Riggi Media Indie Profile: Windsor-Based Indie/Folk Artist Melody Grace

Riggi Media

275139613_669048564301877_2151348298247366521_nTell us about your career, including your history, where you are from and how you started?
I first picked up a guitar when I was about 9 years old, and wrote my first song when I was 11. I’ve loved singing since I could make my own sounds (although it certainly took a few years before I got it to sound okay). I come from Leamington, Ontario, from a very musical family; my mom started teaching me how to play the piano when I was a toddler, and her music career has highly influenced my own. I used to go with her to her gigs when I was a kid and hoped I could do the same one day. I certainly looked up to her a lot.

I started doing school talent shows and musical theatre in high school, which really helped push me out of my comfort zone and made being on a stage seem less terrifying. I moved to Windsor on my own after high school and was told about Phog’s open mic nights on Mondays by a coworker. Without Phog, I could not have achieved anything I have so far. I’ve been playing that open mic every Monday since I moved, and it has gotten me gigs, recording opportunities, it got me on the radio, and this very interview. It is a great spot for new and established musicians to find connections in a musical community.

I started seriously writing music 4 years ago when I wrote August Rain. I was at a summer camp at 14, and took a music elective where we were given the project to write a song. I realized how much I loved songwriting, and others actually enjoyed it, too.

I wrote all of What’s the Forecast, aside from August Rain, during the 2 year stretch of the pandemic, as well as recorded and produced them myself in my bedroom. Now, I’m playing live every week, and getting more songs written and recorded; some on my own, and some with other producers. I am excited to see where this all will take me!

Do you have any recorded music available for fans?
Right now, my 6-song album What’s the Forecast is available on all platforms, including physical CDs, which you can get from me if you ever come see me live. A new single and the next album are currently in the works, as well as many more projects to keep an eye out for!

How would you describe your music?
My music varies slightly in genre by song, because everything I write is independent of its intent. I like the lyrics that I write to be thought-provoking in some way. As someone who thrived in my high school English classes, poetry and poetic use in songwriting is one of my favourite things. While it’s mostly acoustic for now, my own production style is individualized to my music. I like to tell a story with the songs that I make, and the stories connect through each song. I am still very new to music production, so I have plenty to learn still, but it is fun to experiment with. My sound has been compared to early Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks, and Natalie Merchant in its folky feel, however, I like to think I stand alone as a unique artist.

What makes your band or music stand out from the others?
Part of what makes me stand out as an artist is that I am self-started. I’ve written and produced my own album at 18 years old with quite the humble producing setup and no experience. I started coming out to the open mics at Phog two weeks after moving out on my own, and for the first few months, since I hadn’t made any friends yet, I would bus downtown, sit alone, do my set, and then bus home every week.

I play piano, guitar, banjo, ukulele, and I dabble in many more, but it is never just singing. I like to perform. For a song I wrote about being crazy, I dressed up in full clown costume and makeup to perform it. I had circus music playing in the background as I set up my keyboard and microphone. I will always be dedicated to drawing the audience in whichever eclectic idea I have.

What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your music?
I love to make art of all kinds, and my favourite medium is oil painting. The different facets of creativity all come from the same place inside you, they just manifest differently based on how it is expressed. Certain feelings are better expressed through song, others best expressed through painting, others through different artistic routes. Sometimes they overlap, and that’s when you get great multimedia projects. I find often one kind of creative outlet will inspire the start of another, it may not even be your own. The biggest inspiration to my music is other artists and musicians.

Name your two biggest musical influences, and why?
My two biggest music influences right now are Joshua Bond and Hozier. Joshua Bond is a mutual musician friend of mine based in Toronto. He mentored me in songwriting, guitar playing, and the journey of a young musician. His songwriting style and guitar techniques are very impressive, as well as his production, which he does all himself. The storytelling and experimental nature of his album, There’s Nothing in the Bushes, inspired me to experiment with my own style and to let it get weird sometimes. Hozier inspires me through his songwriting and guitar technique as well. I love the metaphoric imagery used in his writing, and how different his songs can sound based on the message he is meaning to convey. I use similar guitar techniques to Hozier, and I’d like to think my writing can compare as well.

Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
I write all my own songs. In most of my songs, especially my current album, What’s the Forecast, nature is a big theme. I find many elements of nature very inspiring, and it is how I find it easiest to relate my feelings to the world. I often like to challenge ideas in my songwriting so the listeners have something to think about. I enjoy using literary devices in my songwriting, my all-time favourite being alliteration, so you can virtually always spot alliteration in any of my songs if you keep an eye out.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced as a musician is fighting the feeling of insignificance. You have to remind yourself, sometimes almost daily, that comparing yourself to others in a non-constructive way has no place in a creative space. Incredible art can exist without decreasing the value of another. As much as I’ve worked to change this mindset, sometimes I still catch myself seeing great musicians and songwriters and feeling mediocre. It can be easy to jump to the conclusion that you can never accomplish something so good, but the reality is, you can create great works, nothing (or entirely) like that piece of art, and it can still be good. As long as you dedicate yourself to improving, you will always improve. There is no level of talent that is unachievable through effort.

What current projects are you working on at the moment?
Right now, I am finishing up a single to come out within the next month or so. This is the first studio-recorded song I’ve made, and I am very excited for everyone to hear it. I also have a few other singles and an album that should be coming later in the year as well!

Apple Music: Melody Grace
YouTube: Melody Grace
Spotify: Melody Grace
Instagram: @melody.gracemusic
Facebook: Melody Grace Music
TikTok: Melody Grace Music

Photo: Dan Boshart
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