The life, times and music of Meleni Smith have been filled with so many vivid colors and sounds since the age of six when she discovered her talent as a singer. It’s hard not to like the untamed energy of Meleni as she gives you such a different view on the world around her. She is a true creator, artist and definitely in control of her own destiny. Recently signing a publishing deal with EMI alongside Salaam Remi, and having Alicia Keys sing one of her songs, this young artist seems to be one to watch. Being through the storms and the sun will not stop this extraordinary new talent. I had the pleasure of exchanging ideas with her. Check it out.
New Jack Inspiration… I jack (take) inspiration from everybody that tells the truth. I’m like in awe with Bob Marley, Jeff Buckley, Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple. They are painfully honest in the way they deliver it (music). I learned from all those people. I want people to get goose bumps when I sing like I get when I listen to those people. Goose bumps are priceless.
Don’t Piss Me Off… It pisses me off to encounter people that are transparent; people that have using ways, people that just only want to be friends with people that are going to do something for them.
Going Going Back to Back to N.Y.C…. L.A. is filled with people that are transparent. It’s such an illusion. I moved to L.A. for a year, but I ran back to New York City. New York City just has more people that are real. It’s a different energy. I felt that in L.A. the way people treat you is based on who you are or who you know.
Favorite Movie… Avatar was an amazing movie. It was a dream land. I wish I lived there! I would move to Pandora. People were depressed when they realized it didn’t exist.
Don’t Be Tardy for the Party…I had an Avatar themed party. It was called “Melvatar” it was a tribal themed party. I wanted to recreate Pandora.
My Secret Spot… The spot I like in the city is Central Park. There is so much going on there. I walk around and people watch. It’s the concrete jungle but there are a lot of parks. I usual watch the horses carrying people back and forth. I don’t think its right, I think its animal cruelty the way we are using the horses. That’s so unfair I’m an animal lover.
When I’m alone in My Room… Hmmmmm ….alone. What do I do when I’m alone? (Chuckle.) When I’m alone I do a lot of reading. I listen to a lot of music. I gather inspiration. I need to constantly be inspired. I listen to meditation CDs. I focus on getting my mind calm.
Same Ol’ Attitude but I’m In my new Whip… I got a smart car. I was inspired by Redman when he was driving that red smart car around Jersey. They are so legit… they are! You can go on Youtube and watch how they have been tested for safety. You can see how they drive the smart car into a brick wall and the whole shell is still intact.
A Diva… owns their beauty. They own their strength.
SeXy is as SeXy does… Knowing that you are amazing is what’s sexy. I am a creation of God and besides that I’m the $#!T! LOL It’s also not using society to determine what beauty is. You have to have your own definition of beauty. You have to use what you have to get what you want.
Miss Independent… It’s beautiful and it’s blossoming. I’m not signed to a major so it’s more organic. Everyday you got to keep doing it. You have to create as much content as possible. Sharing and giving people more content to absorb constantly.
In the Box… I don’t think I categorize when I create, but it becomes necessary. I have to create categories in regards to who I am so I can reach the people. The problems I have had have been related to me being a black woman. I wasn’t “urban” enough. I don’t know if I’m not “black” enough or what. When you’re creating, you’re just being free, it’s not as easy when you are trying to turn it into a business. I do what I think sounds good and I hope people think the same. I never go into the studio thinking it needs to be this format. I just put sounds that I like, things I absorbed and things I think are dope.
Radio…We are in a weird time. I think Adele was a great example of something different that worked. However, a lot of things the labels push is whatever seems to work. I feel every song sounds the same on the radio. I think we are in a time when people are going to get one type of music that the “machine” provides. That is what’s going on, I really don’t listen to the radio so much as I listen to music on the internet. Only getting five artists on the radio, you tend gravitate to new artists.
Underground Under Dog… I check out sites like Singersroom.com and a lot of sites that introduce new music and artists. I listen to everything people send to me… under ground people. I like the underground, I like the under dog. People didn’t know about James Blake but now they have heard about him. It’s crazy how much we are actually getting opposed to what is being created. People say there is not a lot of great music, but that is a lie. You just have to use your own ingenuity to find it. Ray Lamontagne is not really new but I really like him. I think we are in a really good place now; there are artists that are getting that good push. They can use social media and outlets online.
Middle of the Map… Born in Flint Michigan and raised in Milwaukee, I think I was influenced by everything and all my experience growing up. We were into a lot of the East and the West Coast music. I listened to Biggie and 2 Pac. I listen to Chicago, Southern and Northern music. I listen to that gumbo. I didn’t grow up in a typical household because my mother is from Jamaica. I was exposed to music like Reggae.
Culture Clash… I think there is a huge difference because they come over as the under dog not being accepting by the white community and the black community. They just have to win. You have to have that fire as an immigrant. I think it’s cultural. We eat different foods and speak different. There are artists that were famous in my household that other people didn’t know… Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown, Yellow Man. My mom wasn’t really big on rap music, she said that’s just reggae with someone DJing.
My mother… is a huge inspiration, she put me on everything.
I Wish I Wish… I wish they asked me to perform at the Grammy Awards.
Words of Wisdom from Meleni… Do the work and keep inspired. If you keep working at something, keep going and stay focused you are bound to create beauty. When you water and plant the seed, it will eventually grow. It is the law of the universe.
Purchase Meleni’s latest album “My Heart in Focus” on iTunes.