FEATURED LOCAL ARTIST – Mel Senese
Interview with Mel Senese
By: Dennis M. Kelly
DK: Hello Mel, how are you today?
MS: HI! I’m doing great!
DK: It is an honor to be featuring you this month!
MS: I am so honored to be featured and appreciate this opportunity
DK: So, I am going to break with the norm of questions I usually start off asking and since you’ve been born here in the Chicago area, I’ll ask… what is your take on the Chicago music scene?
MS: The Chicago music scene has many different avenues and I’ve been lucky to be a part of many of them. I love how much talent Chicago has to offer and how easy it is to collaborate and get music projects up and running. I have connected with many talented musicians, producers, writers, videographers…etc, through the years and find that building this never ending network is key. Collaborating, finding people to work with, and building new musical relationships has opened many doors.
DK: What do you feel Chicago offers musicians that other cities may not and what struggles have you faced in your career so far?
MS: Chicago offers authenticity to musicians. There are so many venues looking for musicians and you can find the right venues that fit your particular music style or even showcase events that you can simply test new material out to new faces.
Some struggles that I have faced would be marketing my material enough and getting my songs in the right hands. Patience is key as you need to make sure your marketing plan is on POINT before you release any material. Make sure you have done all that you can in preparation for any release (exclusive music blog releases and features). Marketing is KEY and it is not just about how great a song is. You really need to collaborate with other parties in order to massively expose your art.
DK: You’ve been keeping busy in music since 17, but where did the spark of musical interest ignite for you? Who influenced you to want to get up on stage and sing your heart out?
MS: Music has always been part of my life. I learned to play piano, guitar, and then clarinet throughout school. I soon started singing and making music with my uncle. He had a music studio and was producing for many artists at the time. It was collaborating with my uncle and producing my own music that got me wanting to test the waters of “performance” rather than just songwriting and music creation.
Going to college and messing around with production in my dorm room got me to want to go out and meet people who were also interested in collaborating on my music. Seeing others making something of their art and going out and performing it is what made me really want to take a stab at it.
I was pushed into competing in a local singing competition in 2017 by another uncle of mine. I was NOT a fan of that type of outlet, but I competed in it, dedicated all my time to it, and ended up winning the competition with a 10,000 prize, all of which has gone to my music endeavors.
DK: How did those influences help sculpt you into the songwriter you are today?
MS: I learned how to develop a song at a very young age, just due to being in bands all my life and having my uncle as a mentor. I also just learned to express what was on my mind into my songs. My stress relief has always been writing out my feelings.
DK: What bands have you fronted and when did you form/join your first band?
MS: I’ve fronted a Prog/Rock band called Kills Again in 2013, a country rock cover band called Rockstar Rodeo in 2016, I perform with Hey Jimmy (Top 40 cover band) quite frequently currently, and also host live band Karaoke once a week with Xtreme Cover bands. My current self titled project just launched in 2019.
DK: Have you done your own booking and merchandising?
MS: I have been doing my own booking and merchandising for my original project. I am working on finding a booking agency to work with as well to help with this.
DK: Tell me about your childhood and what your family life was like growing up? Do you have a big family?
MS: I grew up in Norridge IL with my brother and my mom and dad. My extended family is very, VERY large. I have a huge Italian family and they are super supportive of my music.
DK: Was your family supportive when you first expressed interest in a music career?
MS: Yes very much so!
DK: You’ve recently released a video for Prey… tell me about it, please.
MS: The music video for Prey has an underlying theme of “preying on the prey” and seeking revenge on some of the disgusting people in this world. I basically am this hero of the night, that seeks out predators and then puts them into a trance-like state without actually causing harm to them, but controlling their thoughts and punishing them in their own heads, if you will.
In the video, you can see this dimension that we’ve created in the young man’s mind and how I have him completely under my control just by being in his presence.
DK: You just performed a show with the Veronicas, how did that go?
MS: The show was incredible! Being able to perform my original music to a huge crowd in honor of pride and open up for international pop icons, The Veronicas, was a true dream. The feedback I received after made my heart explode. I was truly in the right loving space.
DK: How would you describe your live shows?
MS: My live show incorporates a full band along with my produced tracks for a massive and engaging sound/view. I want to really have a live experience along with that pop/bass heavy sound that just makes you want to jump along. I am a ball of energy on stage and it is where I can release and be true to myself.
DK: How do you want to impact potential music fans and how would you like your impact on the music scene (in general) to be? (What kind of mark would you like to make for yourself on the world of music?)
MS: I want fans to connect to my lyrics and my persona. I love to tell stories about my songs on stage and what it was that brought that lyrics to life in my own life. I would hope that I have impact fans and the music scene by just being myself and having my own authenticity as a homie on stage be that connecting factor.
A crowd of people and the music scene in general, are just all of my friends and people I want to party with and share a piece of my life with.
DK: Are you very active on social networking sites? If so, which?
MS: I am! I am very active on instagram, facebook, youtube, and twitter.
FB: @melsenesemusic, Instagram: @melystica , twitter: @melystica, Youtube: Mel Senese
DK: What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
MS: You can definitely expect a handful of new songs in 2019 and I am SO excited to show the world what I’ve been up to. You can expect my next single “goodbye”, within the next month!
The rest of the plans are gearing for bigger and better shows and festivals in 2020 as well as writing a ton of new music and collaborating.
DK: What are your long-term goals for your career?
MS: My long-term goals would be to continuously grow as an artist, collaborate with other emerging extraordinary artists, get more of my music and videos out to the world, be selected to tour with national artists and eventually put together my own headlining tour.
DK: What are some other interests that you have that are not music related?
MS: I love birds ::bird tweet voice::
DK: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions today!
* March 23rd, 2020 Update: Mel is the featured artist once again this week! See her feature right here!
Biography: Born and raised in Chicago, Mel Senese offers a fresh take on soulful rock, infusing her own personal flair with flashes of pop and alternative sound. Producing and writing songs since the age of 17, her passion for music has only grown throughout the years.
An artist of the Windy City, Mel has had the honor of not just performing throughout the midwest (including Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin) through more than 100 shows, but competing around the city as well, earning her the title of “Big Break Rosemont Champion” in 2017.
Over the last five years, she has fronted for bands, as well as put on solo performances and has entertained crowds at venues including: Wrigley Field, House of Blues Chicago, Bub City, Old Crow Wrigleyville, Joe’s Live, The Forge Joliet, Tonic Room and more.
Now focusing on her solo career, Mel is preparing to release her debut single, PREY, in 2019. Mel’s lyrical storytelling is both empowering and inspired, with her stage presence keeping you on the edge of your seat.