Ever wonder what a songwriter was thinking while penning one of your current jams?
Many times, the best songs, the ones fans find most relatable, come from events the songwriter has experienced firsthand.
Melanie Meriney is an urban/pop country singer and songwriter based out of Nashville. Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, her influences ranged from Shania Twain to Fleetwood Mac, to Miranda Lambert. Coming from a northern, urban city gave her musical style a unique sound not normally heard in the country realm. She attended Belmont University and has opened for acts such as Little Big Town, The Commodores, Rick Vito of Fleetwood Mac, and Journey.
Melanie, you write about personal experiences — how difficult is it to perform those songs in concerts?
I think the key is walking the border between an experience being too fresh and it fading in your memory. You want to have all the emotional portrayal without the emotional breakdown ha-ha. Generally, it’s not an issue unless someone directly involved is in the audience. I once changed up my setlist mid-show because an ex’s mom showed up and the lyric would’ve given it away. The hardest songs for me to sing are the ones I write about a loss or tragedy. A dear friend of mine lost his child so getting through that song was intense.
At first listen to her single, “Lifeboat,” the lyrics seem focused on the guy whose broken heart has him turning to his ‘lifeboat.’
How do you feel this song can be applied to life — accepting yourself & your actions — and how empowering this is?
“Lifeboat” to me is about vices. When faced with a situation or emotions you don’t want to deal with, it’s easy to seek reprieve in someone or something else. What we don’t always accept at first, but inevitably find out later, is that these reprieves are temporary and don’t take care of the issue at hand. So, our choice is either to indulge that false feeling of escape or to face our issues head on.
“Lifeboat” is a two-sided song. It is as much about the girl he turns to. We hear her acknowledgment that this guy is using her to escape his feelings. But we also hear her own insecurity in the second verse:
“You don’t want to be lonely, boy, you’re not the only one”
She is using him for her own emotional escape. At the same time, she recognizes that what they are doing is not what they actually need:
“You don’t need a lover, you just need a lifeboat”
They aren’t looking for love, they’re looking for someone to keep them from drowning.
The song has gotten a lot of good reception so far. When choosing a single, my team kept coming back to “Lifeboat” for the relatable lyrics that take a common story while shifting the perspective a little bit. A lot of the songs on the Up in Lights album are about self-image and “Lifeboat” can definitely be applied to this theme. Once we recognize our flaws and our vices, we are able to actively decide if we want to enable them. In this way, I think “Lifeboat” can be empowering. It’s about holding yourself up to a mirror and really evaluating your choices. It’s only after the singer does this that she has the opportunity to move in a different direction. I think acceptance is the first step.
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