melanie martinez : our favorite cry baby

Artists like Melanie Martinez are rare creatures. Like a unicorn, she transcends times and genres, and creates music that doesn’t sound like anybody else. We caught up with Mel for an inside scoop on her new album, personal style, and thoughts on being a role model.

WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION BEHIND PITY PARTY?

I love songs from the 50’s and 60’s. Pity Party is a new version of the “it’s my party” story. In the Lesley Gore song, Johnny left her party with another girl. In Pity Party, I invite “Johnny” and other people but no one shows up. I wrote the song with Kara Diaguardi and CJ Baran. Kara said my voice reminded her of Judy Garland. We started to explore that vibe heavily, but I still wanted to keep within the theme of my album. It’s My Party is not only a brilliant and classic song that gave me inspiration, but I was able to still keep within my childhood theme and talk about the birthday party that went all wrong. This song is a transition moment in Cry Baby’s life in the album. It’s when she feels like she loses everything and evolves into a more confident and “hard” person.
This song is definitely more challenging on my voice than anything I’ve ever done, but I’m really excited to start playing it live and bring out a different side of me in my performance!

YOU ARE A TRIPLE THREAT: SONGWRITER, SINGER AND PHOTOGRAPHER. HOW DO YOU APPLY YOUR MULTIPLE PASSIONS IN YOUR WORK? 

I definitely try to fit everything together. When I’m writing a song I usually see a music video in my head and really vivid visuals along with the song.  I don’t have time to shoot photos the way I used to, but I do get to take my own artist photos and set up shoots and music videos, so that makes me super happy.

WE LOVE YOUR VINTAGE-INSPIRED STYLE THAT’S ALL YOUR OWN. WHERE DO YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?

I draw inspiration from my childhood. I also love love love vintage stuff and collect vintage toys from the 50’s and 60’s. Currently, my favorite thing to do is get vintage lingerie or dresses and just hand sew random things on them – stuffed animals, marabou feathers… I just love anything pastel, fluffy, and anything that reminds me of being a little girl again.

Melanie is wearing Velvetines lipstick in ‘Pansy’.

YOU HAVE SEVERAL TATTOOS. WHAT WAS THE STORY BEHIND YOUR LATEST ONE & ARE YOU PLANNING TO GET MORE?

I just got a little angel cherub on my leg by this sweet artist Ashley at Magic Cobra Tattoo in Brooklyn. I saw her work online and really loved this design and immediately set up an appointment. I’m getting a few more done in a couple of days by my friend Lauren Winzer who did the carousel horse and candy hearts on my left arm. I’m really excited!

YOUR HALF-AND-HALF HAIRSTYLE: WHAT DOES IT REPRESENT?

When I was younger I wanted to bleach my hair so badly. And my mom never let me. I was watching 101 Dalmatians and told my mom I was going to dye my hair like Cruella. She thought I was joking. I went to the salon and called her and told her I was really doing it. She still didn’t believe me… I came home and she was sitting on the couch. She only saw the black side of my hair and basically sighed in relief. Then I faced her, showed her my hair and she freaked out! She didn’t talk to me for a week. Now she loves it of course. 🙂

DOE DEERE DID YOUR MAKEUP FOR THE PITY PARTY VIDEO. TELL US ABOUT THE LOOKS YOU’VE CREATED TOGETHER AND THE IDEA BEHIND THEM.

Doe is definitely one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I still can’t believe she was so down to do my makeup for Pity Party. It was really last minute and she was all about it. I’m so happy to call her a good friend of mine, it’s really rare that you meet people who motivate you and inspire you as much as she does.

That was definitely my favorite makeup I’ve had for a music video. I told her I was going for the classic baby girl from the 50’s vibe and she nailed it. The clown look was my favorite – it was inspired by awesome artists like Natasha Lillipore and the lovely Pidgin Doll, created by Joshua McKenney.

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First look: 1950s babydoll. Melanie is wearing Riot and Palette d’Antoinette.

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Letting the crazy out: Melanie in Venus palette and Riot Velvetine.

MOST PEOPLE REMEMBER YOU AS A CONTESTANT ON THE VOICE. WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIKE ON THE SHOW? DO YOU STILL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH ANY OF THE GUYS OR THE JUDGES? 

It was a great experience, although it was hard for me, as a songwriter, to have to sing covers every week. I just wanted to do my own thing and I’m happy that I get to do that now. I made really amazing life-long friends from the show and I think that’s the best thing I’ve taken from it.

FILMS, BOOKS, ART? 

I love cartoons and horror movies. A couple visual artists I love are Mark Ryden and Nicoletta Ceccoli. Tim Burton has always had a huge influence on my music/visuals as well.

WE LOVE YOUR RETRO-DOLLY MAKEUP. WHAT WAS THE FIRST LIME CRIME PRODUCT YOU’VE EVER TRIED & WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE NOW? 

Thanks! The first product I’ve ever tried was the Unicorn Lipsticks! My go-to lipstick was always Chinchilla. I also had a big mixing phase: I loved mixing D’lilac and No She Didn’t! Styletto is also a big one for me. My favorite products currently are the Velvetines –  Riot & Pansy are my everyday colors!

ALL YOUR SONGS ARE SOCIAL COMMENTARY OF SOME SORT. WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND DOLLHOUSE?

Dollhouse was the start to the whole childhood-themed-songs-paired-with-adult-situations concept. I was clinging to toy sounds and that sparked an interest in the little kid themes. Dollhouse the song is about not assuming that something is perfect just because it looks that way. There’s always something deeper behind the curtain. People think artists/celebrities have to be perfect or hold up a certain image because they’re in the public eye. I think it’s stupid that if I, or anyone in the spotlight, says something honest or shows that they’re a human, people feel the need to judge them so harshly. They feel the need to call us bad role models if we say something stupid, or show any imperfections at all. I think it’s important to be real with people and show them that no one is perfect and that’s what makes us unique and really cool as humans. If being a fake Barbie doll with no emotions means being a good role model, then I’d rather be the “worst role model” ever!

MELANIE-sitting

TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM, CRY BABY. WHEN IS IT COMING OUT AND WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT? 

Cry Baby comes out August 14thIt’s heavily inspired by my childhood – all of the song titles are very kid/baby related, except it’s pretty explicit and very dark. It was really fun playing with that contrast between light and dark. Cry Baby is a conceptual album; it’s the story of a little girl, Cry Baby’s, life. As a child, I got called ‘crybaby’ a lot – I always took things personally and cried over everything! This character is kind of a fairytale version of myself, but not a perfect princess version; she represents the imperfect, dark, and crazy part of me.

What should my fans expect? A story. Every song connects and they’re all part of a bigger picture. Cry Baby changes through the album, she goes from being super vulnerable and insecure to comfortable with being insane and imperfect. As I was writing this album, that’s kind of what happened to me. I feel like a different person from the time I started this album to now; I feel more comfortable in my skin. I hope this album can do the same for others who’ve felt like a bit of a crybaby.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A GIRL TRYING TO FIND HERSELF IN THE WORLD? 

Explore your options, because you have so many! Be open minded. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Always go with your gut feeling. Use your shitty experiences to fuel your creativity. Don’t be afraid to embrace the crazy part of yourself! And when the haters come out to play, that’s when you know you’ve found yourself because you stand for something!

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Follow Melanie on IG @littlebodybigheart and visit her site for upcoming shows (she’s awesome live).

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