Words by Shabnam Ferdowsi
Alexa Melo is a 20 year old singer and songwriter currently based in LA. She's been in and out of record deals since the age of 14 until finally deciding to go indie. She's just released her first official LP that's filled with soulful rock and wispy angst.
Read our little interview and listen tot he full LP below!
Your debut self-titled album has such a raw, rock-influenced sound, something that's harder to find these days in new music. How do you think you've been able to hone in to and maintain your distinct sound?
While I was signed for almost my entire teenage hood, I was constantly being challenged to prove myself. There was this echoing criticism that kept being brought up- that I didn't know who I was as an artist. especially in my younger years, I was constantly experimenting with my sound and trying on different genre DNA. Nothing ever stuck. I would enjoy the process of creating something new but then immediately feel the urge to move on again and create something completely different. This obviously annoyed the label as they had no idea how to market an indie/experimental teenage girl, so the label didn't spend a lot time on my project and for even 6 months at a time I wouldn't even hear from them. I was homeschooled and being ignored by the label, so in those pockets of spare time I'd basically spend my days writing new songs and producing. I honed my sound by writing and producing in a constant state of transformation. I've recorded 13 albums by myself in my room from age 13 to now and each one wears its influences loudly. You can hear that i was obsessed with Bob Dylan when I was 14, and you can hear my Pixies phase clear as day on an album I made when I was 16. I still don't feel I've settled on a sound. That's one of the reasons why I left the record label- so I can be in an environment that will allow me to continuously evolve as an artist.
You've been in an out of so many different places and phases of the music industry. What's been your biggest take-away?
Never to trust anyone in this industry. I know how cynical that is but it's true. You got to go with your gut and trust YOURSELF whole heartedly. You got to make a best friend out of the voice in your head and move forward knowing that whatever happens, whoever fucks you over, you still have yourself and your love for music and that will always allow you to prevail and move along. Being a female and an artsy fartsy type has made me an easy target for some because I'm very vulnerable at times. I've learned to NEVER make myself an easy target. I have to believe with all my heart and soul that I'm the shooter and they're the targets.
How do you want to leave your listeners feeling with this album?
That's tough to say. I want listeners to feel the way I feel after I listen to a piece of music that I relate to and thoroughly enjoy. Just fulfilled, inspired and intoxicated. Thats a stretch and quite a lot to hope for but if I could choose how people would feel when listening, it would be those things.
If you could collaborate with any current artist,who and why?
AH! My head just exploded. This question could give me an anxiety attack! Jack White or Thom Yorke. I'd say that those two are the biggest current rock stars of our time, alive today and I think i would learn a million new things by simply being in the room with them.