Authentic and unique are the first words that come to mind when describing rising country star Melanie Meriney. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Meriney was raised surrounded by a multitude of genres, each of which playing a formative role in molding Meriney into the artist she is today. Meriney’s latest single, “Damn Good Story” reminisces on an old summer love and throughout the song Meriney focuses on finding the positive memories from this short relationship.
Recently, we had the chance to chat with Meriney about her unique sound, “Damn Good Story”, and her upcoming project “ChaMELeon”.
You have a very unique, genre bending sound. Who would say influenced that sound?
I think my sound is a culmination of growing up loving country music in a northern city. Pittsburgh has a big rock and rap scene, but my mom always listened to country radio when we were kids and I think that, along with the fact that I’m a 90s kid, really let me express my sound as a melting pot of my different influences. Some artists that were paramount to my development were Shania Twain, Fleetwood Mac, Sheryl Crow, Michelle Branch, and Phil Vassar.
Was there ever any pressure or urge to abandon this style and chase trends instead?
I think Nashville has an easier time with promotion (whether that’s radio or otherwise) if you box yourself into a specific genre. I’ve had some industry give me feedback that I wasn’t “country enough” or didn’t know my own sound. I think I’ve always been true to my sound, especially as I’ve developed over the years and gotten to know myself more. It just might not fit into the box they were hoping for. Artists like Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves did their own thing which was true to themselves but didn’t sound like anybody else on the market. This, in my opinion, is what makes them legendary. So I don’t want to be afraid to express myself apart from trends.
You’ve been in Nashville for a while now, how do you feel that you’ve grown as an artist?
I think the only way to grow as an artist is to have life experiences and surround yourself with people more talented than you. Nashville has so much talent and encouragement that I’ve been fortunate enough to hone my craft and develop the stories I want to write into my songs. When I was newer to this town, I think I tried to imitate other artists more because it was my way of learning the elements that made them so great. Now that I’ve had some time, I’m able to be more authentic and express myself as an artist while writing things more true to my experiences.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years in the industry?
Persistence. This career is one where you hear one “yes” for every hundred “no”s. It’s hard not to get discouraged at times. I have to remind myself that it’s all about timing and luck, and if I don’t work extremely hard every day to put myself in a position where both of these elements line up, I only have myself to blame.
What’s the story behind your upcoming single, “Damn Good Story”?
I wrote “Damn Good Story” with two great friends and artists, Krista Angelucci and Chelsea Summers. It’s about all the best parts of summer love and realizing that even fleeting moments are worth remembering fondly.
What’s next for you?
“Damn Good Story” is the second release off my new project ChaMELeon which features all the songs I’ve been hanging onto for a while that haven’t gotten their chance to shine. I’m hoping to continue the schedule of releasing one a month along with a bunch of fun content like music videos and acoustic performances, etc. Stay tuned to my social media accounts and subscribe to the mailing list on my website http://www.melaniemeriney.com to get the latest updates!
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