Originally from Santa Cruz, up-and-coming artist, songwriter, and producer Melaku is bringing a new sound to the table.
From a young age, Melaku found inspiration in the classic rock, pop, soul, and Motown music that his parents played around the house. Taking this into his present-day styling, his music merges the heart of the classics with the vibe of today’s pop chart-toppers to keep audiences of all ages returning for more.
Bringing a nostalgic swing to the vivacious dynamism surfacing from his most recent single, “Still Within,” Melaku plays upon the warmth of golden notes that shimmer on the canvas of your mind.
Utilizing the space within the instrumentation in a way that ties all musical elements together in an atmospheric, yet forward environment, Melaku’s profound vocalization cascades upon the melodies radiated.
Delving into a narrative that serves as a reminder for when things in the outside world seem hectic, we always have the option to find peace within, the messaging rests well in the buoyant energy that is delivered from the resonance before us. Envisioning the lyrical motifs performed in a manner that has animated illustrations leaping from the creative sectors of our mind, Melaku is a wizard at breaking down your imagination to portray exactly what he feels.
Congratulations on the brilliantly crafted “Still Within," welcome to BuzzMusic Melaku. With such an important message coming from this song, was there a particular moment or story that helped to shape this single?
Thank you! The inspiration for the song was initially a friend who was going through some life changes and learning how to live more from the heart. They were kind of closed off emotionally before, from trauma or whatever else. But meditation and getting still within was starting to pay off. And so I wrote it kind of for them and kind of as a reminder to myself about what’s possible by just being in the moment.
You’ve had the opportunity to intern in the A&R department of JIVE Records, among other prestigious companies. How has this experience inspired the route of your artistry?
My internships and experiences in the industry in various capacities gave me a lot of insights into creativity; how songs are produced at a high level. And I think when I saw that, it made me want to do that myself. I loved studying the songwriting and production of the different people I met and was learning about. And to be honest I think it also made me realize that the music business can often be unfair to artists with unique messages, and made me want to pursue a more independent path.
Could you please share a glimpse into what it was like creating “Still Within?"
I wrote the song on acoustic guitar initially. I wanted something with a cool change from the verse chords to the chorus, and I think this song has that. I’ve played it at a bunch of gigs, honing the feel and getting ideas for how I want the production to sound. I recorded it in my studio in Santa Cruz, playing acoustic and electric guitar parts, bass, keys/synths, and an electronic drum set. I wanted it to sound like modern pop, but still have a retro rock feel with a live band element, which is a feature I incorporate in pretty much all my tracks.
Is this a lesson that you’ve learned earlier on in life, or do you find you still work daily to achieve that inner peace? Any words of advice to your audience that may be feeling a bit stuck?
I think that I’ve always been kind of an old soul, but I was definitely stressed out up until the middle of college. I was trying to succeed, trying to “prove” something, to my parents or whoever…society. But around that time that I was becoming my own person, in New York, surrounded by the city, I was simultaneously going through a spiritual awakening that made me want to take up the path towards inner peace. After going through that journey, I definitely have to do something daily to get back to center…whether that’s breathing, meditation, stretching, being in nature. I think the advice I would give is to take the time to love yourself and learn what it is that works for you to get to a place where you aren’t thinking about the outside world. Maybe the trick is to treat the space between your temples as a temple.
Can you tell us more about the music video?
This music video was super fun to make. We did two main shoots, one in the hills of Salinas, California, and one in Santa Cruz, CA, which is my hometown. I was lucky enough to be able to have it directed by a good friend, and also have it feature the talents of a few of my close friends as well, including things like belly dancing and fire dancing, both circular to represent the idea of life and nature being always in motion, yet inviting us into stillness in the center of it all.