For Mel, the past decade of singing and songwriting has just been a warm up for what is yet to come. With plans to record within the upcoming calendar year, her musical resume thus far is more of a sneak peek than an extensive survey. With a voice that is at once ethereal and sultry, Mel’s work is as varied as her influences, which ranges from roots americana to alternative to folk and indie pop. The concept of reinvention is prevalent throughout Mel’s music, from the soft chorus of “Hey, Low” to the wanderlust imagery in “More” and even in the soulful, feminine touches she adds to her covers. Her own songwriting methods don’t follow a particular formula, but rather allow for additions and modifications throughout the process.
Entertwine: Could you give us some insight into your musical background? Who or what led you to pursue a career in music? I started messing around with a Casio keyboard when I was four years old and I remember listening to songs on the radio and just trying to figure out the melody on the keyboard. My parents really wanted me to play piano, so when I was 9 they got a Steinway and signed me up for piano lessons. I never really learned how to read music well enough though, I would just ask my teacher to play the song first and then I would half read the music, but half just try to figure it out by the sound. I still can’t read music that well, I rely mostly on playing by ear. At some point between then and now I played stand up jazz bass, electric bass, violin, cello, and guitar. Guitar is what stuck. I remember wanted to play because my older brother started playing and I looked up to him a lot. He taught me the basics of how to play, and he has definitely been a big influence on me, and has encouraged me over the years to pursue music.
What was it like growing up in New Jersey? What led you to relocate to Cincinnati, Ohio? What is the music scene of Cincinnati like? Growing up in NJ was okay, I made a lot of great friends and memories, but I’m definitely enjoying the Cincinnati area much better. I relocated for more work opportunities, the job market seemed much better in the Cincinnati area, especially for tech. The music scene is pretty cool here, I gone to Riverbend a few times since moving here, checked out a few shows at Bogarts, and enjoy some singer-songwriter cafe shows as well.
You’ve released five songs (‘Fair Game’, ‘Honey’, ‘Long Road’, ‘Bury You’ and ‘More’) via YouTube; what has it been like collaborating with your husband Ben Roland and friend Garrett Cummings? Who else did you work with on these recordings? Working with Ben is always awesome. As a producer, he has taught me so much about writing, recording, and producing music. He’s pushed me to venture outside my comfort zone to make my music more meaningful, honest, and relatable. Garrett is an amazing guitarist, he has really helped to shape these songs by adding more dynamic, emotion, and dialog between the guitars. We have written, produced and recorded the music ourselves so far, but I’m always open to collaborating with other artists and musicians.
What hobbies and activities do you enjoy outside of music? You’re also a front-end web developer, correct? Yes I’m a self taught developer. I design and develop websites and applications, and as nerdy as it sounds, it’s really a passion of mine. I love learning about new technologies and web programming languages. When I can find free time, I really enjoy painting and drawing too. When I was younger I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator, and I initially went to college for illustration. However, most of my hobbies and activities that I enjoy definitely do involve music – it’s such a big part of my life. Discovering new artists and going to shows are part of my regular routine.
What can you tell us about the EP that you’ll be releasing at the end of this year? Could you tell us about each of the featured tracks? What else do the remaining months of 2015 hold in store for Mel McVeigh? Do you have any upcoming performances? The EP that I will be releasing this year will include songs written over the past 10 years. It’s a big mix different moments, emotions, times, and stories of my life. Each song was written about something that I’ve experienced – I find it difficult to write music about things I have not personally experienced, but my songs are brutally honest, and I think that aspect makes them very relatable. The rest of 2015 will be focused on releasing the EP, and continuing to fine tune my existing songs, and definitely writing new ones. After the release of the EP, we will be scheduling shows for early next year, and hope to record a full album by the end of 2016.