An Interview With Melanie A. Davis
The latest album dropped from singer-songwriter Melanie A. Davis is a soree of lush vocals performed with passion and heart as they tell stories in the form of acoustic guitar driven indie and contemporary pop.
The Dear Diary, Do You Hate Me? album is loaded with gorgeous vocals and songs that touch on theatrical feels with sounds and styles from the 70's laced into this very full and descriptive release.
Recorded entirely in quarantine, this album has brutal honesty that paints pictures as music keeps you floating like a lullaby.
Guitars at times have a jazz undertone and vary from acoustic to electric as R&B flows into the records being and songs breed haunting backing vocals and you get washed away with the sounds.
The record has a life but each song also has its own as well while it still feels like a concept record of sorts.
There is a ton of soul in Davis' vocals and she seems inspired by a wide array of styles from decades passed to now and it all comes together for an alluring feel.
Songs range from folk to full band jams that all walk the beat of their own drum so to speak.
One thing is for sure, you can completely hear the love for recording music the artist has shines through on just about every song.
She loves writing songs, she obviously loves recording them, and maybe these songs were Davis in her zone. Utilizing her bubble to get out...just about everything.
This is super important. If you can't get out what you're feeling with your music, perhaps you're doing it wrong.
This of course is not the case for Davis as she holds barely anything back and does her thing with a youthful grace and slight edge that peeks in here and there.
TSWS: Okay so let's start with the Dear Diary, Do You Hate Me? album. This was a colorful record with elements of contemporary pop and jazz undertones as well. Where did this album come from?
Melanie: This album was a product of quarantine, for sure. I had some of these songs for years but never recorded them for one reason or another. With all of our pandemic-related free time, it seemed appropriate to track some songs I'd always been meaning to get around to. As the year went on, it turned into a really fun, slow experiment fleshing out more elaborate instrumentation and adding new songs -- DDDYHM? turned out much differently than I originally planned, but in a really great way.
TSWS: I'm hearing some different styles going on. What are some of your bigger musical influences?
Melanie: My musical influences are pretty all over the place. I love listening to classic rock; my favorites are Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. But I also enjoy 1960's pop and folk (Mamas and the Papas, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez), contemporary indie (Bedouine, The Weather Station), and jazz (Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Diane Schuur).
TSWS: How did all of this start for you?
Melanie: I've been a musician since childhood -- I started fake bands, wrote songs, and sang constantly. I studied voice privately throughout high school, was really involved with musical ensembles/theatre, and that continued through college. I taught myself how to play the guitar around 2016 after I had spent a few years programming original songs through GarageBand with preset guitar sounds. I've been writing, gigging, etc. ever since.
TSWS: What sort of things inspire you to write?
Melanie: Current events; politics; books I'm reading -- I like Vonnegut especially; historical figures' life stories; and of course my own weird emotional highs and lows.
TSWS: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Melanie: Hanging out with my partner, Fate, and our cats; writing; doing yoga; baking or cooking; and spending time in nature.
TSWS: This record felt like a big undertaking. What sort of advice would you have for up and coming artists out there?
Melanie: Do your own thing, and don't beat it to death. Create freely without the added pressure of comparing yourself to others or striving for absolute perfection.
TSWS: Will you be focusing on any live shows when the time comes?
Melanie: Definitely, we had a busy year ahead of us in 2020, and I'm eager to get back in the swing of things as soon as it's actually safe to do so.
TSWS: Who are you listening to right now?
Melanie: Andrew Bird - My Finest Work Yet; Eddie Hazel - Games, Dames, and Guitar Thangs; Mamas and the Papas - If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (I've probably listened to that Mamas and Papas record 5,213,746 times by now)
TSWS: Give us your favorite midnight snack (it's a question of character)
Melanie: Flamin' hot cheetos. I can't even keep them in the house anymore because I will eat. All. Of. Them.
TSWS: Before we go, what would you want to say to fans of the music?
Melanie: Most importantly, thanks for listening. DDDYHM? was a way for me to process some of the more confusing, emotional times in my life, and I hope it offers that same kind of solace to someone else.