Saskatchewan-based emerging artist MELODNA (pronounced Mel-oh-dee-na) digs deep on sophomore EP, She, out now. She sees the singer-songwriter tracing the roots of her African heritage into the present-day, as she adeptly blends elements of R&B, Afrofusion, and South African sounds.
That ready embrace of cultural fusion is a driving force behind MELODNA’s artistry. “My name, MELODNA, came from my love of Zambian harmonies,” she explains. “I’m Zambian, South African, and Malawian born in Canada.”
MELODNA recently released energetic Afrobeats-centric single “OMD” in advance of the project, which serves as a follow-up to 2021’s Keepsake. Levitational chord progressions, stunning vocals, and a relentless beat define the song, a victorious track with infectious zeal that sees MELODNA celebrating how far she’s come and embracing the person that she’s grown into along the way.
Listen on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/1EXY1toA5xF8vVW0OKbUXV?si=2ffd86d7cb674010&nd=1
But that journey to self-love and acceptance hasn’t come without a struggle, a fact that MELODNA readily acknowledges. In fact, a desire to uplift and encourage others who may be facing similar difficulties was one of the artist’s primary motivations behind making She in the first place. Like many people, MELODNA is no stranger to difficulties stemming from battles with mental health. But she also acknowledges the strength that can be found in knowing that you’re not alone. MELODNA’s music is characterized by ever-present grooves, endless good vibes, and a whole lot of energy. They’re songs that make her want to get up and dance, and, she says, she wants others to feel that same mental relief when they press play.
“I wanted people to feel my lyrics, know the meaning, and instead of crying, relate to my darkness,” she says of the project. “I wanted them to dance.”
Listeners will certainly find catharsis in this set of tracks — both for MELODNA’s ready willingness and ability to give voice to struggle, as well as for her determination to place one foot in front of the other and embrace joy despite.
‘WAYTIN’ summarizes this message perfectly. The upbeat track is a perfect blend of MELODNA’s sonic heritage and is accompanied by lyrics that see her being open and vulnerable about her struggles with depression.
Meanwhile, she reunites with Bjaylee (who featured on her 2022 single ‘ROTATION’) for ‘ALT,’ and features a tender, encouraging outro courtesy of MELODNA’s young son, which highlights the track’s message to keep fighting no matter what life throws at you.
MELODNA has a sound that sticks with you, as much for its unique, genre-defying production as for its intimate lyricism that doesn’t shy away from difficult issues. If She is any indication, we’re sure to hear a lot more from this artist soon.