GMO: What was it like being on "P. Diddy’s Starmaker?"
Melody: You have to put everything on the line to be on one of these singing competitions. You have to quit your job and leave your family. So being on the show was very stressful for me.
You have this combination of folk, rock and soul in your music. How did this influence come about and are you interested in adding new genres to your sound?
Everybody calls my music different things, but I just call it rock. Maroon 5 has to be one of the most soulful [groups] in the game and most of their songs sound like R&B. However, they are labeled Alternative Rock. Kings of Leon also has a soulful lead singer and their songs have blues and country elements to it, yet they are just seen as a rock band. And so it’s frustrating to have different rules set out for me. I've been fighting against stereotypes my whole life.
I read in previous interviews that at a young age you would sing on the sidewalks of Chicago. What was that like, and what was the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you during your performance?
Singing on the street corners in downtown Chicago was probably the scariest stage I've ever performed on. Anything can happen out there. People just walk by until they hear that "song" that turns them around so it became like a game for me to figure out what they wanted to hear as they passed by.
What was your process in teaching yourself the guitar? How dedicated does one have to be to master this?
Most people lack the discipline it takes to teach themselves any instrument, but it can be done. See, I play by ear and that means I would listen to the radio all day and try to find the notes to each song. I have been practicing every day since I was 15 without fail. There is always something new to learn in music.
How has the viral world/online social media influenced your career?
Social media is the only reason I'm able to build a career now. YouTube has been the biggest help to me. Most, if not all, of my fans found me on YouTube. I get emails from people every day from all over the world and it’s amazing.
What is your most prized accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment to date was graduating college. Knowledge is power, so when I walk into a business meeting with some big name in the industry, I must be confident that I know my business well. That's the thing about education: You take it with you in every situation.
What got you interested into talking about HIV?
HIV is an epidemic among black females. My generation is dying before their time, and it can be avoided. I figure the more we are informed about how close this disease is to us all, then maybe it’s not too late to change this generation's outcome. I felt inspired and wrote a song called, “The Death of Me.”
What would you say your biggest challenge or fear is being a music artist?
The biggest challenge being a music artist is getting continued support from your fans. You wonder if they're still listening, if they will come out to your show, or will they even buy your record. I wonder these things all the time.
What trends in music would you like to see disappear?
I hope one day music will be free of stereotypes, and then maybe a black girl from the South Side of Chicago can be free to become a rock star.
What is the best advice you can give to aspiring artists?
My advice to aspiring artists is, don't change who you are to be an artist because you'll hate every minute of your success. I've met a lot of big names in the industry so far and rarely do I meet someone who is actually happy with their lives. Remember that and keep God first, and you'll be alright.
Follow Melody Angel on Twitter: @MelodyAngel and check out her YouTube Video for "The Death of Me" and click the link below to download your copy of the song: Download www.MelodyAngelMusic.com - The Death Of Me.