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Meet Ms. Melodysiac

Meet Ms. Melodysiac

When I was 13 years old, I remember the first time I reluctantly picked up a composition book and a black pen. For whatever reason, it was stuck in my head that people with important things to say housed them in these speckled notebooks. The pen I chose was a black ballpoint. My mother always told me that scholars wrote in black ink. These tiny details were the first pieces of the puzzle that paved my path to becoming a writer.

When I was 13 years old, I remember the first time I reluctantly picked up a composition book and a black pen. For whatever reason, it was stuck in my head that people with important things to say housed them in these speckled notebooks. The pen I chose was a black ballpoint. My mother always told me that scholars wrote in black ink. These tiny details were the first pieces of the puzzle that paved my path to becoming a writer.  I recall lighting a stick of incense and writing about this deep, dark fictional world that existed in my head. It was that odd stage of life – the awkward phase in middle school – when everyone was trying to be shelved under some nifty little label. The strange part was that for some reason, defining ourselves through the music we listened to actually held some sort of credibility. At that time, I was digging through the CD racks looking for tunes by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Bush, Silverchair, The Smashing Pumpkins and 311 – all while my big brother schooled me on the importance of the East Coast/West Coast hip-hop game. Then came the Hanson phase. Yes, I was one of those girls who fell slave to tween mania, and I wallpapered my room in pin-ups from Bop and Tiger Beat. It seemed okay at the time, especially when being compared to modern-day Beatles antics. One thing always rang true – my passion for music was always full-throttle.

By the time I reached high school, I sported a fresh feminist glow, along with a new musical obsession. It manifested in the form of one Ani DiFranco. I remember paying $300 for a front row ticket to her show at the Jackie Gleason Theatre (now the Fillmore Miami Beach), dragging a friend from school. After the show, we waited outside near the load-in, hoping DiFranco would make it out there. I knew she had to eventually get back onto the tour bus. My life changed as the 5-foot folk phenom strolled out of the venue. Her tiny stature was so petite compared to her huge stage presence. Her dreadlocks were messy and meaty, her goofy smile was teethy. My friend snapped a photo of DiFranco and me, and for the first time in my life, I stood awe-struck. There was so much I wanted to ask her, so much I wanted to know. I’d learned so much about life through looping her albums. Alas, there was no time to chat, and I was left with a simple commemorative image that – in my mind – exploded with emotional fireworks. The next day, I wrote a narrative about the experience in my journal for English class and was the first one up to share.

It was also in high school that I first fell in love with the genre of jam. I listened to Phish albums, dressed in whimsical getups and shifted my fixation on one little dancing man and his cacophonous entourage. The Dave Matthews Band was the first time I was ever able to appreciate a live jam in-person. In my head, instruments were making sweet love, creating an original soundtrack each night for a different audience. I remembering feeling like I’d witnessed the dedication a band had for its craft, and everything that went into creating a show-stopping performance.

In college, I must have driven all my roommates crazy. I was in that in-between phase of running around with hippies and sorority chicks, but somehow, I felt I was still that shapeshifter inside, trying to get cozy in my skin. I remember road trips to Jacksonville and all the way up to Athens, Georgia to catch my DiFranco fix. I never found that crowd of concert kids I was looking for. I felt stuck. Sure, I had some great friendships, but that live music loving crew just seemed a little late for my party. Instead, I polished up on my love for classic rock, which my dad had introduced me to back in the early years of high school. I listened to Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Genesis. The early ‘00s were a weird time for music. Much was in transition and I felt the only thing I could connect was my booty with some bass (like a true Miami girl). I hit the clubs regularly and worked it out on the dance floor. Then, something amazing happened. A girl who grew up on my street started playing gigs. Her name was Steph Taylor. She attracted a hardcore femme crowd at pubs and dives around Gainesville. I became an avid follower of Taylor’s local tour, learning her catalogue and requesting covers at shows. Her voice was angelic, her piano was gentle and her guitar was soothing. Ironically enough, from 500 miles away, Taylor made me feel home again.

So, how did I get here today? Hard work at the University of Florida as a journalism major broke in my byline, and taught me the importance of organized expression. I found my niche as a lifestyle and entertainment writer, and when I returned to Miami after those four defining years in Gainesville, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It took me a while to muster up the courage to write a show review. I found a lot of music writers were actually musicians themselves. And that was intimidating. They had an education in music terminology. I preferred to write from the heart. Someone once told me I was the voice of the music fan that could seldom put an experience into words. I’ve since adapted that mantra and made it my mission.

On this road to musical discovery, I fell in love with underground electronic music. But, it wasn’t until I was mature enough to appreciate the marriage of genres and the strength of electronic fusion that my passion became necessary to document. Some of my favorite live acts today are utilizing the most innovative gadgets to enhance their sound. And for me, in 2011, the soundtrack of my life has come a long way. I’ve graduated from Hanson and moved on to the Disco Biscuits. I’ve found the butterflies again with another band – and for me, there’s no better feeling than goose bumps surfacing on my skin as my favorite quartet takes me along for their spectacular ride.

My career highlights include a bevy of exciting interviews, music fest adventures and awkward phoners with artists on tour. Some of my most notable subjects have included the Disco Biscuits, Lil Wayne, The String Cheese Incident, Phish, Furthur, Perpetual Groove, Dave Matthews Band, Ani DiFranco, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Shpongle, Bassnectar, members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Tegan & Sara, LCD Soundsystem, Simian Mobile Disco, Santigold, Diplo, Justice, Deadmau5, Pretty Lights, STS9, The Glitch Mob, Holy Ghost!, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Steve Aoki, Conspirator, Chromeo, The Magician, Boys Noize, Ratatat, A-Trak, Little Dragon, The Rapture, Cut Copy, Keller Williams, Zach Deputy, Telepath, MSTRKRFT, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Citizen Cope and State Radio, just to name a few. Over the past six years, I’ve been blessed to be able to write about many of the artists on my personal music timeline. When I started writing about music festivals in 2008, I was in awe of the culture. For the first time, I fit comfortably in my own skin. A lot of people find it hard to put such an eccentric community into words, but the freedom and acceptance this scene has provided me with makes it so much easier to write from the heart. From ULTRA to Rothbury, Bear Creek to Lollapalooza, the people I’ve met and the music I’ve heard have enriched the life that I live. It’s with grace that I can humbly say at 27, I love what I do.

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victor

November 21st, 2011

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