The brainchild of Canadian/Hungarian singer-songwriter Melanie Percy, MELÓ has a unique and obscure sound. Influenced by the likes of Wolf Alice, Hayley Williams, Wallows and The 1975, the London-based artist breaks boundaries with her indie-pop/pop-rock style. We speak with MELÓ about her debut EP Youthless, the pandemic’s effect on live music and much more!
OSR: What drew you to music and why do you choose to create music?
MELÓ: Funnily enough, it was The Sound of Music that made me want to pursue singing as a career. After seeing the musical at age five, I decided to audition for my first professional choir with the track ‘Do-Re-Mi’. Throughout my time in choirs and learning instruments, I also liked writing story-based songs. It was only in high school after being told by a few music professionals that I had what it takes to make a “catchy tune” that I finally realised I had the talent needed to do this seriously.
OSR: Do you have a musical background or family?
MELÓ: I grew up in a family of passionate non-musicians who, despite not being able to sing, gave me their taste in punk, grunge and rock music. I was blessed that my family allowed me the freedom to explore a path unfamiliar to them. I was placed in both professional and unprofessional choirs at a young age (which I somehow got paid for 😄) while also learning guitar and later piano. I got into an arts high school for vocal where I finally actualised my dreams of becoming a singer-songwriter, writing and producing demos alongside a well-established producer in Toronto called Norm Sabourin. After graduating high school, I decided to try my hand at a career in London, UK, first studying at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance and now finally investing time into my independent career.
OSR: What can you tell us about your debut EP Youthless?
MELÓ: I wanted to create a concept EP that plays around with genre and allows the listener to leave having enjoyed and/or related to at least one of the songs. Using an indie-alternative base, I decided to combine my tracks with folk, R&B and chill-wave/electronic style influences. I played around melodically while staying true to the core challenges and experiences of growing up too quickly. The idea of missing out on your youth or feeling ‘youthless’ is something I experienced personally and wanted to share with others throughout this whole project.
MELÓ: I would have to say the two new releases within the EP are my favourite and least favourite. There is something about the live acoustic version of ‘Odd January’ that I feel I was not able to fully capture within the release while the final version of the single ‘Youthless’ is one I hold quite close to me. The emotions that went behind that song fully encompass every idea I wanted to portray in this EP and that is why I decided to also use it for the EP title.
OSR: As a rather young artist, do you feel age plays a role when making music?
MELÓ: I think people create pressure around becoming successful at a young age when some of the most talented musicians become popular later in life. I think the craft and the internal passion for music are more important than any other exterior factors.
OSR: What do you hope people take from Youthless?
MELÓ: I find it hard to open up and share my feelings with others. It is only through listening to or writing music about my authentic vulnerabilities that I feel truly content and at peace. My EP reflects on various mental health issues from depression, anxiety, manipulation and abuse. It is my aim that through sharing the vulnerabilities of Youthless I can continue to de-stigmatise these mental health issues and create a healthy outlet for my audience to truly express themselves.
OSR: If you could change anything about the EP, what would it be?
MELÓ: I think it is only natural for an artist to change and develop songs they’ve created over time. Listening or playing the same thing over and over can become repetitive, and so I feel it is little moments like a melody change or the build-up in a song that make me sometimes wish I could re-start the project and create something new.
OSR: What is the most exciting thing about making music?
MELÓ: I think the initial writing stage of turning nothing into something always excites me the most. As a songwriter, there is something really special about humming a newly written song knowing that no one else knows about it yet.
OSR: If you could spend the day with any celebrity, who would it be and why?
MELÓ: I would love to spend the day with one of my favourite bands, Peach Pit. I rarely enjoy every song an artist puts out, but with Peach Pit, each new song becomes another track I add to my roster. I feel they help inspire my music and opening for them live is definitely a goal of mine. I also had a very strange dream where I gave the guitarist Chris my socks, so that would be fun to tell them.
OSR: Do you think the pandemic has influenced people’s perception of live music?
MELÓ: I think the pandemic has forced the music industry to become more creative. Through the ability to perform live shows online it is clear that technology is continuing to build a role in the future of this industry. I feel people have learned the necessity of technology in this day and age, while also becoming more appreciative of when artists can play in-person shows.
OSR: Do you have a message for our readers?
MELÓ: If there’s one thing you should take from the music you find or regularly listen to, it is the raw emotions behind the recording. Music is meant to make you feel something, whether that is angry, sad, happy, energetic, chill, etc. If it doesn’t do that, then maybe it just isn’t the song for you.