Melanie Martinez is growing up and her voice is being heard

By Branna Calloway

Photos by Bridgette Aikens

August 30,  2015

On the way to a dentist appointment in Manhattan to help preserve the amiable gap-toothed smile that fans have fallen madly in love with, we had a chance to chat with rising singer/songwriter Melanie Martinez. Martinez played Charlotte venue, Amos’ Southend, last Wednesday. She’s currently on tour to support her new album, Cry Baby and its hot singles, “Pity Party,” “Soap,” and “Sippy Cup.”

The album revolves around a character aptly named “Cry Baby,” whose life experiences, though very much her own, tend to mirror those of Martinez.

Portrait by Bridgette Aikens

“My childhood, situations I’ve been through and things I’ve experienced have inspired the album. I pieced it together from beginning to end, making sure it all fit together to tell the story of Cry Baby’s life.”

Martinez herself grew up in Baldwin, New York, on Long Island. Then in 2012, her life began to change starting with a spot on season three of The Voice with coach Adam Levine.

“I auditioned because I really wanted to try and figure out a way to get myself out there. Music was the only thing I really clung to.”

THE VOICE -- "Live Show" Episode 321B -- Pictured: (l-r) Nicholas David, Melanie Martinez -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
THE VOICE — “Live Show” Episode 321B — Pictured: (l-r) Nicholas David, Melanie Martinez — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

Though she was eliminated in week five, Martinez’s star was just beginning to rise.

“Carousel,” from her 2014 EP Dollhouse, was featured in a preview for FX’s miniseries American Horror Story: Freak Show, eventually going on to inspire the theme song, which riffed from it. Her current single, “Pity Party” was a take on the Leslie Gore classic “It’s My Party” told through the eyes of Cry Baby.

Photo by Bridgette Aikens

“It was awesome to write [along with Kara DioGuardi from American Idol fame] because I love music from the ‘50s and ‘60s.”

Melanie, who is also a gifted photographer, actually directed the video for “Pity Party.”

“This is my third video, and I just wanted to do it myself. Every single song connects to each other, and this song was a turning point in the story when no one shows up to her party and she shifts personalities a little. It’s really hard for people to understand what I’m talking about without the visuals that support my music. I’m happy that I did it. It pushed me into this world where I can keep doing that and get better.”

Photo by Bridgette Aikens

By the way, she cites Tim Burton as an influence, especially with dark picture landscapes.

This will not be the last we see of little Miss Cry Baby.

“This album is an actual storybook, and I would love to make one for every album. I just want to tell stories through my music. As I have more experiences that shape my music, the sound will change, but I definitely want to continue Cry Baby’s story in the same world, same concept.”

Photo by Bridgette Aikens

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