"There's no ceiling," Melanie Fontana on what makes songwriting interesting
After working with some pf the most popular musicians in the world, Melanie Fontana is charting out on her own and putting her own face to her music
No longer just a name scribbled in the credits of worldwide chart-topping singles from headlining artists such as BTS, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Aaron Carter and so on – Melanie Fontana is finally putting her own picture to her penmanship.
The "Swiss army songwriter" has written for a number of global giants in music, with the ability to bring out the most radio-friendly side of any genre thrown her way.
Most recently, Melanie co-wrote BTS’ single 'Euphoria', which became the theme of their latest album 'Love Yourself: Answer' (33M+ YouTube Views, 10M+ Spotify Streams). Melanie is additionally credited for reviving Carter’s music career, having co-written every track on his 'Løvë' album during his grand return to music in 2017 after a 12-year hiatus. Melanie even hopped on stage with Aaron during his 2017 LA Pride performance to belt out a few of their tracks together, and show her support as an ally to the LGBT+ community.
In an exclusive conversation with Meaww, Melaine talks about working with several stars and how she got into the music industry in the first place.
How did you get involved with BTS? Have you worked with any other Korean artist before?
I got involved with BTS out of sheer luck! A friend of mine from NYC (who’s now transplanted here in LA) called me in to work on an idea he had started with another producer. He happened to know the team at Big Hit, BTS’s amazing label, and they took the song from there! Prior to BTS, I’d been writing K-pop since 2012. My first ever cut with an Asian pop star was Girls Generation’s 'Stay Girls', a tune I co-wrote in Stockholm.
You have co-written 'Love' with Aaron Carter - could you tell us about the process of production?
'Løvë' was one of those lucky albums that wrote itself. It took about a year to write all the tracks to completion. Aaron Carter is extremely open with us, the creative team consisting of his co-producer Lindgren & two other incredible writers. We cried some tears in those sessions & bitched about exes. We labored through the tough times when writers butted heads over melodies or lyrics, eventually just letting the pen hit paper & not stop writing until all ideas were out of us. Almost 200,000,000 plays later & here we are!
Let's rewind a bit, what made you take up music professionally? How did it all begin?
If you want to go WAY back, I was 5 or so when I started recording myself on my mom’s old cassette tapes singing songs I wrote! Up until I was 13, I always wrote & sang these songs without any background track, from memory, just alone in my room. Finally, I begged my parents to help pay for a producer to make these demos “real”. While not a cheap endeavor, this would be repeated 5 or 6 times until one of those songs from said demos caught the attention of a producer by the name of Nasri (now the singer of MAGIC!). He took me under his wing. I’ve been writing professionally ever since!
Which was your first big break? Could you tell us about the experience?
A few years back I was living in NYC in a 128 sq ft apartment. I felt dried up, suffocated & ready to be rid of the cold rainy city. I ended up meeting a major music producer on the internet! I did my research, found out he was actually legit! I then flew to LA to meet him. While our professional relationship flopped, I was able to utilize the friendships & connections I made during the time we worked to gain access to bigger & better things.
You have collaborated with several renowned artists, who do you think was the most exciting to work with?
I absolutely adored working with The Chainsmokers. I mean it. They know what they want; they’re incredible at what they do. They took the gains from an almost comedic song like 'Selfie' & turned their whole vibe into something very real & very heartwarming.
Are you planning on any new single or new album?
Keep an eye out for Zafari Music. They’re a dark, almost Deadpool-looking, masked EDM duo. I’m featured on their first single. Also, be ready for the DJ Topic as well as DJ John Dahlbäck to come out with some new material on which I’m featured. Woohoo!
What inspires you the most about songwriting?
The fact that there’s no ceiling. There’s always another step on the ladder! The constant making something from nothing is what I will do forever and always. Another inspiring thing about songwriting is being able to say the things people wish they could, but don’t have the right words. I like comforting those who can’t speak for themselves. Where they can’t, music can.
What challenges do you face when writing a song? How do you overcome them?
A large problem in the writing world is the politics of it all. When a very small group of writers are “hot right now”, anyone remotely outside of the small few has to work SO much harder to get label executives, artists’ managers & artists to pay mind to the record they’re submitting or session they’re suggesting. You overcome this by getting out there & NOT stopping. It’s not luck, it’s persisting that gets you where you need to be. Every “no” you hear has to be treated like a “not right now, but bring me something better.”
What new projects are you planning to work on?
Currently, I’m WAY excited about working with YouTube mastermind Wengie. After entertaining her 12,000,000 subscribers with DIY awesomeness, she’s now setting forth to do an album. I’m also working on some new killer material with the EDM goddesses, Krewella. Keep your ears peeled, guys!