Goa girl's song 'Rise Up Calgary' inspires Canadians to vote

'Rise Up Calgary', a song written, composed and sung by Melissa D'Souza, has been held as one of the reason for the people from Calgary to come out and vote for the 2010 Calgary Municipal Elections, according to a local website.

"The last elections recorded a 33 per cent voter turnout which was lower than previous elections. The turnout this year was 53 per cent as compared to 32.9 per cent in the 2007 General Election," reads a website hosted by people of Goan origin in Canada.

"I was thrilled when Calgaria Mayor Naheed Nenshi invited me to perform the song during her oath-taking ceremony," Melissa told PTI over phone from Canada.

The song was produced by Melissa's husband, Earl Fernandes, a music producer with an extensive career in the Bollywood industry.

Melissa said that she thought of composing a song and trying to pep up the voters after she heard statistics about lower voter turnout.

"I found that number quite low and thought what can I do to inspire people to get out and vote?" That's when I started working on Rise Up Calgary. The song was written to inspire and motivate Calgarians to take a stand for what they believe in and vote," the singer, in her mid-twenties, said.

This year's Calgary election not only proved to be the biggest turnout but also had a Muslim Mayor elected.

Melissa, who traces her roots to Goa, says that the song's spirit is of course not just for Calgarians, but for people all over the world.

"We all have the power to create change. We just need to rise up to our potential," she said adding that the song features Mahatma Gandhi's message, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Originally from south Goa, Melissa was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario in Canada.
"I play piano and sing. I began songwriting in high school. I grew up around music. My father is a musician, and has had a few bands. I grew up around some really talented musicians. I credit my love of music to them all," she said.

Melissa's family moved to Calgary six years ago. She got married to Earl Fernandes, a very talented music producer, who has even worked with Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam.
The singer is proud to be of Indian origin.

"I am very proud to be from Goa. Growing up in Canada, I had to look for ways to connect with my culture. My father being a musician, taught me from a young age how to play Konkani songs," she said adding, "Our traditional music is what gave me a taste of what Goan culture was all about."

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