Imagine pursuing your dream job. Any job you can possibly think of. Only to be hindered by losing the very thing that will make you successful in that career choice. This scary true story happened to San Francisco Bay Area artist Alexa Melo, who went through emergency vocal surgery which put a huge scare and pause in her plans to step foot in the music industry. Now, she’s back.
Alexa just dropped the music video to her cover of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” which hit 14K views in just under 2 days. And this Fall, she’ll release her sophomore EP Mute which we’re sure will tell Melo’s story in the way she wants it to be told. Continue on to read our interview with Alexa.
The Young Folks: I just had a chance to view some of your videos on YouTube and phew, you are no joke! I read that you started singing and grew a love for music at a young age so when did you decide to use YouTube as a platform to get yourself out there?
Alexa Melo: Thank you so much! Well, when I was 21 I had vocal cord surgery and after a year of being unable to sing and having my confidence and sense of identity broken down, I started my YouTube channel in an effort to improve and learn to perform again without overthinking my new vocal cords. My new voice has a new set of limitations and I used my empty YouTube channel as an easy platform to practice putting myself out there again. I had no idea my channel would grow the way it did and the amount of support I’d receive.
TYF: You’ve had your channel for about 3 years now and within those 3 years, what have you learned while being part of the YouTube community along with the music industry?
Melo: I’ve learned that YouTube can serve as an alternate platform to begin a successful music career. I’ve discovered so many incredible, self-reliant music artists on YouTube who started out small and went on to fill huge venues around the world without radio play or label/mainstream support. I understand it’s not an easy route but, having also been signed and have lived on that side of the music industry spectrum, that route is no cake walk either. I’d rather take my chances on a path that allows me to be 100% authentically myself in my music.
TYF: On the topic of YouTube, you just released your cover of “Crazy” a week ago and it looks amazing. Why was it you chose this song to cover?
Melo: The reason isn’t very deep or interesting. I have been singing this song around the house and in the shower since it came out… It’s one of my favorite pop songs, and somewhat recently Gnarls Barkley did a performance on the series, The Basement Tapes, where he did a slowed-down, ballad version of the song. I loved the feeling of it, and I wanted to take a crack at my own rendition.
TYF: Normally, what is your decision process like when choosing what songs to cover for YouTube?
Melo: Picking a song is 50% songs that I really want to sing and 50% songs I know my subscribers want to hear me sing. A lot of times those two things are compatible and sometimes they’re not. Like for a year straight people requested for me to perform Creep by Radiohead, and because I am very familiar with the Radiohead catalog, I know that they have way better songs that I’d much rather cover. So, I kept putting it off till one day I decided that it would make a few people really happy if I fulfilled there requests. When I did do it, I was so pleased with the feedback! I should have done it a long time ago.
TYF: From covering to actually making your own music, what can our readers expect on your upcoming sophomore EP Mute?
Melo: In the Fall! But, there will be singles released all throughout the summer.
TYF: This EP is also based off a personal experience you went through. Having to go through an emergency vocal surgery, do you remember what were some of your biggest fears and thoughts running through your head at the time?
Melo: The big one was that I’d never be able to sing again, and that I would lose my purpose. This fear was seemingly becoming a reality for the following year and a half. I couldn’t sing comfortably for a very long time, and still can’t sometimes. For better or worse, the surgery happened but moving past it and putting myself out there again has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.