Mela Machinko Talks Jay-Z and MJB Influence, Musical Journey, Hip Hop, More

Mela Machinko's musical resume has years of experience that have allowed her to put pen to paper and energize stages on six continents through experience and tutelage gained working with world music group Zap Mama, Talib Kweli, and Pharoahe Monch. Prepping her brand new project, Hov Said It Best, the Brooklynite and longtime fan of Jay-Z, will pay homage to one of her childhood idols with creative songs that tell her stories.

Upcoming Project: Right now I'm gearing up for the release of my album, Hov Said It Best, (FINALLY!) in June; I'm super excited about that. It's a fantastic, fun project, and I'm amped to see what people think about it.

Singing is Life: I can't remember a time I haven't wanted to be a singer and songwriter. If i didn't do it professionally I'd be singing in the aisles of Walmart. It's as natural as breathing. This life chose me!

The Sound: I wouldn't! But if I had to, I'd call it soul. Not neo soul or throwback soul.. just soul R&B. That's where it comes from.

Being Like MJB: When I heard Mary J Blige's "You Remind Me". Mary was a hero to me as a child. She was a girl from the hood, like me, doing this amazing music that wasn't hiding her roots, but rather was influenced by them. I wanted to be like Mary!

The Brooklyn Phenomenon: Umm… which Brooklyn? LOL. The Brooklyn I grew up in is not this new thing. Which wouldn't be so bad if more of us native Brooklynites could afford to stay. I honestly haven't yet wrapped my head around what Brooklyn is becoming, or my relationship to it. I like artisanal sandwich shops and Bikram yoga as much as the next person. I'm lying. I hate Bikram yoga.

Jay-Z's Influence: Probably "we don't believe you, you need more people" just for sheer opportunity to use it in my life. People be lyin out here everyday B! Hov is a hero x 100. I grew up walking distance from Marcy projects. We were proud and excited to watch the Dead Presidents video on Ralph McDaniels' show. Now that guy has taken over the world. It's been an amazing thing to watch.

Hip Hop is The Standard: Hip hop is the language I speak. The way I think is framed by it. It's like I see life through a hip hop filter. It's who I am. I know that sounds weird for a singer to say. It's true, though. My highest point… hard to say. I've had many amazing experiences already. I've been to all 6 of the important continents because of hip hop (no shade to Antartica). Met & worked with a couple of my heroes. I think that may be it. When I meet someone whose music shaped my childhood, and they like what I do! That's an incredible feeling.

Staying Inspired: I get it how I live. Conversations with friends that spark ideas. Persistent thoughts or feelings that won't leave my head. Things my mama taught me growing up. Could be anything, really.

The Journey: At the end of my musical journey I'll probably be dead. How do you end a musical journey? I can't see it. I want people to still be enjoying my contributions. I want to get to make music that people won't mind hearing 50 years later.

Favorite Performers: Bilal, because he's Bilal. He's my favorite. Beyonce, she makes what she does look so easy that people get it messed up. And I have been watching videos of Parliament funkadelic's live shows. Them folks put on a show, with a capital S.

In this age of music, live music is a whole other, next level sort of skill for most artists. It feels like something that has largely been lost. If today's popular music is high school, live music is college.

Top Ten Favorite Hip Hop Songs with R&B Features: Ugh.. i hate lists. Do i have to? Ok fine but like 3 of them are gonna feature me. (In no particular order except I'm at the top)

Shine – Pharoahe Monch ft. Me
Inseparable – Joe Budden ft. Me
Numerology – Talib Kweli ft. Me
All I Need – Method Man ft. MJB
Come Here – Talib Kweli ft. Miguel
Bitches & Bottles – DJ Khaled (Future is r&b sort of, right?)
Xxxplosive – Dr. Dre ft. Nate Dogg (Nate is the GOAT.. I could fill this list with Nate Dogg hooks)
Up All Night – Drake ft. Drake
Fuckin You Tonight – Biggie ft. R. Kelly*
Plenty – Guru ft. Erykah Badu

Listen to: "Get That Cash and Run"


Since 2005, Singersroom has been the voice of R&B around the world. Connect with us via social media below.

View all posts by Singersroom →