uNder Spotlight: Mellissa is breaking through on her own terms
her debut EP is almost here
her debut EP is almost here
Ghanaian singer, Mellissa wants to reintroduce herself to her audience. Following her scene-stealing appearance on Amaarae’s debut album ‘The Angel You Don’t Know,’ Ajebutter’s ‘Soundtrack To The Good Life,’ and BOJ’s ‘Gbagada Express’ with her sister and partner, Moliy, Mellissa is ready to reveal new layers to her artistic expression. Fairly a new name and face in the scene, Mellissa’s verses are marked with poignant and evocative details about life, becoming, friendship and love. Since her debut single “Limelight” in 2021, the singer has made music that is thematically bound to introspection and constantly evaluates personal truths.
While her discography may be sparse and short, the music has been able to steadily carve out her own intimate corner in a crowded and versatile music scene, ensuring that she’s not left out of the conversation. “I also just wanted to make people free, happy and have fun. When we’re creating those songs, we’re having fun. I can only hope that anyone who is listening is going to catch that,” she shares with the NATIVE. It’s clear that improving her skills is a great source of pride. This has in turn, endured her to a rising legion of loyal fans and subtly widened the scope of her ability.
Now, Mellissa is inching towards the powerhouse she is capable of becoming with an album slated for release later this year. “My EP is coming out this year for sure. Ok, let me not say for sure, but this year, all other things being equal. I’ll be releasing singles before that. The first single hopefully in June and it’ll flow into the EP,” she shares with the NATIVE.
Ahead of its release, we caught up with Mellissa, the undeniably sought-after collaborator on some of her music influences, her two-way creative process to her stellar performances as well as some future solo releases and more.
The conversation, which follows below, has been lightly edited for clarity.
NATIVE: Some of your standout performances are with your sister, Moliy. What’s it been like building a career in music together?
Mellissa: It’s been very fun. Most of the features that I have out, like the one with BOJ and Amaarae, are with her. She had already started releasing music and we’re so close so we’re together all the time. The [son] with Amaarae for instance just happened because I was in the studio. We just talked about a hook idea and Amaarae was like ‘You have to record that.’ It’s been fun. We’ve always made music together since we were really young. Even on our way to school, we’d sing together. Everything is connected in music so we’ve done a lot of growing together.
What’s your experience been like working with other artists like BOJ & Ajebutter?
The best way I can explain it is fun. It was more fun than anything and I feel like that’s how it’s supposed to be. All those sessions, I remember them being very fun. We had fun making the music and I’m sure it reflects when you’re actually listening to the music.
Definitely. Do you have any particular African female musicians you look to for inspiration?
I really love and admire Tems. Her sound and brand especially. I really love Tems. There’s a long list but I’d rather just keep it short. I also really love Efya, she’s from Ghana. I still haven’t made music with her yet, I don’t know why but I’m going to. She’s actually in Nigeria right now. I bumped into her here so maybe we’d make music here. Who knows?
Looking forward to hearing that. What’s the most important thing about the music you create?
The most important thing about my creative process, I think would be for it to be relatable and real. I feel like we’re all connected somehow. If you’re going to talk about something people don’t know about or you don’t actually align with, then how do you expect people to connect to that? That’d be the first thing and I guess I also just wanted to make people free, happy and have fun. When we’re creating those songs, we’re having fun. I can only hope that anyone who is listening is going to catch that. Those are two of the most important things I’d say.
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Describe your creative process to me. You mentioned mostly just having fun so are you more spontaneous? How do you get into the zone to make music?
It completely depends on who I’m collaborating with. If I’m alone for instance, I usually start with melodies so it almost sounds like gibberish. That would be the canvas and I’d eventually feel out what that sound is representing. What does this feel like? Is this a love song? Then when that’s figured out, I can now start painting the picture with words and that’s how it grows. Usually that’s my most comfortable way of doing it but sometimes the words comes with the melodies and we get a song with a hook then build from there. That’s what happened with “In A Loop.” The hook, “what we fi do” was a melody that came with the words.
Can we expect any solo releases from you this year?
100 percent. So my EP is coming out this year for sure. Ok lemme not say for sure but this year all other things being equal. I’d be releasing singles before that. The first single hopefully in June and it’d flow into the EP. I can’t wait to release it, I’m not going to lie because I’ve had a lot of features but this will be more like what I’ve been working on.
Do you have any one you’re keen on collaborating with?
There’s a few people. Right now I’m in Nigeria and it would be really dope to collaborate with the likes of Lojay. I actually want to work with Bloody Civilian as well. I think her music is really dope. Her swag is also there. I think it would be nice working with her. Then I’d say Efya as well since she’s here.
Do you have any reasons as to why you think you’d go really well sonically? Is there anything that stands out to you with their sound that would pair perfectly with yours?
Yes. So i’d say with Efya, her vocals are very powerful. We could make a timeless song. There’s this song that she made with Sarkodie and the song has been stuck in my brain and heart. It has always been a dream of mine to collaborate with her and make something similar. A track that would last for time. I’d say with Lojay, obviously his melodies are out of this world so I just want to, in a way, test myself and get in my bag with melodies like that. We could make something dope. Bloody Civilian’s music seems so fun and free. That’s also my vibe so I want to see what could come out of that.
How would you describe your average listener and what audience do you anticipate targeting in the future?
I think my average listener would hopefully be a lot of women. I create music obviously for everyone but I think a lot of women would connect more with my experiences. That would be the main demographic but I’d say anyone who wants to move, dance, have fun and feel free. That’s the main essence of my project for instance. It was what I wanted freedom to sound like in beautiful melodies.
What was the second question again? I think it was a two part question.
Yes, Is there any audience you feel has not really caught on to your music yet that you feel could relate with you on a different level when they listen?
I’m not sure yet. I think my music could tap into multiple markets if I’m being honest. For instance, my EP is Afro-fusion but I included some elements of Latin and I think it’s because I went to school in Orlando and the Spanish scene there is very big. It was inevitable. I just soaked in a lot of their culture and their music definitely influenced me so the’re bits of that included in the sound. Maybe not immediately, but I think the music will translate well in those areas. Hopefully.
Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE