Melanie Meriney’s “Tequila Talk” is all about the nostalgia of lost love.

Donna Block

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You’ve opened for acts like Little Big Town, Journey, and Restless Heart. What is your favorite place to write in Nashville for inspiration?

Honestly, I think it’s much more about the people in the room for me than the actual location itself. I think it’s easy to get inspired when you have the right vibe and the right group of people together. As far as writing on my own, though, I love writing while I’m driving. Usually on longer car rides is when inspiration hits for me, so I record a bunch of voice memos on my phone and then go back later and figure it out on guitar.

From “Lifeboat” to now. What themes or stories do you gravitate towards in your songwriting?

I think I’ve always been drawn to love stories and themes that delve into the emotional end of things. Lately, though, I’ve gotten broader with what I’ve written in that it’s more about where I am in life in general and how I think a lot of people my age are feeling.

For example, “Figured Out”, which I put out last March, is all about that question of, “are you where you thought you’d be by this point?”. I had a lot of people reach out to me, even people I hadn’t talked to in years, to say that they could relate to the lyrics so much! I think the goal of a songwriter is tackling topics that will resonate with listeners.

“Mama’s Been Prayin’” was co-written with Lainey Wilson. What song by Lainey do you wish you had written and why?

I know she wasn’t a writer on this one, but her “Wait in the Truck” duet with Hardy was iconic and has all those elements of country music storytelling that I love! I think the best songs take ordinary emotions and situations and spin them to make them extraordinary in some way. In the case of “Wait in the Truck”, sadly, abuse is a topic many can relate to, but the writers did a stellar job (along with Hardy & Lainey) at making an “ordinary” story very gripping and emotional. I feel lucky to have collaborated with Lainey on my release “Mama’s Been Prayin’”, and hopefully we get the chance to collab again for a future project of hers!

Five years after the original was released, you came out with “Sober You” (acoustic version). What are your biggest challenges and rewards as a songwriter?

I think the biggest challenge as a songwriter is giving the listener the same experience you have in your head when you write a song. This can be done through vocal styling, instrumentation, and production.

“Sober You” (the original) has a great commercial production to it, but I think the acoustic version really taps into the experience and emotion of the lyrics. It’s the same song with a different approach that changes how the listener “feels” the song. The greatest reward as a songwriter is listener feedback when they say something along the lines of, “This puts into words/music the exact way I feel.” Whether that means it makes them dance or makes them cry, that ultimately is the goal- tapping into their world and giving them some sort of catharsis or validation.

“Tequila Talk is all about the nostalgia of lost love and is actually the first song I’ve released that I haven’t written on myself. It was written by Bryan West, Chelsea Summers, and Eric Dodd- some of my very best friends here in Nashville- and after fangirling over it for so long, I’m so humbled they let me put my own voice to it. It’s got a very anthem-y feel with its whole beat and lyric that make it perfect for conveying that modern country heartbreak vibe without actually being a ballad.” You posted that you hope this single is your biggest launch to date. How do fan pre-saves help an artist achieve this?

So glad you asked, because I think it’s not common knowledge! Presaving a song is essentially “saving” a song to your library before it’s released. It does a few things:

1. For the listener, it queues up the song for them so that when release day comes, they don’t have to go search it out- it appears right in their list for them to listen. They get to be one of the first to hear it- this gives artists a bump in initial listens/streams.

2. Presaving automatically boosts an artist’s followers, as presaving a song means an automatic follow on that artist’s streaming account.

3. Maybe most importantly, presaving is also tracked by the streaming services to predict how popular a track might be upon release. This is important, because it signals to them whether or not to add the song to editorial playlists (official playlists made by Spotify, for example) with thousands of listeners. Oftentimes, these decisions are made before a song comes out, so that when it drops, it’s already on that playlist. This is vital for independent artists especially, because it gives us access to listeners we wouldn’t otherwise have access to (and of course, bumps our streaming numbers- something industry pays attention to).

What are your musical goals and aspirations for the future?

I’m excited to continue releasing music this year (we’ve got another song or two queued up and ready to go)! Aside from that, I’ve been really focusing on my songwriting and collaborating with some talented people in the publishing world to hopefully get a few outside cuts.

Funk Furniture Studio

Furniture restoration. What is your favorite non-musical hobby or passion?

I think pretty much all my non-musical hobbies are artistic in some way! Recently, I’ve been on a painting kick- I really like doing watercolor. I don’t sell them, I just like that it gives me an outlet for any stress or drama going on in my life. You can kind of tune out and zone in on something relaxing. We were really into furniture flipping and restoration for a while, but recently, we are repurposing the room we used to use for our projects ;)

My best release ever is coming in May this year- Michael and I are expecting our first child, a boy, and we cannot wait for this new adventure!

What are some hidden gems in Music City that you recommend checking out?

My husband and I have started going once a month to a place we’ve never been before just because Nashville is growing and expanding so rapidly! I feel like everytime I drive downtown, there are ten new bars or restaurants (or buildings!) that weren’t there before. One we really enjoyed recently was a place on 12 South called Bottle Cap. It’s an American cuisine place with a great, relaxed feel and awesome food. We also really liked Scout’s Pub on 17th & Broadway- they have an incredible curry and some good burger and beer happy hour deals.

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