Christmas Interviews: Melanie Meriney

“Let It Snow” Singer/Songwriter Melanie Meriney Christmas Memories

Born in Los Angeles, raised in Pittsburgh, living in Nashville, singer/songwriter Melanie Meriney’s music blends the sounds of three genres: urban/pop/country. Growing up, she listened to country (mom) and 80’s rock (dad). Her music career turning point came when she heard “Still the One” by Shania Twain. Her parents took the third grader to see Twain in concert, and Nashville became the dream. Songs were written (Shania inspired her very first one, “My Home Is in Your Heart”), voice lessons were taken, and guitar strings were played.

Meriney listened to the pop/metal/hip-hop sounds of the Steel City while she played for a girls’ travel AAA high school ice hockey team (the Pittsburgh Penguins still rule her skating heart). From (ice) rinks to (music) links, she attended Nashville’s Belmont University as a songwriting/English major. She also earned a master’s degree and teaching license (7-12 English)

Her debut EP, All the Good Songs, was produced by Phil Ricciardi and Mike Puwal in 2012. It drew upon her real-life experiences at first love, loss, and self-reflection. Meriney was invited to play “No Friend of Mine” from the EP on the Billy Block Show. The showcased tracks with live interviews/performances played on Nashville’s WSIX Locals Only radio. In 2013, she was nominated for a Nashville Independent Music Award (NIMA) for Best Female Country Artist.

Produced by Joshua Mendez and Michael Funk, Meriney’s second EP, Up in Lights, was released last year. The songs are about finding yourself in life, love, and career, while reflecting on where you’ve been.

Up in Lights EP (Spotify)

Lifeboat Video

The song was written because I’m a huge fan of symbolism and imagery. I liked the idea of using a lifeboat to stand for a person and everything that would entail scenario-wise. It’s about using someone as an emotional crutch to avoid facing the pain of getting over another relationship. I wanted the music video to have a narrative, but not be super literal with the lyrics. We came up with the idea to do cliff-jumping because it had that water theme and really symbolized being reckless and running away from things.

Up in Lights Video

Up in Lights’ came to me while I was driving by myself on a ten-hour road trip. I was just thinking about how a lot of the entertainment industry involves putting on a mask and fitting into a particular mold. It can be easy to get caught up in the game and forget who you are in pursuit of this dream. You don’t want to lose yourself in the process.

Meriney’s Bandtwango project runs through December 24th. It is is currently 45% funded by 113 contributors. The goal of $10,000 will help her both record and market new music in 2019. The songs are already picked out – she is excited for the opportunity to share them.

Bandtwango Project Link

Meriney is a cohost of the weekly Women Crush It Wednesdays online show that spotlights music from female artists. Along with “Fake Girl” singer/songwriter Krista Angelucci, they share their living room couch with a different female musician each week. The show is streamed on Facebook Live and Instagram Live at 7:30PM/CST. It gives a platform to female artists and writers pursuing their dreams. They know first-hand how tough the business can be – so the goal is to encourage and recognize other artists’ talents and hard work.

Flame (latest single)

Share a Happy Christmas memory from your childhood:

One of my favorite Christmas memories of my childhood didn’t happen on actual Christmas, but a few days after; my parents brought home my first kitten, Kristey, in a box with a red bow. I was in second grade and had been wanting a cat for the longest time. She was white with brown spots and probably the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Definitely one of the best gifts I’d ever received!

What Christmas song reminds you of childhood and why?

Pretty much anything off Amy Grant’s Christmas albums! We listened (and still do!) to her a ton around the holidays. My favorite song to sing around the house was “Breath of Heaven”.

What are your favourite holiday traditions and why?

This hasn’t happened since my Grandma moved, but whenever we used to spend Christmas at my grandparents’ house, we used to have a ping pong tournament between us and our cousins. There are eleven of us, so it gets pretty competitive! At the end of the day, I love anything involving spending extra time with family and the people I love.

If you wrote a festive song about your family, what would be the story behind it?

It would probably be about traveling! We are always in a million different places for the holidays- there are some good (and not so good) stories about getting stuck in the snow, fighting over a GameBoy squished three across the backseat, and more recently, all of us flying and driving from our respective cities to come home and be together.

What is your favourite holiday movie and why?

Probably It’s A Wonderful Life– although my tradition is usually watching that on New Years Eve!

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” Cover

What would your ideal Christmas present be and why?

I love getting stuff I would never think to get myself! Somehow, the people around me end up knowing me better than myself. I also love getting novels because I love to read!

If you could spend the season anywhere that wasn’t your everyday home, where would you go?

I’d go anywhere that was with family- I do like snow around the holidays though, so probably a cool wintery cabin somewhere in the mountains!

Christmas can mean different things to different people, so what does Christmas mean to you?

For me, Christmas is a reminder of the blessings I have been given through Jesus. It’s a chance to slow down and remember what’s important: family, love, health, and faith. It’s a celebration of God’s love for us and the fact that He is watching out for us.

What do you do to contribute to your community during the festive season?

My friends and I usually go carolling and do a teddy bear drive for the kids at the children’s hospital. It’s awesome singing Christmas songs with them and letting them pick out their favorite stuffed animal and hopefully it makes them feel a little less like they’re in the hospital for the holidays.

Do the Christmas and New Year holidays inspire your music writing?

It’s always been a challenge for me to write a true Christmas song, although I feel like a lot of the themes such as love and family definitely inspire song topic material! Mostly, it’s the one week out of the year I usually step back and take a short break.

“Color” Original Christmas Song (Written by Meriney and Benjamin Peters)

Let It Snow” was written as a tribute to her beloved grandpa. She said that the morning he passed there was the most beautiful snowfall they had seen in a long time.

Let It Snow” (original song)

You went out on a Sunday
Four in the morning in the middle of a perfect storm
Footprints leading up the stairway
Praying that you found some light to keep you warm

‘Cause the sky ain’t stopping, white coming down
Cold as I feel without you now
And I miss you like crazy, but if you’re checking in
You should know I still feel you all around
Let it snow

New Year – new you. What’s on your resolution list? How long do you give yourself to keep those resolutions?

I love making goal lists on New Years! Most of my resolutions are music-related. What they are determines how fast I keep up with them or how consistently, but I think I’m not too bad at keeping my list going even as the initial resolution period wears off! This coming year, I’m excited to get to work releasing

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