Music Reviews

Exclusive Interview: Melanie Medina Delves on Her Creative Tastes, Her Inspirations & Her Latest Single “Propeller Hat”

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Melanie Medina Propeller Hat

It’s an honor to be able to speak with you today. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How did you end up where you are now?
I’ve sung my whole life, and I’ve played the guitar since I was eleven years old. I’ve been obsessed with music as long as I can remember. I think it started when my middle brother and I stole a  couple of rock CDs from our oldest brother’s room and committed the entire albums to memory.

I actually got a degree in jazz performance and I play sideman to a lot of live performing acts on guitar and bass. But my passion has always been composition and songwriting. I write about anything and everything that happens to me- all my traveling, revelations, love, lust, heartbreak, a funny thing a friend said-you name it. I’m a huge bookworm too, so my lyrics contain frequent literary references. To answer the question of how I ended up where I am now, well, I was a kid who wasn’t allowed to play outside a whole bunch, so I devoured books and transcribed whole albums at a time. Now when I have a strong feeling, it comes out as words and music.

Congratulations on your most recent single “Propeller Hat” how do you feel about your newfound success?
I feel great to put this track out into the world! It’s the debut single under my new artist name, and it signals a departure from my previous, more jazz-influenced sound. It’s also one of the most honest things I’ve put out. It’s pretty straightforwardly about leaving a relationship a mess, albeit with a groove that’s ironically upbeat. It’s just…cathartic.

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In what ways do you come up with ideas? We know that starting a musical composition isn’t always easy. How do you get your creative juices flowing?
Sometimes I get lucky and an idea will just reveal itself, spring into being fully formed in my head. That’s usually not the case though. I always begin with a piece: a line, a title, a chord progression, or an idea, like “I want to write a love song that sounds like it’s about a person but it’s actually about strawberries.” I might take a walk to meditate on it, or riff ideas with a friend whose writing I respect, but most songs are written criss-cross applesauce on my carpet with a ukulele in a cheap spiral notebook with a million smudges and X-ed out ideas. The end result is often illegible, actually, but somehow these things make it to tape

Can you see your finished product before you start?
Hardly ever. There are some songs where I do have a lot of factors decided before I begin writing, but a lot of times, the best part is the hunt. It can take a full day’s work to unearth a song, to follow the rainbow to the end.

Does your music have a signature sound or style that you prefer to incorporate into your compositions?
Definitely. My chord progressions have a lot of movement. It’s something I picked up from playing all these Great American Songbook tunes in jazz school. I also don’t really believe in overplaying, at least rhythmically. I like my grooves busy, my lyrics snappy, and my backing vocals like a barbershop Greek-chorus.

Have you always been interested in music?
I was a choir kid. I majored in music. And before that, I used to fantasize about playing onstage. We didn’t listen to Top 40 in my house growing up. My dad would put on tapes of The Ed Sullivan Show, so we knew a ton of Motown and Oldies. I would say it’s been a lifelong obsession.

What’s a little-known fact about you that might surprise people?
I spent a year of the pandemic teaching English in Spain. The gigs were all gone because of covid, so I figured, ehh, why not? It was a blast.

Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap things up? Are there any words for your fans?
Thanks for taking the time to listen to my music! Expect a lot more releases from me throughout the year.

Catch Up With Melanie Medina on:

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