Having spent the summer writing and recording in Finland, NYC-based musician Melanie Edwards recently returned home with a brand new album in hand. Her third solo album, entitled “Back to Basics”, was released on October 2nd and offers a classically-inspired sound with an array of dynamic musical arrangement and a quaintly authentic tone. Edwards defines herself as a musical scientist, combining two different worlds to forge something that comes together as a whole. Personally, whenever I hear the words ‘music’ and ‘science’ together in the same sentence, I immediately think either paradox or contradiction; however, the two don’t necessarily have to live apart.
These days, we often dissociate the soulful from the cerebral, but, as Edwards points out, it hasn’t always been this way. “Art relies on intuition and emotion,” she says. “Science toys with data and facts. But they are both inventive and curious. Look at Amelia Earhart: a writer and an aviator. Leonardo Da Vinci was a mathematician, scientist, painter and architect. As a musical scientist, I’m acting as a channel between the binary. I think art and science are best friends, but can get on each other’s nerves. We all wrestle with collective and individual duality, because paradox is a human condition, but there can be a beautiful balance, between the binary; it’s magic.”
A classically trained pianist, violinist, and singer, Edwards studied under the Suzuki method at a young age before eventually composing her own songs, inspired by fundamentals of classical music. Last summer, Edwards felt the need to revisit some of these fundamentals and get in touch with some of her musical roots. “Since this was my third solo album,” she says. “I felt compelled to dig deeper and bring back basic music foundations via raw, minimal and intimate pieces, like “Mind Chatter” and “All I Got”, for example. So, I self wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered the songs, in a makeshift studio, void of my home equipment, on a small Lexicon mixer and a mini-Tascam.”
Generally, when an artist feels the need to go back to basics, new elements are usually still thrown into the mix to drive the creative process forward. And so Melanie packed her bags and went to work in the Finnish woods in what sounds like a Moonface-meets-Bon Iver type indie music fairytale. “I was selected as an artist-in-residence, in Hameenkyro, Finland,” she says. “I decided it would be the perfect setting for my third album; away from New York City. I spent time in Scandinavia back in 2010, during my “Between the Binary” tour and felt inclined to revisit that energy. There’s an organic frequency there and I particularly fancied the idea of spending summer in the region.”
Faced with all the changes that artists have to deal with in an ever-changing music industry, Edwards remains grounded, but optimistic that innovation will be what leads the way. “I think it’s important for artists, no matter what medium, to remain authentic to their work,” she says. “They should know their power and take advantage of these emerging cyber tools to get their projects out into the world. Inventors are fearless with experimentation, restructuring and rule bending. Right now, everything is up for grabs and digital pioneers will pave the way.”
Her solo album “Back to Basics” was released on October 2nd. The limited edition, non-distributed project is available only at Melanie Edwards Laboratories ™. Edwards recently returned from a tour that took her to Finland, France, and Russia, and is currently back home in New York City to promote her new record.
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