All Access Music:An interview with the LA-based singer-songwriter, MELANIE TAYLOR!
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
Absolutely thanks for having me! In my living room, yes when I’m concentrating I love putting on the “Mellow Beats” playlist on Spotify. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics, as a singer I just get way too distracted and always find myself singing along instead of working!
Now that we are on the back end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
It’s crazy it’s almost over! You’re actually reminding me to do my annual yearly accomplishments list! I think it’s super easy to see another year go by and not celebrate all the work you did do! I had really wanted to go on tour and travel more this year and am happy to say yes! That got fulfilled this past summer with a few shows I had the opportunity to perform in Australia, as well as a bunch of trips I took, one being to Southeast Asia in January.
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Music was like another family member to me growing up. I am an only child that grew up with a single working mother, so there were many times I just had to entertain myself. Most of the time that meant watching endless Michael Jackson videos on repeat, or making up dances in my living room to whatever single was out at the time.
I actually decided to go into acting professionally before music, but it was primarily musical theater things I would get booked for. I realized after being in LA for about a month, I couldn’t do acting without music being somehow involved as well, like that would always have to be there for me to feel really fulfilled. And then I was like, well then why wouldn’t I just make this my main priority, the entertainment industry is hard no matter what! And I haven’t looked back, although I do still enjoy doing acting jobs when I have the opportunity.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise probably happened this past year when I was in Southeast Asia, and the driver we were using completely randomly, started playing one of my songs in the car and had no idea it was me. That just made me realize that there really are no boundaries to where our reach can go, and inspired me more than anything else to trust in the process because I am growing even if I can’t always see it. The challenge is of course just sticking out amongst the vast sea of music that we now have access to, and not getting lost or discontent in the process.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
I would say my music is definitely more influenced by where I live today in Los Angles vs. where I’m originally from in San Diego. I have been so inspired by acts I’ve seen here in LA, from the electro styles, to rock, to R&B, my music has much more grit in it now than the wavy vibes of San Diego.
With all the incredible musicians here in LA, how do you try to stand out from them all?
haha exactly. No but seriously I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I think it’s pointless to try and compete with everyone. Artists in this city need to support each other. If you can open for me and bring people to a show that wouldn’t have otherwise heard of me that’s awesome, just like I can help you with my fans. LA is such a city where there’s not much of a live music scene for the sake of seeing live music. There are so many performers that people will just show up for their friend’s show and then leave as soon as it’s over, so that’s why I think to really grow, you have to make friends not enemies.
Let’s talk about your latest single “Adderall.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it shows the growth that you have undergone as an artist over the years?
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 10 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. This is definitely the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my music and to me that is huge growth.
What was it like making the music video for this song? How creatively involved were you with the process?
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 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!
When do you hope to release more new music and a full album of new songs?
I plan on continuing to release a few more singles I’ve got up my sleeve first, and actually am about to release the acoustic version of “Adderall” as well, which will be out November 29th. 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. And then yes, the plan is at least an EP in 2019.
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?
I mean for me, music is more a way through my reality than an escape from it – and that’s what I’d hope my songs can do for others as well. If it’s a vulnerable piece of mine like “Adderall,” I want people to know they aren’t alone, and to feel empowered from the lyrics. And if it’s a feel good fun song, I would hope that listening can help raise their vibrations and get them into the energetic mood they want to be in to help benefit their life.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
It can be extremely overwhelming at times yes, especially if I’m more than a couple days behind. But at the same time, it’s also so fulfilling to see all of the incredible feedback I’ve gotten for my music all over the world – so it’s completely worth it. I love Instagram for it’s simplistic format.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
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 always think of his live shows as an ideal point I’d wish to get to one day. As for current artists out there to work with, Bishop Briggs. I think she’s an incredible artist and has been a huge influence for me in my current music and I’ve love to work with her.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
The piano. I played when I was younger and have one in my apartment now, but I keep procrastinating in practicing so a deserted island would probably really do the trick. J And also… can you think of the instagram shots I’d get by playing a piano on the beach?!
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I think it would be really cool to have a feature in the Handmaid’s Tale. They do that thing where even though the story is set in a dystopian time, the music is ironically pop or rap or of a current style. Especially in the ending credits, wheather it is empowering or heart wrenching, the music makes a huge impact on the audience.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?
I have one more show this year in LA on Dec 16th that will be a really fun holiday themed party, so definitely check my website and socials for information on that! And I’m not sure how it’s going to happen yet, but I know I’m going to make it to the snow this year. With all of these fires happening in California, I need to get somewhere cold to remember it is even winter!
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
I want my audience to feel invigorated, uplifted, and empowered listening to my music. I intentionally put a message into every song, and I would hope people feel that they are better off for listening than if they didn’t.
– Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I just want to say I’m so grateful to everyone listening and supporting my career. It means so much to me every time I get a comment or DM about my music. And If you like it, please follow on my socials and subscribe on YouTube! Every person helps make this dream a reality for me.