By Ben Doy
Following the release of her third studio album 'Drylands', Mel Parsons has been busy touring here, there and everywhere - and has managed to get herself nominated for a Silver Scroll Award; the winner of which is announced tonight (Thursday September 17th) at the Vector Arena in Auckland.
I caught with Mel and found a bit more out about her past, present and future!
Where did you grow up and how did you get into music?
I grew up in a little place called Cape Foulwind, just outside Westport on the west coast. I went to school there and grew up on a farm. I played the piano when I was quite young and discovered the guitar when I was about 14. And from there I was done (laughs). I was just totally addicted to it.
Did you play in school bands?
It was a small school so there was no music department. A math's teacher worked out that I was quite keen on guitar and he was a guitarist. He helped me at lunchtime and brought me charts of ‘Stand By Me' or Led Zep or whatever. So started learning there.
And when did you first start writing?
Probably soon after I picked up the guitar I reckon. I'm sure that stuff was probably pretty terrible that I wrote then and am glad it wasn't recorded (laughs).
You've been touring a fair bit recently!
The new album came out in April, so we did a big release tour for that... 23 shows. And we're about to another tour which is quite a bit smaller, we're doing 5 shows all at really beautiful venues. It's a theatre tour. The shows will be with a full band and Julia Deans is going to play the opening set and then going to jump into the band. So it's very cool, she's amazing. Very excited about that.
And your song 'Get Out Alive' being nominated for this year's Silver Scroll Award!
Yeah! It's nice to have some acknowledgement from the industry... it adds a little legitimacy to what you do. So when it was announced that ‘Get Out Alive' was nominated I was like "What?! This is really good!". It's very cool, I'm stoked about that. But it's a tough line-up, I have no expectations! I'm just happy to be in that top 5.
What's your plan after the Silver Scroll and the tour?
I'm writing again at the moment, up until the release of this album it's been a fairly relentless year on the road... which is awesome, that's my main thing I suppose. But it's nice to have stints where you aren't touring so you can time to write. But I've got a bunch of summer festivals coming up and then overseas next year. Australia in March and Canada at the end of the year.
Where are you living now?
I live outside of Christchurch.
Do you get pressure to move to Wellington or Auckland?
No, I've lived in Auckland for a long time and still spend a lot of time up here. I've established that it doesn't really matter where I live now. Some people think I still live in Auckland so it's fine (laughs).
How would you describe your sound?
I just say I'm a singer / songwriter. Because that's sort of the core of what I do really and that's kind of the essence of it. I suppose I'm also a product of my influences... I like a lot of other singer / songwriters, folk music, pop music, country, rock music and hip hop... all sorts.