Jazz, pop, soul, blues… it’s all part of the sound from MELD – the music moniker for Melanie Dewey, a Nashville songwriter and musician with a rich and bold voice. Bold lyrically, musically and visually as evidenced in the gorgeous deep blue colors in her album artwork. The image evokes a cool bluesy jazz sound which is just part of the blend in this unique artist’s style. In a trying year for her personally, in addition to the collective stress of living through a pandemic and contentious election season, MELD released her debut full length album, Words of The Water.
AnaLee: Congratulations on releasing Words of The Water. You released an ep, H.U.R.T (Healing Under Rising Truth) in 2017 with a remix version in 2018. Sonically, there are definitely similarities between H.U.R.T. and the new album, but I’m hearing more of an organic sound, not acoustic just a little less produced. I love the sounds all over this record, particularly the horns, piano, your vocals… tell us a little about the journey you’ve been on creating this music and finally getting to release it. Then I want to ask you about a couple of tracks in particular.
MELD: Thanks Ana Lee! It’s definitely been a pretty incredible journey… full of beautiful creative moments, and also some heartbreak along the way. The album took us about two years to record, mix, and master, and during those two years SO much happened. Starting with a pandemic, the album then switched hands from one drummer to another, and one engineer to another, which ultimately set our team back a bit. On top of this, my father and aunt both passed away several months before the album was released - which prompted a much needed pause to reflect and be with family. All in all though, I’m a believer in divine timing - and the album finally came together and was released into the world in November. In a way, I feel the grief I experienced gave me the fuel to move forward and put this album out in a deeper and richer way than I may have been able to otherwise.
In a musical sense...for this album, I wanted to go “bigger” and even MORE cinematic than my previous project “H.U.R.T.” So, I opted for a string section, and a horn section in various moments on the record. More than anything, I wanted the album to capture the sounds of the earth and mother nature - as if she co-wrote the album with me! “Words of the Water” is a rallying cry to remember we are ALL connected by the common life-force that is water, and to respect her just as we should respect each other. Releasing the album RIGHT after the 2020 election, when Biden was declared the next president seemed fitting - as my album cover was BLUE and the “blue wave” was sweeping our nation right at the same time. :)
AnaLee: A song I’ve featured on The Local Brew Hour a few times is “Find A Light”. The twists and turns this song takes musically are just so interesting and your voice so compelling. I love the sort of dark jazz vibe that rises into a feeling and message of hope in the chorus. Tell us about this song.
MELD: “Find A Light” was written during a dark time in my life when I was sorely in need of an anthem to remind me that no matter what happens, LOVE always finds a way to shine. Love is an unseen thing - and because of this - it can’t be cut down no matter how hard people may try, and can be felt through the most impenetrable walls. That’s what this song is about. The song was also the last song I released, while my father was still alive - so it’s a very special song to me in that it was a big part of inspiring hope, no matter what the outcome of my father’s cancer was. Now, even after death - I can still feel his love with me everywhere.
AnaLee: “Listen To The Water” is a spoken word piece featuring several Nashville artists including, Jess Nolan, Maureen Murphy, Alanna Royale and several others. It’s also an effort to raise money and awareness for clean water/ocean clean-up projects. I mentioned a few of the artists lending their voices, who else participated? Would you tell us about the inspiration behind this track, who it benefits and how someone can find it and help the cause?
MELD: Of course! A little bit about the track’s genesis: I had wanted to do a female collaborative spoken word piece on this album for a while, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that would look like. Then, in the final week of my father’s life - I sat by his bedside and wrote some poems. Particularly, the stanza about death, which begins “What would the water say in the face of death?” (Which ended up being the verse spoken by Alanna Royale and Amber Lily). I thought that personifying water in a spoken word would be a really cool way to tie the album “Words of the Water” together. I got to work and wrote about 4 other verses, and then enlisted the help of several incredible independent female artists. The full cast includes: Katie Buxton (a prior Nashville resident), Amber Lily, Marya Stark, Heather Christie, Shira Elias of Turkuaz, Erin Boyd of Phantom Vanity, Maureen Murphy, Alanna Royale, and Jess Nolan (who wrote her own verse.) The whole concept of the track is that as people listen to it, 33% of all revenue generated by streaming will go to an ocean cleanup project called The Ocean Cleanup. If you guys want to help the cause, you can stream the track!