“If someone had told 16-year-old me, ‘You’re going to be singing “Read My Lips” when you’re 41,’ I would’ve laughed in their face,” Melissa Tkautz says.
2015 marks the unstoppable Australian singer and actress’ 25th year in entertainment, after her meteoric rise to fame as Nikki Spencer on local soapie E Street in the early 1990s.
It was through the show she made her debut as a teenage pop singer with her immortal single “Read My Lips” and its follow-up, the camp classic “Sexy (Is The Word)”.
Melissa also kept acting on and off throughout the last two decades, most recently in the SBS comedies Swift & Shift Couriers and Housos.
Looking back, Melissa says she considers herself so fortunate to have had a steady career as an entertainer in such a tough industry.
“It may not have always been right in front of people’s faces but it has been consistent,” she explains.
“Even when I wasn’t on the highest-rating TV show, I was still presenting or I was still doing something.
“I was so passionate about doing what I was doing and I was so fortunate that I was able to make a career out of performing when there are people who don’t get that opportunity.”
Now a mum to her two children, Ayla and baby Cuba, Melissa took the last couple of years off but now she’s excited to release new music: “Gotta Let You Go” is a slice of bigroom electro produced by local talent Digital Damage and remixed by Gold Coast DJ Queen Victoria.
“It was just so much fun being back in the studio again,” Melissa said.
“I love it so much. We’re looking for the next single! What’s great about it is that I’m starting to juggle my career and kids again now.”
In 2012, Melissa thrilled her gay fanbase with the release of her extensive greatest hits compilation.
“My gorgeous fans are so loyal and I’m still able to perform to this day because of them, no question about that,” she said.
“They’re just so supportive. Even after I stepped out of the limelight for a couple of years, to still stick by me through all this time is just absolutely amazing. I’m just so fortunate.”
Melissa has also signed on to become the newest horror scream queen in the upcoming local film Boar, a horror creature feature in the spirit of the Australian cult classic Razorback.
She’ll play Sasha, the on-screen daughter of Wolf Creek star John Jarratt, when the film begins production later this year.
“I can’t even describe to you how excited I am about this movie. I haven’t acted for a while and I really miss it,” Melissa said.
Gotta Let You Go is out now.