Campus News

Melanie Martinez talks about songwriting, new album ‘Cry Baby’

By Jesus J Montero | Posted February 10, 2015

Malenie Martinez By Jesus J Montero

Since gaining national attention on NBC’s “The Voice,” singer Melanie Martinez has been making a name for herself. She released her first EP, “The Dollhouse” in 2014, and is about to finish a nationwide tour. Her full-length debut album “Cry Baby” is set to release on Atlantic Records this spring.


Martinez, 19, proved to be a fan favorite on “The Voice,” and her song “Carousel” was featured in the trailer for FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” The music videos for “Dollhouse” and Carousel” have garnered millions of views on YouTube, in which Martinez offers a twisted look into her childhood through her lyrics.


Martinez’s writing is what really sets her apart from her contemporaries. Her childhood themes and signature vocals bring a great sense of immediate intimacy with her fans and first-time listeners.



Can you talk about the effort you put in for your first album?


M.M: I’ve been writing it for a year. It’s definitely been a long process. The first couple of the songs on the album that I ever wrote were “Dollhouse and Carousel”—those are on the EP. I was kind of just really inspired by my childhood and wanted to make sure that this album kind of portrayed what I was feeling at the time.


How I look at it is, albums [represent] phases in an artist’s life and I feel that this is a huge phase that I’m going through with my life. I’m really excited to put it out and have people listen to the stories I’ve been writing.


Your music fuses childhood situations with underlying dark messages. What would you say was the hardest message to write lyrics for or to actually record?


M.M: Some things are inspired by things I don’t go through and some things are inspired by things I do go though. The hardest things to talk about are the things I’m going through, and even though songwriting is like theory, it is really hard to get all that stuff when it’s personal. I have this one happier love song on the album and I think it was the hardest one to write for me because I’m just so used to writing sad songs, like really messed up, twisted songs. That’s something I’ve never really done before so I feel like that was probably the hardest thing to write about.


You’ve said before that your writing is expression of you and your childhood. How does it feel to have fans singing along with your songs and completely relating to you?


M.M: It’s definitely the greatest feeling ever. I’m so happy and just grateful that people spend the time listening to the music and listening to the lyrics and relate to it and feel the need to sing along at shows. I feel like that means so much more to me than anything else in this career. That’s something that’s super important to me.


On the subject of your interest in photography, what do you enjoy shooting?


 M.M: I just love being able to express myself in any art form possible. I love taking photos because it’s kind of like, I just love telling stories by any median really, whether I can draw it or paint it or even my makeup. I just want to do anything that can help me express how I’m feeling or things I want to say. I feel like it’s so important to get a lot of stuff out when you’re super emotional. I’m just a very emotional human being so I always try to find an outlet.


Photography is such a huge thing for me. I don’t ever really have time anymore to take pictures of other people, but when the album comes out I’m hoping to be able to put together a portfolio of work with visuals that represent each song. That would be a huge goal of mine. It would be a great accomplishment if I can execute that.


Do you feel that you’ve changed as a songwriter and as a person since you began making music?


M.M: When I was younger I used to write about dark subjects and there would never be any contrast. I was figuring out how to write about what I wanted to talk about. I had no way of making it so it wasn’t so blunt. I feel like now I’ve kind of worked at putting different things together and making them more creative, being able to express something in a better way. Being able to add that little extra glitter on it so that is package is better. Working on what I want to say and thinking of new things.


Story writing is so strange because one day you can just have like a really bad day with writing and can only write the [worst] songs ever, and then the next day write some of your best, so I feel like it’s really hard to grow as a song writer. I can kind of mold things better now and express myself the way that I want to now.


You’ve been on tour for quite some time now. What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you’re done touring?


M.M: I’m going to go back to New York and watch the “50 Shades of Grey” movie because it comes out the day I get back, which is Valentine’s Day. Hangout with my friends and chill out. I’m going to write a lot of music. I really want to get on writing for other people. Since I’m done with my album now I kind of just want to write for other people. Hopefully be able to help other artists with music, which is a huge dream of mine


 When you were a child what was the thing that scared you the most?



 M.M: Honestly, the dark scared me the most out of anything. It’s weird; I’ve spent my whole life leaving the TV on, leaving the light on in my closet. Even to this day I can’t deny that I’ve just always been afraid of the dark and alone. It’s so scary to me.




  What’s one of your favorite guilty pleasures?



  M.M: I love all cartons. That’s like my life. I like listening to really ratchet rap music in the car—I guess that’s called a guilty pleasure (laughs).







 Checkout Melanie Martinez’s video to her single “Dollhouse”

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