THANKS Melanie Taylor for discussing her new single, Adderall, and its inspiration; what it was like filming the music video and whether there is more coming down the line – she recommends a rising artist that we need to get behind and watch closely.
I ask how which artists and albums have impacted her most and how she got into music; whether L.A. is important and influential regarding her writing; if there are gigs coming along and whether she has plans in place for 2019 – she ends the interview by selecting a '90s anthem.
Hi, Melanie. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been busy! I wear a lot of different hats and these days I’ve been changing them often and doing something all the time! I’m obviously an artist, but I also do shows for corporations’ parties and am starting my own record label! So, this week has been a lot about training our new interns. Plus, of course, my new music video’s release!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi. I’m Meanie Taylor; a Los Angeles based singer and songwriter. I would say I’m Indie-Pop with a soulful Rock edge a la the '90s because that’s what I grew up listening to. As a person, I guess I’m kind of a mix between the hippie stargazer, meditating with crystals and an urban city girl that likes to be surrounded by people.
Adderall is your new song. How did that song come to you? What inspired it?
It honestly came out of a really bad fight I was having at the time with someone close to me. I wrote the verses and the pre-chorus all in a span of like ten mins when I was just trying to process my emotions and was like crying the whole time through it; it was cathartic for me. And then, when I brought the song to my co-writer (‘R8DIO’), he was like, “What if we made this song like a metaphor to taking Adderall?” and I was like, “That’s kind of bold, but also kind of perfect” - and that is how we got the chorus. In a broader sense, though, I wanted to express that when you hold onto emotions and don’t deal with them, you can end up hurting the people closest to you.
The video is very striking! What was it like filming it? Who came up with the concept?
Thank you! I knew I wanted dancers to express the song, so I called a long-time friend and choreographer/artistic director, G Madison IV. He has worked with everyone and is on tour with Mariah Carey right now so needless to say he’s exceptionally talented. He took the idea of dance and just elevated it to this idea of me walking into an empty theatre where two dancers would be rehearsing and happen to be acting out the story of my life. He also really encouraged me to be as vulnerable visually as it is in the song, which I originally wasn’t going to do, but am really glad I went there.
During the filming, the theatre’s A.C. was actually broken and it was extremely hot that day, so it speaks even more to the level of professionalism every one on set, especially the poor dancers, brought to the table! We also got really lucky with the projections; it was kind of an afterthought of images I found online and cut together that ended up being such a cool and needed element to the video!
Do you think there will be more material next year?
I will continue releasing a few more singles I’ve got up my sleeve and then possibly an E.P.!
In terms of other artists; who do you count as influences?
My favourite artist of all-time will always be Michael Jackson. I don’t think anyone can touch him in terms of stage performance and career longevity. I was also a huge Alanis Morissette fan and I think you can hear a lot of her influence in my more recent music. I also just grew up idolizing the kinds of singers who could really belt - Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.
Can you recall when you got into music? How have your sounds changed since the early day?
I have always been singing; since before I could speak actually. I used to point at the radio and demand “lala”, which meant music to me, and then I would apparently sing incoherent lyrics with a big smile on my face. I was always doing choir and show-choir and then musical theatre growing up. Once I moved to L.A., I had shifted my focus a little more towards acting at the time but I answered a casting call that looked interesting where a production team was looking for artists to promote in Europe and would pay for a single as well as a music video.
My story turned out a lot different, but that production team ended up being the people who brought you Friday by Rebecca Black! So, needless to say, I didn’t stay with them but they did actually help me get my start after giving me a really great music video and a song to start reaching out to other producers with. It was just a process of meeting the right people after that. I definitely used to have a much more straight Pop sound and started to find the more Indie, Electro-Pop with a '90s influence I have now during the making of my second album.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I am working on the acoustic version of Adderall right now, which will be out really soon. That’s really where the song started, so I thought there should be a version of how it was originally written out there as well that is a little more true to the emotion of the concept.
Additionally, I’ll be doing a few more performances in the L.A. area before the end of the year and have a special Dance cut version of the video I’m waiting just a bit to release as well…but will definitely be out soon.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
I have a release plan for a few new singles that I’m excited to release! And I’m also really looking forward to getting back in the studio and just continuing to create.
How important is L.A. regarding your inspiration and vibe? Is it a great place to live?
It’s great for a lot of reasons. Obviously, the sunshine and the vast amount of talent and opportunity here is amazing. However, I’m not as attached to it as I used to be. I think, with the world of technology that we live in, I can kind be making music and promoting it from anywhere. I am extremely drawn to experiencing new cultures and places and that stimulus of travel is actually what inspires me most. So, that’s why I spent a month in Southeast Asia this past January and why it was so amazing to have the opportunity to tour in Australia this past summer!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I actually think this past summer’s tour has made it very high on my list. Not only because it was such a dream come true to be experiencing a country I had always wanted to go to, but because I overcame some blocks about performing I didn’t even know I had. For pretty much all of my shows I perform with a band and these shows in Australia required me to just have a D.J. or simply backing tracks, which means I’m on stage all alone - and the idea of that really scared me for some reason.
However, once I started getting into it, I found that it made me connect so much more to the audience than I ever had before and I actually felt freer and in control than any time I’ve performed with a band. I had some hilarious and amazing moments with the audiences in Australia I’ll never forget. Not to say I’m just going to ditch my band now, but it made me realize I was partly hiding behind them instead of doing all the things I did when they weren’t there.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette; HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I – Michael Jackson; Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
Jagged Little Pill because of the storytelling her raw emotion expressed - which was just so refreshing and like noting I had ever experienced before as a kid. It was freeing and made me feel empowered. Even now, I listen and just applaud them for their songwriting skills.
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, I think is probably one of the world’s top-three albums, so I don’t even need to explain the genius that is Michael Jackson and his greatest hits. But, for me, I listened to that album probably twice a day for three or four years as a little kid; dancing around my living room as if I was right there with him. It just shows what an incredible range he had from fun and sexy songs like The Way You Make Me Feel, to one of the most powerful songs ever written, Earth Song.
And, Amy! I also listened to that album twice a day for a very, very long time. Obviously; she had something that no-one will ever be able to re-create but I definitely took a lot of notes on her vocalization.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Bishop Briggs. I think she’s an incredible artist and has been a huge influence for me in my current music.
As for my rider; I don’t think I’d get too entitled until I really felt I earned it. Haha. But, I would definitely request there be like a dressing room with fresh veggies/hummus and tea…maybe some whiskey? (Smiles).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
To practice! Every day. I even have to remember to do this myself, but your voice is actually a muscle that needs to be strengthened like anything else. Cultivating stage presence, or even feeling comfortable on stage, doesn’t happen overnight; you need to work at it. Keep getting experience however and whenever you can.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I will be doing a show in L.A. on Nov 6th at State Social House to celebrate this music video release! For all other upcoming dates just check my website.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Well. Speaking of the artist I said I would want to open for (Bishop Briggs); the artist opening for her at the moment is named Donna Missal and is also an incredible talent I first heard about from a mutual producer we’ve both worked with. Her voice, songs; everything is awesome!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I have two corgis and they, and my boyfriend I guess, probably get the majority of my time when I’m not working on music! (Of course, they have an Instagram account because what kind of L.A. dog owner would I be if I didn’t give them one - and it’s @thunderboltcorgi if you want a daily dose of cuteness in your life!).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Awesoome! My special request is most definitely 4 Non Blondes - What’s Up? I recently covered it at a show and it was so much fun. I feel like everyone can relate to that song, especially in the crazy times we’re living in!