The local musician won awards for Best Female Rock Artist, Best Rock Song, and Song of the Year at the 2012 Indie Music Channel Awards in Hollywood.
Melia Maccarone, 20, makes music that makes waves. The local singer-songwriter began playing guitar when she was 16. In the four years since, she’s used Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, and more to build a fanbase that has taken her to the No. 1 spot on the musician social network ReverbNation’s list of local alternative rock artists.
In April, Melia won awards for Best Female Rock Artist and Best Rock Song and Song of the Year for her “Just a Bride” at the 2012 Indie Music Channel Awards in Hollywood. She was a finalist for Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for her EP, “Soundproof Walls.”
“It was pretty surreal,” Melia said. “I didn’t expect it. I’m just excited and honored to be noticed for it.”
How would you describe your music?
It's pretty much alternative rock. I'm influenced by a lot of older stuff actually. I'm influenced by Nirvana, Soundgarden, obviously Zeppelin and Hendrix. I'm influenced by a lot of different eras, but it's pretty much alternative rock'.
Is the Internet a big part of your success so far?
Yeah, I think it's a huge part of basically everything in the music industry right now. I wouldn't have gone to LA I think without the Internet. I'm on Twitter, I'm on Facebook, I have my own website, I just do as much as I can online because that’s where the majority of people are these days. I signed up on the Indie Music Channel website and kind of got discovered on there and that's how I got signed up for the awards and how I got nominated. Without that I wouldn't actually be out there. I haven't been all over the place. A lot of it is just people hearing me online.
How did you get into playing guitar?
When I was younger I was really interested once I started listening to Green Day. That made me want to play guitar. My parents wouldn't let me for a couple years because they wanted to make sure that I really wanted to. I eventually kept bugging them and, two years later, when I was 16, I started playing. I worked hard at it. I would practice eight hours a day during summers and I would just put everything I had into it.
Why guitar? What attracted you to that particular instrument?
It just seemed more rebellious to me. I didn't really fit in that well in high school and I got made fun of a lot, so I was kind of on my own. I looked up to bands like Green Day and My Chemical Romance and Nirvana and it just seemed like that was this rebellious aura about it. I was really drawn to it.
Page 2 of 3 - Is rebellion still a part of it for you?
It is, yeah. I like to be different. A lot of times I was made fun of in school for being different and eventually once I started playing guitar it made me kind of embrace it rather than being ashamed. I think it just gave me a lot of confidence in who I was. It allowed me to be myself and take pride in all my differences.
Was there a moment that you knew this was your passion?
I think it goes all the way back to when I first wanted to play. It was actually at a Green Day concert. My mom took a friend of mine and I to a Green Day concert when I was 14, and being there and seeing how they played and connected and how I connected to the show, I think that’s what really made me feel “Wow. This is where I fit in. This is what I want to do.”
How has growing up here informed your work?
In high school and middle school mostly, I think everybody goes through that awkward phase where people start forming cliques and it changes things. You start getting bullied.
That’s another subject that I'm really passionate about is bullying, because I went through a really hard time and I know a lot of people that have as well, especially in Spencerport. It was a big problem in high school, and I think the Internet made it worse because you'd get bullied at school and then you'd come home and get bullied on the Internet. I think that had a lot to do with the start of it, because I needed some sort of an outlet that was positive, and I think music really spoke to me and made me connect with it, and that's what influenced my passion about music and my experiences.
Why do you think you practiced so hard in the beginning?
I think it was since I started late... By the time I started I thought I had all this time to make up for. The perfectionist in me wanted to be the best that I could be and I just kept going and going and going, and I'm still going. I don't feel like I'm at the level I want to be. I keep pushing and pushing, and I think that’s part of my personality, but I think a lot of it I owe to my parents, because it just gave me that much more motivation to keep practicing.
Did winning these awards motivate you more?
Oh absolutely yeah. I write from my heart. It's my passion. It's my release. A lot of times when I'm noticed for it I'm like "Wait really?" I'm still trying to better myself, so it's cool. It's awesome.
Page 3 of 3 - Is this your job now?
I work at Collichio School of Music in Spencerport. There I teach guitar and vocals, but that’s where I started lessons. It's pretty much my job. Outside that I try to do as much as I can on my own and push as hard as I can. It's my passion. It's what I want to do. It's how I express myself. It's where I fit in. Definitely it's my job.
As a teacher, how does it feel to be igniting that passion in other people?
It’s really cool. That's my favorite part about that job is that I get to see all this talent and really help them progress and be confident. With my teacher, George Collichio, he really believed in me and gave me confidence. A lot of people start late and they think since they started late they're never going to be good, that they're never going to get there, and I love being able to show them how much talent they have and push them and help them step outside of their boundaries and their comfort levels. There’s a ton of talent in Rochester that people don't even know about yet. They're just starting out.
See Melia live at Water Street Music Hall on July 7, at Sticky Lips in Henrietta on July 20, or at The Jukebox in Spencerport on July 27.