Atlantic City as well as a tour-de-force performance in “Fly Blackbird Revisited” proved that Mel’s appeal was both timeless and universal. In addition to his singing career, Mel Carter is also known and respected as an accomplished actor, with a long list of film and television credits.
Mel Carter has established himself as a modern day renaissance man who has proven that real and genuine talent will always find an audience, regardless of the current trends, radio formats or fashions. Throughout the course of his career, Mel has re-defined the term “multi talented” and truly established himself as a legend in pop music.