Mel Yelle, who goes by Melotika on stage, creates unique electro-pop music with a message. With a knack for making danceable darkness, she stands for self-confidence, empowerment and individuality.
Melotika 101: Cheat Sheet
One piece of gear I can’t live without
Top musical moment or achievement to date
Dancing Without You
Go-to “I’m in a session” meal
Does coffee count?
Three favourite albums
- Aenima by Tool
- The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga
- Fantasies by Metric
If I wasn’t a musician, I’d be
Find Melotika online
For Melotika, lyricism is a craft that she uses to amplify her message and add a deeper meaning to her music and songwriting. This attention to detail hasn’t gone unnoticed and has earned her a small but dedicated army of fans known as “The Rebelz”, who helped fund her upcoming album via a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. With her newest release, “Crazy”, Melotika is dipping her toes into the 80s synth-pop universe. She has already garnered comparisons to the likes of Lady Gaga and has been described as an “edgier” Celine Dion. Her larger-than-life sound can be heard on releases “Beautiful Disguise”, “Joy Ride”, and “Millionaires (Savage Remix).
We recently reached out to the up-and-coming artist to get the inside scoop on her latest single, “Crazy,” and her brand new album scheduled to drop later this year.
RAC: It’s so nice to e-meet you! Let’s start with an introduction to Melotika.
MELOTIKA: I’m Mel Yelle, but I’m better known by my onstage alter ego Melotika. I’m originally from Montreal, but after studying at RAC, I hit the road to Toronto to explore the music scene and further discover myself.
How would you describe your music?
I write genre-defying pop music, drawing upon my personal life and experiences to craft songs. With my music, I’m calling on others to discover the beauty and confidence within themselves, embracing their individuality.
Who are your three favourite women in music right now?
I have got to say I have some new guilty pleasures. Recently, I have been really loving Dua Lipa. She has a unique pop sound and is using her platform to spread great messages with her music.
I have never been a huge Miley Cyrus fan, but I love what she has been doing this year, bringing back rock vibes from the 70s and 80s. Her voice developed so beautifully.
I have also recently been getting into Jessie Ware and Roisin Murphy. Their sound is so raw and wholesome and addicting!
Why electro-pop? And what do you bring to the genre?
It sort of just happened. I never really decided that I was “going to make electro-pop music”.
Being equally influenced by dance and rock music, my leaning towards a dance-pop sound that allows me to tell my stories using the “language” of rock happened quite naturally.
Storytelling through the use of my voice is so vital for the Melotika project. It’s all about energy and passion. Electro-pop allows me the freedom to genre-bend and to incorporate different genres into my dance-pop music. It allows me to be whoever I want to be.
Having a wide variety of influences allows me to be true to myself and take risks by not conforming and sticking to one genre. As much as possible, I like to genre-bend and find inspiration in new things–this is what makes Melotika different.
Which artists were your earliest inspirations?
Like many kids who grew up in the ’90s, my idols were Britney Spears and the Spice Girls. I got into heavy metal, alternative rock and punk music, and I spent my adolescence head-banging at music festivals and later dancing in nightclubs.
My passion for dance music and rock is on the same level. My sound is heavily influenced by artists such as Tool, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Evanescence, Metric, Portishead, Silversun Pickups, and music of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. I always loved music, singing and writing songs.
When did you decide to study music production?
One day in 2013, it clicked that it would be really cool to learn the more technical aspects of music, live sound, and production in case I ever wanted to pursue music and share my craft with the world. The opportunities and ways to get creative with music are endless!
What is the biggest impact that your education has had on your work?
The education made me aware of the options and possibilities, and I am forever grateful. I really try not to overthink things. It’s hard not to when you have so many tools, sounds and endless melodies to pick from.
That’s why I always start with my heart and my voice. I think inspiration, experience and personality aren’t things you can’t replicate, and it’s so powerful. Personality and experience are things you cannot learn in school.
Tell us a bit about your process for the new single and upcoming album.
Right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, I felt like I was really on a roll. I had just released an experimental second single, stepping away from my debut EP, called Bury The Bones. I had also just recorded ‘Crazy’ at Phase One Studio in Toronto. ‘Bury The Bones’ is a dark synth-pop/alternative rock-inspired song produced with my current producer for the album, Sean Savage. At the time, we were really inspired by Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Blondie and we were reminiscing about the 80s a lot. When the pandemic hit and I moved back home to Montreal, Sean Savage and I agreed we would collaborate on the next Melotika album. We were just bashing out songs with so much excitement. I was going over old lyrics and poems I wrote as a teen, reinventing them and writing new stuff. I recorded demos on Pro Tools at home to send to Sean. The back and forth creative flow happened very naturally. After researching old equipment used in the disco 70s era and 80s new wave, we decided we wanted to re-create this our way with a modern touch and run the music through tape. From Montreal, I commuted twice to Toronto to record the album. One track that will be on the album is produced by my friend, Twocann. For the first time, I also introduced an additional songwriter other than myself to help write one of the songs, “Gory Gloriana”. It was an awesome collaborative experience, sort of like being in a band.
RAC: That sounds like so much fun. With so much experience already under your belt, what would you say is your absolute favourite aspect of the whole musical process?
MELOTIKA: Writing, recording, and performing are my favourites. I was really into sound design a few years back. I composed two electro-acoustic compositions using only Foley and analog synths for my debut EP. Personally, it felt redundant to me. I am heavy on storytelling through words, poems, melodies and developing my voice. I really enjoy being a part of the production and mixing process and making creative decisions. The sound and atmosphere of the song are critical to delivering the story and messages you want.
RAC: Your music has an epic sound. If you had endless funding, what would your live show look like?
MELOTIKA: I would definitely be soaring through the sky at the Bell Centre. My shows would be over the top and theatrical.
RAC: Who are the artists people most say you sound like? Who could you picture yourself on a lineup with at said Bell Centre show?
MELOTIKA: I’ve been told that I remind people of artists like Lady Gaga, an edgier pop version of Celine Dion, and a female version of The Weeknd, which has been an interesting comparison!
RAC: Nice! What about playlisting? Has it had a significant impact on your music? How has being on playlists and creating your own had an effect on your career?
MELOTIKA: There is no real secret regarding the number of followers I have on my playlists. It was a slow grind starting up from scratch last year. I built playlists that combine bigger artists and more indie artists but using songs that I actually enjoy listening to myself and that I feel represent my brand. I’m not a big artist by any means, but I have a dedicated fan base going on now that I call “The Rebelz”. They stream and share my catalogue and playlists. A lot of these listens come from my entourage on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
RAC: It’s so important to have an online community of supporters. What are your big-picture goals as a musician?
MELOTIKA: My goal is to continue spreading my music, sharing my story, and interacting with fans. At the end of the day, it’s all about the music. I would love to start doing more shows and touring when this pandemic passes. For now, I will focus on live streams, practice my craft, and continue to promote my singles leading up to the album release.
RAC: Awesome, well, we can’t wait to hear the album! Thanks for answering all our questions, Melotika. We have one final question; what can listeners expect in 2021?
MELOTIKA: New music all year long! Since the success of my crowdfunding campaign for my album, I’ve been releasing singles until the record is released. The album is called Dancing Without You. I will continue to promote this collection of singles and create my own content, such as video clips, live performances, and interact with my fans online. I’m working on a project that I would like to release in 2022 after the album is released in late fall. So, I will be creating and writing new music!
Illustration by Malaika Astorga