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UK-based singer set to rock the rooftops with House of Melody

Joanna Dhanraj

July 22, 2021 03:18 AM

Melody Thomas is a singer/songwriter pursuing a career in the music industry in the United Kingdom, perfecting her talent in the Reggae and R&B genres.

Born Amelia Thomas in the community of Haslington on the East Coast Demerara, Melody was about three years old when she left for the UK with her family. As a girl growing up, the singer shared, she was witty and outgoing while at secondary school. She participated in almost all the talent shows.

“I would be in the toilet on my lunch break singing at the top of my lungs,” laughed Melody. Performing arts was her favourite subject in school and for her it has always been about singing, writing, and dancing. “I can rock the rooftops,” she said about dancing.

Melody during a performance.

Drawing inspiration from Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, Whitney Houston, Mark Batson and Guyanese artistes, Charmaine Blackman, and Big Red, Melody shared that she originally started in the entertainment arena as a songwriter for other artistes in the UK. It was 18 years ago that Melody picked up a pen and paper to write her first professional song. She began to do her own music three years later.

The artiste said she initially began in the industry with a music band which led to her writing songs for them and other singers. Melody eventually found herself doing backup vocals in the studio. The singer shared that though she started out as a songwriter, she had always wanted to be a singer ever since she was a girl growing up.

Asked why she waited for three years to take up singing professionally since it was always a dream of hers, Melody said she felt like she needed the confidence to do so. During the three years when she was a songwriter and backup vocalist she gained the necessary experience to bring her own art to an audience.

“There are also times I did vocal lessons to make sure that I have the right sound,” she said.

The singer recalled her first performance done at a huge theatre before a crowd of 3,000. She performed an original song. “It was scary. The whole performance, I was shaking. My friends who were backstage were close enough, they could see me shaking. They said to me, they couldn’t hear it in my voice, but they could see my legs shaking,” said Melody.

The feedback following her performance was great. She was told that she was good at singing and that she needed to take music more seriously. The artiste shared that because she was a bit on the heavy side, she was always self-conscious. Friends would often tell her that she was beautiful and could sing and these words went a far way in boosting her self-confidence.

It was about a year later that Melody took to the stage again.

At present, Melody has ten original music tracks out and hundreds that are still to be recorded and released. Among the artistes she has written songs for are Skinny Man and Joe Tex. The latter is a UK-based Guyanese, while Skinny Man is a British rapper.

On August 7, Melody released the Reggae song, “You Shoulda Told Me”. She is linked to an international distribution company that has distributed her songs to a number of online platforms including Spotify and iTunes. The singer noted that the company usually distributes for singers attached to record labels but for some reason she was accepted as an independent artiste.

Three of her Reggae songs have been made into music videos and uploaded to YouTube – “Love Everlasting”, “Lonely One”, and “Save Our Souls”.

That last song is about violence that black people face with the police and the justice system across the world right now. “I wrote this a while ago but since this whole new incident with George Floyd, I found a lot of radio stations across the world are playing it again and it’s back on the top charts,” she said.

“Being a singer/songwriter, I get to express my feelings and emotions in a positive way. There are loads of people out there who can’t find an avenue to release their stresses and that’s one of the things that helps me to get by sometimes. It’s relaxing and it helps me to communicate with the world, how I feel.

“I want my music to be relatable, that persons would say it had feelings and that it had soul and basically that I worked hard to define my craft.”

Speaking about being an independent artiste, Melody said she worked with record labels before and came to realize that a lot of times the management and label are not 100 percent forward with all the aspects of being an artiste, nor are they paying the right wage. This led Melody to develop her own label. ‘House of Melody’ has knocked out the middleman. She is now looking to sign Guyanese artistes so that they can get their music distributed. She noted that a lot of Guyanese artistes are not getting that here.

The singer added that she is not against signing artistes who are not from Guyana but is looking more into helping her own people as she sees there is a need for it. She hopes that in several years’ time, House of Melody would become one of the leading record labels in Guyana and she would be a household name across the world as a Reggae artiste.

One of the challenges as an artiste in the industry, she said, was finding people who are genuinely looking to support artistes and promote their work.

The pandemic, she said, has affected the music industry drastically preventing artistes from making their earnings through shows and gigs. She went on to say that with the recent release of “You Shoulda Told Me”, had there not been the COVID crisis, she would have been touring right now.

Reflecting on her most memorable experience in the music industry, Melody recalled that it was when she came to Guyana for the Guyanese Music Awards. At that time, she had just released a couple of Reggae songs and an R&B song which saw her in the running for a couple of awards. She was asked to perform at the National Cultural Centre when she found out that she won the Best R&B Female, the Best Lovers’ Rock Female, and the Newcomer of the Year awards.

Melody has also done performances at the National Stadium, in Canada at the Canadian Reggae Festival, at shows in France as well as in the United States.

She is currently in Guyana and shared that prior to coming to Guyana she worked as a music consultant in the UK helping artistes to copyright their music and providing licenses to nightclubs among other duties. Since returning to Guyana, Melody has started her own business here called ‘Brazen Lingerie’. While Brazen Lingerie is an online store, she is looking to have a physical location in Georgetown in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Melody is hoping to return to the UK next year if all goes well. She added that the pandemic is worse there and she, her husband and children feel safer here for the time being. Melody pointed out that she has all the right studio equipment set up to continue recording her music here.

Right now, Melody is working on a new genre of music, Dancehall. She is looking to recruit some of the best Guyanese Dancehall artistes some 20 to be part of what she is working on. She is also collaborating with some bigger producers in the UK to get the song released and is hoping to do so by the end of the year if all goes smoothly.

Melody can be followed on Facebook at Melody Thomas Music.