At just 22-years-old, Harlem-native Melii is a fastly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Her established sound boasts a seamless blend of languages, cultures and personal experience – all exhibited through her audacious and valiant flow.
“Growing up in Harlem was super amazing. You grow up with this vulnerable setting and it made me who I am today.”
In conversation with PAUSE Her, Melii touched on her experiences with mental health, how she wants to be perceived through music and what the future has in store.
Hey Melii, it’s a pleasure to speak to you here at PAUSE Her. How is life treating you at this very moment?
I’m good. Thanks. Right now, I’m in Miami.
You were born in Harlem, New York. A borough synonymous with booming art, music, literature and multicultural heritage. Growing up, how was that?
Growing up in Harlem was super amazing. It shows you the different cultures and different people and you never know what to expect. It’s beautiful and I love it there. It builds you to have tough skin. You grow up with this vulnerable setting and it made me who I am today.
Harlem is quite the melting pot for fast-rising musicians and artists. Do you feel as if your surroundings made an impact on the way you perceive both life and music?
Being from Harlem shaped a lot in my music, most of the phrases in my music come from just being from NYC in general. You know certain words and how I say certain things or even how I would like to be perceived through my music.
You gifted us your debut project ‘PHASES’ back in March 2019, then came MOTIONS. Those gave us a real insight into the intimate experiences you had faced through life. It featured elements of authenticity, honesty but most importantly vulnerability. are these something you consider imperative when putting out music?
Yeah, I feel like with Phases and Motions they weren’t necessarily all things that were happening at the moment but definitely, just things in life that I’ve gone through. I felt like my supporters would listen and probably have answers to how to deal with their own issues and just wanting them to know everything is going to be okay. And that’s kind of what I focus on, you know just having the wrap-up at the end of the songs.
For someone so young within the music industry, you also are pretty open when it comes to mental health. Throughout your sound, you aren’t afraid to bear the fact that sometimes ‘it’s okay not to be okay’. What type of message do you aim to get out to your listeners when it comes that?
I think the main message is to know basically that we’re all human, and a lot of things that we go through is mental health. I just think we have to go through them in order to grow and once you’re getting older you go thru different things that do effect you but it’s really just about how you come out from it.
Empowerment is yet another quality within your music. Let’s talk ‘Way Too Soft’. Talk us through the process of making such a song like that. What mindset do you have to be in?
Way Too Soft was made because I just felt like when it comes to my art, I was going soft and I wasn’t putting in as much work as I should have been putting in. When it comes to my listeners I also think about you know when they’re going to the gym or just motivational songs and I think when I did make Way Too Soft, it was one of those, just to have like an upbeat track like that.
The visuals accompanying the single draws inspiration from “007” and “Scarface”, it also is another way for you to show off some bad b vibes. Is it usually a collaborative effort when coming up with concepts for videos and shoots?
Usually, I’ll have the ideas on what I want to do but when it came to Way Too Soft it was a collaboration with me and Des Gray and her just bringing my vision to life.
How has the pandemic affected the way you make music? What’s the usual process and has it changed at all?
For me, nothing really changed during the pandemic because usually I’m in the studio and I’m usually alone so the only thing that changed was my way of thinking and just showing that through my music. As far as the process, usually, it’s just me and my engineer and we go through beats and I’ll just make the actual cadence and then write in the words or sometimes it will be the other way around.
On the subject of the pandemic and how it’s affected things, I can’t remember the last time I got dressed up looking all cute. However, I guess you can’t relate. From the looks of your Instagram, you did not come to play.
During the pandemic, I really didn’t go anywhere. I was in NYC and the only places that I’ve travelled to were for work or events. The last thing I did was a birthday party. But I didn’t really come outside much as I was respectful of the COVID rules.
If you were to describe your sense of style in one word, what would it be?
Sense of style would be: ‘unpredictable’.
Are you able to keep up a good work-to-life balance? And If so, how?
I think I do keep a balance between my job and my life. My job is my life so there’s really no difference in what I’m doing.
You recently teased that you may release a mini pack for Christmas? It’s a yes from me. Is this something we could potentially expect before the year draws to a close?
For the pack, I’m actually going to release the album before I do that, then have a little pack available for all my fans where it’s not too serious or anything…
With optimism for a better year in 2021, what are your plans for a fresh new year and what can we expect from the future of Melii?
More content, more music and more being out, hopefully once COVID kind of dies down.