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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Rue Melo
Monday, October 15, 2007

After listening to just the first verse of the first song on tri-lingual beauty Rue Melo’s self-titled debut album I was hooked. I knew she was an artist I wanted to know more about. It turns out her music is the result of a mix of influences due in part to her background of being both French (mother’s side) and Uruguayan (father’s side), as well her loves of both Hip-Hop and reggae. Rue, who earned her nickname, which means “street” in French, because she “kept wandering off,” has been traveling and performing all her life. This week she traveled on over my way to sit down and discuss her fascinating background, why she chose to work with a band, and her extremely odd sleeping habits whenever she arrives in a new place.

Adam Bernard: Being tri-lingual do you have one language you think in and favorite to sing in?
Rue Melo: It depends, actually. Sometimes I think in French, like right when I wake up I’m still thinking in French, so I’ll say things in English and they’ll be backwards. When I talk to my dad a lot I start thinking in Spanish which screws everything up. As far as my thought process English is third on the list but it’s definitely the language I speak the most so it’s the one that I can probably get through a whole conversation most comfortably with. I actually love singing in Spanish. There’s just something about the accent and the words and the way they flow with them music. It flows better to me than English and French. And Spanish music, too, like salsa, it just sounds better.

Adam Bernard: What kind of effect do you think being ethnically mixed has had on your music?
Rue Melo: It has the most affect. If you listen to the music it’s not one particular sound at all, it’s obviously a blend of all the different sounds that I grew up with. They’re not things that I acquired on my own. The things that I acquired on my own would be my love of Hip-Hop music and my love of reggae music. That didn’t so much come from my parents, it came from me being dropped in certain situations in my life, but like Edith Piaf I would have never loved if it wasn’t for my grandmother’s admiration for her and the same thing with a lot of salsa music so it definitely affects me in many ways.

Adam Bernard: A lot of singers right now are coming out with “produced” albums. For example Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado went with Timbaland and Gwen Stefani went with The Neptunes. You, however, have a band. Did you go the “produced” route first or did you always want a band?
Rue Melo: I always wanted to have a band but we didn’t necessarily have it right away. I used the tools that were around me. My brother had a little Pro-Tools set on his computer next door to my room so I just used what I had in front of me for the time being until I could get something together, but I’m really happy to have a band because I’m telling you it makes all the difference. I would not be happy right now singing with a CD player playing in the background and some little sluts in miniskirts dancing behind me.

Adam Bernard: The band definitely creates a bigger sound.
Rue Melo: Yeah, and plus their creativity spills onto me and there are a lot of things that I don’t know about music that they know and vice versa. Well, they definitely know more than me but we can exchange things, they can introduce me to new music that inspires me to write new songs. It’s just 100% good all the way. I don’t see any reason why anybody else wouldn’t want to have a live band.

Adam Bernard: One of the topics that comes up on your album is that you moved around a lot as a child.
Rue Melo: Yeah I did, it’s kind of a joke actually, everybody makes fun of me because even now as an adult I still can’t really sit still. The moving was mostly my parents. When my parents were still together they were on tour a lot with the theatrical company that they met through. My dad was always involved in projects, my mom was always involved in projects, so we moved around a lot naturally and then being young parents who were young artist parents there wasn’t a lot of money for stability so we found ourselves saying oh let’s say at so and so’s place or so and so wants us to watch their place so we’re moving there. Then when we went to New York it was a constant struggle with the job situation with my mom. Plus we also came as immigrants and there’s a whole sketchy side to that, you’re constantly trying to find jobs that are cool with your status and I’m sure my mom had to struggle with that a lot even though she didn’t show it.

Adam Bernard: Other than not being able to sit still, how have all those experiences of coming and going shaped you in your adulthood?
Rue Melo: I can’t live in one place for too long. I move my furniture around in my house like every three months. Sometimes I recycle the way I had it at one point, but it will never be back to back. And I live in this little tiny studio so it’s even worse, I try to make dramatic changes and turn the living room into the dining area. It’s funny. It makes it good for me as an artist because form what I’ve heard a lot of female artists have a hard time on the road, constantly having to be on and constantly moving around and packing your back and living out of a tiny little suitcase, but that’s been my life. I’ve lived out of a backpack since I was practically born. It makes it easy on management and on me because when we go touring I’m all psyched. They’re like “are you OK? Is everything OK?” and I’m like “yeah, all good!”

Adam Bernard: You’re like “yeah, I have a bed.”
Rue Melo: Exactly! That’s what I always say. My thing, too, is the first night I sleep in a new place, this has been my thing since I was very very little, I have to sleep on the couch, I can’t sleep on a bed. I can, but I won’t sleep the whole night. I guess that probably just comes from always having to get comfortable all over again in a new place and we also moved to some pretty shady parts of new York when we were moving around so it was like OK I need to be near the door in case anything happens I can make a run for it. It’s in the back of my mind now constantly. I could be in the safest neighborhood on earth, it’s just this weird thing that I do. I have to sleep on the couch and everybody’s like “OK, I got the bed,” they love me for it.

Adam Bernard: So with all your moving around what is your definition of having roots?
Rue Melo: I think it’s not really where you grew up for me because I think I’ve totally disregarded that you can grow up in one place, that doesn’t exist to me. You can even go somewhere for a summer vacation and you grow up there. For me having roots isn’t really having to do with how you grew up, where you grow up, or where you come from, it’s what background you come from. I come from a divorced family with a single mom that raised two kids, that’s my roots. My dad was there, phone calls and stuff, but he couldn’t be in the United States, he had to be in France. But I come from a family where the love still comes from everywhere, that’s my roots.

Adam Bernard: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Rue Melo: I am really happy right now and I’d like the world to know that. I’m really good. I want to spread the happiness throughout the world. I think if you tell people you’re happy then it might make them a little happier.

Related Links

Website: ruemusic.com
MySpace: myspace.com/ruetracks


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:51 AM  
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