Her name is Melanie Faye.
Late last year, the now 20-year-old Nashville R&B guitarist found herself rocketed into the spotlight after a YouTube video went viral. Currently, Faye has no traditional body of work (though she is in the process of co-producing her pending EP, HomoPhone). Instead, Faye’s catalog consists largely of YouTube videos and covers of popular songs, which run the gamut from Mariah Carey to Brockhampton. The videos typically find Faye cross-legged on her bedroom floor, strumming and picking out effortless melodies with sublime musicality.
In this current Internet age, it could go without saying that the music industry has shifted dramatically (sometimes forcefully, sometimes gracefully). And while there are undoubtedly pitfalls to social media, there are upsides. Musicians and fans alike have adapted to the different ways of sharing and finding new music. YouTube, Instagram, and other content-sharing platforms enable unique voices, like Faye’s, to be heard.
“It was cool to see my page go from less than 950 followers to 20,000 in 19 hours,” said Faye. “I had just got done performing as an opener for an unestablished local band in front of an audience of 20 when I went viral.” The next day, FADER wrote an article about Faye, Shawn Mendes followed her, and Fender reached out to make Faye one of their artists.
But then came the pitfalls. “When I went viral, hundreds of thousands of people began sampling me,” said Faye. There was no permission granted, no credit given, and no royalties received for these samples—but the quality of the beats actually inspired Faye. “I felt empowered to start producing my own music."
However, music production, like guitar, is an art of its own that requires time and nurturing. Faye admits that her production skills have yet to meet her musical abilities and has since decided to co-produce her EP with experienced producers of her choice. “I am a major perfectionist and do not want novice production limiting the potential of my songs.”
When asked what she would say to other girls pursuing music, Faye said, “My advice is to always remember why you started loving music. Also, the business is never about the money, but always about the terms. In other words, exude confidence and know your worth.”
To see more videos of Melanie, follow her on Youtube and instagram @rainbow_fever_1998_.