Confidence carries Melany Watson on debut EP
Early in her musical journey, the best performances Melany Watson gave weren’t in front of the crowds she and her mother played for. They were in front of an audience of one — the girl in the mirror.
“I was like, ‘Oh, you live in Texas, you need to sing country music,’” she recalls. “So for many years, I sang with my mother, I did the Texas Opry circuit and I just never really loved it until I started singing my favorite artists in my own time in my room, having my little hairbrush sessions in front of the mirror.”
Those artists weren’t the ones filling country radio. Watson was heading in another direction, and that’s when she fell in love with music and singing.
“I used to sing Whitney Houston, I discovered Etta James, and once I started singing that type of music, I got confident because I enjoyed singing it more,” she said. “I connected with it more than I did with country music at the time. And I love country music. But I was always drawn to R&B and soul.”
Years later, she’s followed her heart, and after a detour to Nashville, a stint on The Voice and, eventually, a move to New York, her EP, Lilith in Virgo, shows that she’s writing and performing for no one but herself.
“The move to New York lit a fire underneath me,” Watson said. “When I was living in Nashville, I got stuck in this cycle of writing with people that were writing for other people. It didn’t really feel like I was writing for myself. So I feel like the move to New York was a selfish move and I did it for myself as an artist. I do love writing and I love writing for other people and in all genres, but the move to New York was for me to get one hundred percent focused on myself. And that’s where this EP came out.”
Watson’s voice immediately hits you, and when coupled with the catchy songs on her debut, there’s the feeling that she will continue to get the opportunity to call her own shots in the future. It obviously helped her make some noise on The Voice, which is even more impressive when you consider that she never took a vocal lesson until she was 20. So if you ask if this is something she was born with, she would agree.
“I definitely feel like I was born with it,” she said. “I kind of discovered it for myself. My aunt used to tell me, ‘Melany, when we were driving down the road, you’d be humming melodies, and it would be the most annoying sound, but you created your own music.’ (Laughs) In kindergarten I used to do the same thing and get trouble in class. I thought nobody could hear me. But I felt like the music was always inside of me in some way.”
And while a taste of that music came out when she performed with her mom as “Melva Lee and Melany,” it wasn’t until she was 14 that she felt confident to take her R&B and soul stylings from the bedroom to the stage.
“I was in a talent show at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and I sang Aretha Franklin,” Watson said. “And I got to the finals, but I lost to a girl singing the Dixie Chicks who was wearing a country outfit. (Laughs) But it takes a lot of balls for a 14-year-old to try to sing an Aretha Franklin song in front of thousands of people. So the confidence was there, and I told myself, ‘You know what you’re good at, stick to it, and don’t let anybody else tell you how to sing or tell you what to sing, and you’ll be happy.’”
Watson is happy now, and the confidence in her voice and performance is evident.
“It just goes to show you how much I know myself,” she said. “I feel like most artists that are confident, they know who they are, inside and out, and the artists that aren’t confident don’t know who they are. I’ve had to fight to stick to believing in stuff, and sometimes when you’re an aspiring writer or an artist, you have a bunch of little fires going and you can go in several different directions. But this project, I narrowed it down to one direction. I focused on writing for myself.”
And the positive proof is on Lilith in Virgo.
“I hope people take away that there’s an artist that’s not afraid to create the music that she wants to create and she’s not creating it to appease the music industry,” she said. “I created this because I needed to for myself. It’s a diary and I hope people can connect to it in some way. I hope they can take my songs and listen to them when they need do.”
For more information on Melany Watson, click here