With an eye on the present, Melanie Pierce wants to leave the past dead and buried.
The Ann Arbor pop-rock singer-songwriter beautifully entombs former relationships, painful experiences and destructive thoughts into a secret crypt on “Your Grave,” a heartfelt, courageous anthem about moving forward.
“It was several situations that were not ideal and that happened at the same time. When the song was originally written, I had a lot of rage because it felt like so much was going wrong,” said Pierce, who released the track Oct. 30 via all streaming platforms.
“My mindset when I was younger was more angsty and negatively focused, and I was in a band at the time, and they were breaking up and a relationship was failing. It felt like too much at the time, and this song was born out of it.”
Throughout “Your Grave,” murky, alternating synths ping-pong between yesterday and today while pulsating drums, calm bass and intermittent piano ultimately lower Pierce’s past six feet underground.
She bravely sings, “Turn left because I ran out of rights/Done pretending to be so nice/So formal like we’re supposed to/Keepin’ tabs on people livin’ my dream/I’m livin’ with the ghost you left for me/Remember when you said this was just a dream/And that’s all it will ever be/I’ve been pickin’ up the pieces slowly.”
“It’s taking the next step and acknowledging things aren’t going your way and have ended. I’m literally speaking through the lyrics that I’m throwing this in a grave, moving on and seeing the other side of the bad situation and stepping into a positive, new beginning,” Pierce said.
“I think everybody has the ability to change in all aspects of life, and I feel like I’ve shifted toward a much healthier perspective. Being able to cope with change also comes with time as you grow and learn more about yourself and the world around you. I was put on this planet to make music, write songs and perform. I’ve really stepped into the artist that I’ve always wanted to become and learned how to navigate this musical journey.”
“Your Grave” serves as Pierce’s third powerhouse pop single this year with producer Jake Rye at Adrian’s Social Recording Company. He breathed new life into Pierce’s latest track after they returned to the studio for a post-quarantine recording session. Cinematic arrangements, polished production and soaring vocals transformed the piano-based piece into a glistening ode to personal empowerment.
“We’ve definitely developed a groove since recording ‘Headlights,’ and I’ve felt at home working with him in his studio space. He’s a great collaborator, and he’s open to my creative ideas because I need room to explore things. We can sit down together and be like, ‘I really hear this,’ so ‘let’s bring in some tones similar to this and aim for this type of sound,’” said Pierce, who also recorded “Illusions” with Rye.
As for “Your Grave’s” next iteration, Pierce will visually depict the track’s larger-than-life sound through a new video soon. It will be her third video release since dropping lyric videos for “Headlights” and “Illusions” in September and October respectively.
“I’ve always loved being able to pair music with imagery, whether that’s photography or videography. It’s hard for me to put it into words; I’m very passionate about it. I’ve always wanted to make a formal music video, and the means have not quite been there before, but they are now,” she said.
Melanie Talks and Plans
In addition to music videos, Pierce engages with fans through a new YouTube vlog series called “Melanie Talks,” which showcases her thoughts about songwriting, finding balance, forming creative collaborations and maintaining a positive self-image. It’s a quick, authentic way to meet Pierce and learn about her artistic evolution.
“I wanted to launch something like this because I’ve had significant struggles, especially with the topics I’m discussing, and I know other people do as well. I don’t think we talk about them as a collective, and I always wonder why. I hope everybody knows by now that social media is just a giant highlight reel, and it’s hard no matter what you’re trying to do,” said Pierce, who’s released four episodes to date.
“I want to open the door, and I want true connection, and the only way we can have true connection is if we’re really vulnerable. I want to show that side of me and open a dialogue with those who are interested.”
Pierce developed an instant connection to music and performance while growing up in metro Detroit. At age three, she sang along with “The Lion King” soundtrack and learned to sing with her grandmother, who performed in Sweet Adelines International.
By age 13, Pierce started playing guitar and writing music and sought creative inspiration from Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Paramore. She later joined a pop-rock garage band focused on a Paramore-meets-My-Chemical-Romance sound before departing to release her own music.
With a growing roster of elevated pop-rock singles, Pierce plans to release more new material, launch a crowdfunding campaign for a debut EP and play more live shows.
“I’m definitely aiming for 2021, and we’re working on a lot right now. I cannot wait to iron more of that out. I’m also looking hard for some opportunities to play out, whether that’s at a venue where they record it or livestream it,” Pierce said.