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Ms. Melody Monroe
Ms. Melody Monroe is an Atlanta, Georgia-based hip-hop soul artist. She uses her music to tell her story about herself, use it as a form of therapy and hopefully help people through their own hardships in life. She wants her music to reach the people who support loved ones struggling with mental illness because they are also important. Listen to her new song 'Changes' and enjoy the interview!
Who is Ms. Melody Monroe and how does your music represent you?
I am a human, woman, and a hip-hop soul artist based out of Atlanta, GA. My music is a reflection of my passions, experiences, hopes, dreams, and ideas. I make music that promotes truth, light, and love which is something I try to do in my personal life as well.
Why is it important to make music about real life experiences that aren’t positive and are difficult for people to go through?
I think it’s important to make music about challenging experiences because it reflects the reality of life. Life isn’t great, whimsical, and positive all of the time. Life can get really hard. It’s also my mission as a musician to offer healing through my music. Music is super powerful in that way so talking about these things can help people to connect and let them know that they are not alone in their experiences. It can often help articulate what they are feeling as well.
Can you highlight some of your thoughts around the song 'Changes'?
Whew. [Takes deep breath] 'Changes' was birthed out of personal experience as well as the experiences of other people I know. It was therapeutic for me to share what it’s like being in a situation like that from a caregiver or loved one’s perspective and I knew that other people would be able to connect with it as well. I knew that it was a conversation that needed to happen so I dug deep and really tried to take the listener on a journey with the song.
I wanted to share my story while also allowing people to see themselves in my story. The entire song is framed as a conversation between myself and a friend who is dealing with suicidal thoughts so both sides are represented. I just wanted people to know that it’s okay to talk about these things and that they are not alone. I really hope it encourages people.
How can you support someone whose loved one is experiencing depression and suicidal thoughts?
Caregivers need support too and that’s something I learned over time. If you are interested in supporting a caregiver, I would say asking how you can best be of support is a simple, but very powerful way to do that. Every person is different. One person may need to sit and talk for an hour while another person may need silence so asking is powerful. I think taking them away from the responsibilities of caregiving, in any capacity, could be helpful in giving their minds a break as well.
Do you have any suggestions for young adults who are taking care of someone who is suffering from a mental illness?
YES! Absolutely make sure you have support for yourself - whether it be a friend, family member, support group, or a therapist. Know that in supporting your loved one, it’s okay and necessary to take care of yourself as well. It’s very much like the airplane scenario with the oxygen mask - you have to put yours on first before you can help someone else put theirs on.
Do you think it is easier for musicians and advocates to address topics like mental illness and suicide in 2018? What would make it easier for people to make these conversations the new normal?
I think the conversation around mental illness has been more normalized, but we still have a ways to go. There’s still a taboo undertone to it and it’s still “a big deal”. I don’t think it can be considered truly normalized until we can insert it into casual conversation like we do the latest movie, what we ate for dinner, or weekend plans.As a musician, I do think it’s easier to address now. Thankfully, organizations like mindyourmind have been instrumental in helping push the conversation forward. I think what will help overall is understanding. People fear what they don’t know and it takes listening to even begin to try to understand. We have to listen to what mentally ill people have to say and listen with intention and a desire to understand. We need to make sure they are supported, heard, and taken seriously. But most of all, loved. Then, I think a true dialogue can begin.
Why do you want to reach a younger audience of teens and young adults? Why is it important to you?
I think younger generations are at a slight disadvantage from being raised in the information and technology age. It’s helped tremendously in connecting us to each other, but in other ways, it has isolated us and also conditioned us against endurance. We’ve never really had to wait for anything and I think that has inherently weakened us a bit in dealing with life. Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes you have to wait and wait a while for things to come around so I made 'Changes' and the entire 'Motivation' EP with that in mind to hopefully encourage young people to keep at their dreams despite how long it might take.We are a brilliant group of people. I’ve been seeing recent trends in youth culture of self-medicating and turning to self-harm to deal with life so I am just trying to offer a different narrative and way.
What is the future for Ms. Melody Monroe? Will you ever be coming to Canada to perform?
I intend to make a lot more music, travel, and meet and connect with my supporters. I would absolutely LOVE to come to Canada when the right opportunity presents itself! I have a feeling it’s coming soon :-)
Thank you so much for answering our questions and sharing with us! It is amazing that you are singing about the caregiver experience because that is often overlooked when we address the stigma of talking about mental illness. We look forward to seeing what is next for you!
- Link to short Instagram video describing Ms. Melody Monroe's writing process for Changes.
- Listen to Changes.
Photos by James Sims IV Photography