Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Melodies From An Angel

By Ma’at Atkins

It’s been two years since Chicago Heights native Melody Angel appeared on P Diddy’s talent competition show, “Starmaker” , a one-season show that aired on MTV where she came in third place. Since then this library nerd rocker is continuing her meteoric rise to the top. She talked recently about her stint on the show as well as her life before and after it.

Currently, the tomboy and skateboard beauty is gearing up for a U.S. and overseas tour promoting her latest EP, “The Outsider” and working on her first full CD. She says that she owes most of her music opportunities from “Starmaker, ” which was seen initially by 2 million viewers.

“It’s been going good,” says Angel in a husky alto voice. “The show I did (in April) at the House of Blues (in Chicago opening for Lupe Fiasco) went well. It’s been strange, because you would think after two years people would forget, but it’s been nice. The show got people to come out and support what you’re trying to do. “

Angel says that she lives and breathes performing live and have been auditioning for various talent outlets since the age of eight.

“I received a billion NOs before I got a Yes,” she says, “ I was the NO King.”

She says that “Starmaker” was the first time she ever performed on a big stage with lights performing before millions of viewers ( which still freaks her out to this day). Prior to the show, she mainly played guitar and sang in small clubs and open mics in her hometown. Now, the show can even be seen on a first run overseas where she continues to make new fans.

“It’s pretty crazy when people e-mail me from places like South Africa and the UK,” she says. “They are seeing the show much later than we saw it. Some are seeing it now wondering who’s going to win.”

Angel opened recently for Lupe Fiasco's L.A.S.E.R.S. release party at the House of Blues in Chicago ( photo courtesy of the Chicago Defender)

Angel also says that she still hasn’t come to grips that she is a public figure especially when people recognize her.

“Some of the guys are pretty strange and get freaked out, “ she says before laughing, “ and I’m freaked out because they are freaked out of me. I don’t think I’ve done enough to have that happen. On the show, I remember when Keri Hilson emailed me and said ‘Nice job on the show,’ I was like what????. You just don’t know who’s watching you.”

Although Angel has built a steady fan base since the show, she says careerwise she’s still on the grind.

“It really hasn’t changed,” she says. “The music business is the same, the meetings. You might put out a record, you might not. There’s still a lot of up and downs. That hasn’t really changed. I knew that would be the case. It doesn’t happen over night.”

Surprisingly, Angel initially didn’t actively pursue to audition for “Starmaker.”

“It was weird because I got an e-mail on MySpace from an MTV producer about the show and I thought he was lying, it was some joke,” she confides. “The producer wanted me to come to St. Louis to audition, so I showed my brother and my mother and they said it looked legit to them, so I called the producer and he wanted me to drive out (to St. Louis) to audition. He gave me a website to check out. I never had that happen before for someone who wanted me to audition. I usually had to audition.”

The preliminary auditions had taken place at Blueberry Hill in the famous University Loop District in St. Louis in the early summer of 2009. Afterwards she went through the next month and a half going through many grueling callbacks, boomeranging from St. Louis to Chicago, then New York and Chicago and finally Los Angeles where she went through several auditions and finally got a YES to be on the show.

“It was a very stressful time,” she reflects. “It wasn’t a comfortable situation, cameras everywhere four hours a day, seven days a week.

Angel during the finale of P. Diddy's Starmaker with winner Liz Davis and STL native Todd Sarvies, the second place winner

She also talked about how it was to audition in front of the creator of the show, P Diddy.

“It got to the point where I got used to him sitting there, “ she says. “I only saw him at the beginning when we got to the mansion and when he surprised us when we did a last minute audition. I mostly focused on the crowd to make me feel better and not focus on him or the judges.”

Angel went through that process for a little over a month and had an emotional breakdown when her mother was flown in to the finale and she could barely finish her original song , “Lucky” she performed that night.

“I was very emotional and missed my mom,” she says. “It was the first time we had been away from each other for more than a week and for her to stand there and just said,’Please God let me get through this song.”

She says she didn’t realize how stressful the audition process and the show were going to be, but says she would do it all over again.

“I learned a lot more than I thought I could, “ she confides. “ and that I could do this. This could be a real future and life for me. My confidence was helped immensely by the show. And to tell you the truth, I had no idea I would survive that long, but as long as I didn’t get kicked off first. That’s all I was shooting for.

For more info on Angel you can follow her on Twitter @melodyangel; Facebook (Melody Angel) her MySpace (melodylife) and website http://www.melodyangelmusic.com/

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