Interview with Melanie Meriney

Melanie Meriney is originally from Pennsylvania but now calls Nashville home. In recent months she has released her outstanding E.P ‘Up in Lights’ and is a real rising star on the country music scene. I featured Melanie for the first time just last week in our new ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’ feature (check out Melanie’s single ‘Lifeboat’ and her selection here). I was so impressed that I wanted to find out more, so I caught up with Melanie for a chat over the weekend!

Hi Melanie! Fantastic to chat! We first featured you on Belles and Gals last week, a piece which included your latest single ‘Lifeboat’. This song features on your ‘Up in Lights’ EP. How exciting was it to release the E.P. earlier this year? This is your second E.P?

Yes! Up In Lights is my second EP and it was honestly a long time coming! My debut EP had been released back in 2012 and since then my sound and songwriting has evolved a ton! I was excited to give my fans a product that I felt more truly reflected me as an artist and showed how I have grown over the past five years. Sonically, it was fun to create sounds a little outside the box for the country market.

You’ve already told us all about the fantastic ‘Lifeboat’. I particularly like the title track too. Can you give us an insight into how the song came about?

The song “Up In Lights” (track 6) is what I knew, concept-wise, I wanted to base the whole album around. I think as a whole, the EP is about identity. “Up In Lights” in particular talks about the dark side of the entertainment industry and how easy it can be, especially as a female, to allow your identity to be morphed and compromised by the promise of fame. Every girl I talk to who is pursuing an artist career has, at one point or another, been pressured to either conform to a certain image or trade their morals for a shot at “making it”. “Up In Lights” is largely sarcastic, but hopefully the ultimate message is clear— you can get to where you want to go by being true to yourself… our individuality, strength, and belief in ourselves is what gives us the best edge over the competition. Nobody can do “you” as well as you!

The song actually came to me on a road trip. It’s a story that I feel is personal to me, so the lyrics came pretty easily. I was by myself in the car and sang the melody in a voice memo on my phone. When I got home I figured it out on guitar.

You’re originally from Pennsylvania but now based in Nashville. What effect has the move to ‘Music City’ had on your career?

My move to Nashville has been everything! Being surrounded by crazy talented people all the time not only ups my game and keeps me sharp, but I’ve been able to create a network of support and learn from my friends’ mistakes and triumphs. It’s been an invaluable learning experience. I feel like when I go on the road now I’m more equipped with the tools I need to compete and succeed.

And what was it that made you want to become a singer? Was there a Eureka moment? Or was it just something that you’ve always wanted to be?

My Eureka moment was in third grade. I went to a Shania Twain concert and thought she had the most incredible job. I remember asking: “you can choose being a singer as a career?” After that concert, my parents signed me up for voice lessons and I picked up guitar. I was sold from there.

We’re a website based in the UK, so many of our readers might be unfamiliar with your sound. How would you describe it?

My sound is urban-pop Country! Being from a northern US city where country music isn’t very big, my sound pulls from pop, rock, hip-hop AND country, so it’s a bit of a melting pot! I write and record what I think sounds cool, so I’m not super concerned with fitting in a genre-box.

And tell us a little about your song-writing process? Do you prefer solo writing, or co-writes – perhaps it depends on the song?

Usually, I start with a hook or a title and spin a story from there! I love co-writing because it takes you outside your usual thought box and gives you a sounding board. Coincidentally, all but two (Drama & Lipstick on a Microphone) of the songs on the EP are solo writes. This is pretty funny since mostly I tend to co-write. But the ones that are solo written are very personal to me, so maybe it makes more sense. Some songs you just gotta write yourself!

Has there been a particular highlight of your career so far? And if you could choose to play any venue in the future, where would it be?

So far, one of the huge highlights of my career has been opening for Little Big Town! I have a feeling there are more highlights in the near future 😉 Venue-wise, that’s tough! Probably The Ryman Auditorium In Nashville and Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado…

If there was a movie about your life, which actress would you choose to play you?

Good question! Kate Hudson? She’s pure sunshine and we already know she killed it in Almost Famous!

Tell us something unique about yourself that we wouldn’t otherwise know.

I’m obsessed with foxes. I even have a fox soap dispenser in my bathroom. It’s bad.

To finish, what plans do you have for the rest of the year? And also tell us where readers can download your E.P. and find you on social media!

I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! My website is www.melaniemeriney.com and has links to everything including upcoming shows! I’m in the process of booking a bunch of shows in 2018, so hopefully I’ll have those finalized and posted by the beginning of the holiday season! If we can get it all recorded and mixed in time, I may also have a collaborative Christmas project coming out— my closest friends are all incredible artists and singers so we are working as a group to make something really special.

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