Interview with Melo Makes Music
By: Nina Clevinger
“I have work at 12:30,” he said. “But I figured that was enough time to get this done.”
He sits down on my suede tan couch, setting two Dollop iced coffees on the table in front of us. Dollop is his current place of employment; it’s a cute little café with a few locations around the city we both reside, Chicago.
He is Carmelo Cianflone - more commonly known as Melo - or, in the world of sound: Melo Makes Music.
Melo is a Chicago-based rapper, and will be 21-years old in July. He shares an apartment with two of his best friends in the Lower West Side neighborhood of Pilsen.
“I didn’t know what you liked in your coffee,” he said. “So I just got whatever. Can you put on the Drake album, please?”
Views begins to play over the speakers, and Melo sets his phone down next to the cold drinks and looks at me.
“So, are you ready?”
Melo is here to discuss his newest single, a song he dropped a few days ago entitled “Evicted.” The song carries a strong message; it's a metaphor on the challenges of creating music in the city while still having to work obscene jobs to get by until the music is enough, according to Melo.
“A few months ago, maybe like, November, me and my roommate, Ju, we were talking about how we were kind of behind on rent,” he said, stopping to take a sip of his iced beverage. “We were talking about what would happen if we got evicted, and I was stoned and that word just stuck in my head.”
“Evicted” features vocals from another up-and-coming Chicago-based rapper, Kweku Collins, and singer-songwriter Tatiana Hazel. Each of them have their own unique sound, and along with Martin $ky’s soft and sweet production, it all blends perfectly.
The song has lines pertaining directly to “dealing with strife” and working “the bullshit just to profit,” followed by “that rent won’t pay itself.”
Melo, Kweku and Tatiana all come together to bring attention to the difficulties of getting by as a young, up-and-coming artist, and how extreme measures – including using “shorties" for places to stay – need to be taken at times.
'Melo Makes Music' is another interesting aspect of both the sound of the music itself, and Melo as an artist.
“I never want to be put in a box because of decisions I’ve made,” he said. “I created my own excuse for doing whatever I want to do sonically, and never betraying my sound. That’s what the ‘Makes Music’ aspect of it is, it’s the like... if it was a tree, ‘Makes Music’ would be the roots, and the hip-hop would be the main branch, and all the other sounds – guitar, punk, eventually like, neo-soul and R&B – all of those would be the branches coming off of that branch.”
Melo adds that he basically plans on doing whatever he wants musically, even if that means drastically changing his sound from one project to the next.
“I just want to do… whatever I’m feeling, I guess,” he said.
The beginning beats of “Evicted” sound like a song being played in reverse, or a record spinning backwards. That paired with Melo’s raspy, hard; almost spoken-word-singing kind of voice makes for an instantly unique and enticing sound.
Kweku’s verse adds just the right amount of a different vibe, and together the two rapper’s voices blend incredibly.
“We linked up a few times,” Melo said of how he and Kweku got to working on the song together. “He expressed interest in working with me… it was like a six-hour day, he wrote his verse right there, recorded it, and I liked what he wrote.”
Kweku’s verse offers a similar message to the rest of the song, bringing in the addition of women and their roles in the struggles rising artists are faced with.
“Evicted” was released on May 31st, and much hype was built up in the weeks preceding. Melo’s Instagram, featured five film shorts and an array of photos, each with the word “Evicted” written across them in white ink.
“I want this song to hit everybody, in a way,” he said. “But I expect it to hit people of the same demographics, people who are going through similar situations.”
With the top-notch social media promotion and the absolute genius that is the song, “Evicted” is well on its way to reaching the ears of everybody. It’s definitely a song that will be on repeat all summer long.
Melo hopes to get his message spread and really recognized amongst the people of the world.
“I’m not on the pursuit of fame,” he said. “I just want to be recognized.”
A quarter past noon arrives, and Melo leaves for his shift at Dollop. He proves that as an artist, he is genuine in pursuing his dreams and doing whatever it takes to get there.
Genuineness in music is the one thing that makes certain musicians stand out from the many others, and genuineness in music is something Melo most certainly has.