Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Genre: Country with a taste of pop, hip hop, electronic
Influences: Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Phil Vassar, 80’s rock
Favorite Venue: Pour House
Melanie Meriney grew up in Pittsburgh where the music scene is not to too big on Country yet. Growing up with her dad listening to 80’s rock and mom listening to Country music, Melanie brings together the two for some catchy, unique songs.
When did you start songwriting?
“I started when I was in 3rd grade. I went to see a Shania Twain concert with my parents. I thought she had the coolest job ever, so I wanted to try it. My earlier songs were terrible but I’ve been learning and getting better since then. I started playing guitar in 7th grade and it made me find a direction with music. I took voice lessons at church and sang in my school’s chorus. I did that until I was 18. When I moved here, I started performing and playing in front of people.”
Melanie moved to Nashville, attending Belmont University for songwriting and English. The songwriting classes helped with her first EP All the Good Songs, which was released in 2012.
“It’s offline but you can order it from my website. It was great making that EP. That was 6 years ago, so I wanted my new EP to represent what I currently am as an artist and hone in on my sound.”
Tell us about your new EP Up In Lights
“This one is a little more pop and have more of my influences in it. Pittsburgh is not really a Country town. There’s a lot of hip hop, rap, and r&b. It kind of has those elements in it but I love Country music’s storytelling aspect, so I tried to keep the feel for Country. It’s been out for about a month now. It is available online and ‘Lifeboat’ was just sent to Country radio, which you can request everywhere. We have the distribution, just hoping the radio picks it up.”
What message behind your single ‘Lifeboat’?
“I tried to write a universal theme to this. It explains a bad hookup scenario but you don’t have to go through that in life to enjoy the song. It’s about indulging the devil on your shoulder. A lot of people will take the easy way out is it’s there but it’s not the right way. It’s about finally standing on your own, whether or not the truth you’re telling yourself is the best one to get over the hurdle.”
Is there a story behind your title track, ‘Up In Lights’?
“It’s what we built the EP around and definitely the first I wanted to include. It tells my experience in Nashville and has a little sarcastic side if you listen closely to the lyrics. It’s not telling you exactly what you think it’s telling you. ‘Up In Lights’ is about any girl who will literally do anything to climb to the top, while stepping on other people to get there. Those girls become people who they didn’t start out as, all for the pursuit of fame. Is it worth it?”
When Melanie isn’t in the studio working on new music, she is actively involved in the music community. In 2016, she signed with music publishing company, Dune Grass Music, which helped her with co-writes and placement on Billboard and Country Aircheck. She toured around festivals last fall and is planning on a national tour soon.
Where was your favorite city to play during your recent tour?
“My favorite place was Pittsburgh Regatta in my hometown. The three rivers all meet at a fountain, where the stage is. I opened for Steve Augeri from Journey. It was fun because I had all my hometown crowd with friends and family there to support me. We enjoyed the nice weather and watched the fireworks together later that night. Other than that, I’ve played at festivals all over and opened for big names like Little Big Town and The Commodores.”
What makes Pour House your favorite venue?
“A lot of my friends who are also writers play there and we hangout there for Threesome Thursdays. They usually have a good lineup so even if you’re not playing, it’s a great time to network with other artists. I like it because it’s laid back and more local with good food…and beer.”