If you follow Melii on Instagram, you probably get a kick out of her hilarious memes. But more importantly, you get her positive, genuine energy promoting nothing but self-love, self-worth, and keeping it 100 in absolutely everything she does.
Hailing from Harlem, the bilingual rapper, singer, and songwriter has one of the most distinct voices in the music industry. Whether she’s rapping her ass off in Spanish or serenading her ex boo thangs, fans can’t get enough of her braggadocious lyrics, catchy hooks, and effortless ability to lay down bars over the most aggressive production.
Melii first broke into the mainstream light when her remix of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” went viral in December 2017, but it was her 2018 single “Icey” that caught the attention. This is a bad bitch anthem as you walk into any function! With both an English and Spanish version, the 21-year-old quickly became an international force to be reckoned with.
Earlier this year in March, Melii unleashed her debut project, Phases, which followed the success of radio hit “HML” featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. The 14-track project gave fans an intimate look into her journey from up-and-coming artist to signing with Interscope records. It’s her honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability in admitting her own struggles in life that fans relate to most, yielding a friendly reminder that we all go through things in life, but mental health is key.
Fast forward to today, the artist has opened for Summer Walker on her “First and Last Tour,” which followed an explosive run opening for Meek Mill on his “Championships Tour.” Each one of her sets was laced with incredible stage presence and fire backup dancers, winning every attendee over in the room instantaneously.
REVOLT caught up with Melii backstage at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles to discuss touring, signing to Tory Lanez, her dating preferences, and more. Read below.
How’s tour been like opening for Summer Walker?
Tour has been amazing. Summer is just an amazing person. We’re very alike. We have the same outlook on things. Our attitude is very, ‘I don’t give a fuck.’ So, the day goes smoothly because it’s two people who are just like, ‘Alright come on, let’s do this shit.’ And we love our fans.
Your dancers were going in. Talk about your ability to put on a show.
Yes, my dancers are amazing. They all are individually, uniquely, just poppin’. They all have a lot of attitude. When they’re around, it adds to my music because music is supposed to paint pictures and give emotions, and they give that off. With me, I started knowing how to connect with the crowd and talking because of my DJ. My DJ and I go over stuff on how to better communicate with the crowd. Sometimes we have tough crowds, but as long as we keep the energy going, it’s all good.
How’d you find your DJ?
Well, my DJ interviewed me when I first started music. I always had clicked with him because he was cool. One day, I was just like, ‘Let me give him the opportunity to come on tour with me,’ and he did it.
You guys brought that East Coast vibe.
Yeah, he’s dope. He’s from New York. He deejays Uptown and other clubs, so he knows how to interact.
What’s been the greatest memory?
The greatest memory I think… finally seeing Summer (chuckles). We didn’t see each other the whole time. Then, on Halloween, we crossed paths. After that, we actually started talking to each other more. That was good because it’s a natural relationship.
I saw your post about wanting to repay your mom. How would you define success?
Success is when she no longer has to work. That’s why the post hit home.
‘Slow For Me’ is at over 2.2 million views on Youtube. What was the best memory from that video shoot with Tory?
What the fuck was the best memory? Oh, there was this fake car scene. We were basically fighting over getting the camera time because we’re very much alike.
How did you guys meet initially?
I brought him up when I first got signed because I would listen to his music. I got signed to Joie Manda with Interscope and I had showed him ‘Slow For Me.’ So, I basically had ‘Slow For Me’ before I even came into the label. I’m like, ‘Oh if I sign to you guys, can we get Tory Lanez on it?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah.’ Then, he was the first industry friend and the first feature that I got. From there, we just built.
Was he who you thought he’d be?
Yeah, he’s very funny. He’s down-to-earth. He has his days, but he’s a very good person. Kind-hearted person.
Why did you decide to sign with him?
Because Tory’s like my best friend. I can always run to him about stuff, especially with the industry. I’ve learned from him. Throughout the time I’ve been signed, the only person that I could talk to about how to move was him. So, who else? When things didn’t go right, who else to lean on but a friend? Somebody who’s been there regardless of the times. Even now, he takes care of me with a lot of things.
What are some of the bullshit parts of this industry?
Nothing. It’s all about how you make it, the time that you create with your team because the time with your team is what takes up most of your day.
What is the best advice Tory has given you?
It would be two. He told me, ‘It’s better to be happy than right.’ He told me something that I think somebody else told him: ‘If you’re on a plane, you can’t put the mask on somebody else. You got to put the mask on yourself.’ Basically, you have to take care of yourself before taking care of others.
What’s the dynamic in the studio with him? Did you learn anything?
It’s smooth, very smooth. We’re very similar in our artistry… We’re actually coming out with a project. We’re coming out tackling Spanish, we’re tackling other genres.
I love all your positive affirmations on IG. Talk about promoting positivity on your platform and keeping it all the way real.
Yes, living real is a lifestyle. If you live real lifestyle, you’re true to yourself. It just goes smoother, you feel me? Because when you’re living to other people’s expectations or you’re trying to do things for others, you’re not living for yourself. Even when things go wrong and you feel like you failed, but you didn’t fail. You failed because you’re expecting other people to see these goals that you accomplished. But, in reality, it’s up to you to just live life. Living life means failure and falling, and getting back up and being real.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on IG?
My favorite person to follow on IG is my other DJ Odalys. Odalys is such a free soul. She’s everywhere. She’ll be in Tokyo one day, she’s in China [the next]. Then, she’ll randomly call us like, ‘Whores, where ya’ll at?’ Then, you just see her on FaceTime somewhere else in the world. She’s such a free spirit.
Talk about hopping on the ‘My Type’ Latin remix!
Yes, it was with Becky G and Saweetie. It was a good experience. It was different because I’ve never been with just girls on one track. Even then to now, I opened it up for more females to do music together.
Who or what inspired ‘No Hard Feelings’?
It’s two different people that inspired it.
Do they know it’s about them?
Ummm, no. One of them doesn’t know because the first verse is about one person and the second is about another.
My dating life is alright (laughs).
Do you even have time?
No girl, but you can always make time for some dick (chuckles). Let me stop. Actually… I talk to people. I’m all about dating.
What does Melii look for in a man?
I look for consistency, romance, detail, honesty, spontaneous, an adventurous person. Kind to others. A God-fearing man, and just somebody that can learn your love language.
You’re always snatched. What’s your secret?
Girl, I wake up bad, yes. But my glam team, we be doing that.
Even the hair though!
Yes, the hair. Right now, I bleached it, so it’s kind of fucked up. But, it always keeps the curl pattern.
What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
To enjoy what I do. You have to enjoy what you do. I just always want to be a God-fearing woman that enjoys what she does. Get that money and loves her man, and her man loves her.