Today’s Feature – February 21-22: Rue Melo

February 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm (Today's Feature)

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“I like to get in touch with the ocean every once in a while,” says Rue Melo, an emerging artist out of California who, like the sea, is both beautiful and ever-changing, using her music to reveal an assortment of striking influences. Growing up in Paris, moving to New York City and finally landing in California, Rue has seen and heard much more than her young age would lead you to believe. Her experiences, coupled with the fact she grew up with both Spanish and French speaking parents (that were musicians and ballet dancers respectively) makes Melo and her band one exhilarating force.

She met her band; guitarist Martin Estrada, bassist Bryan Bush and drummer Idris Tate in spring 2005 and the four have hardly looked back. Transforming and integrating genre upon genre, the group works within their own form of “Urban Pop,” complete with beats backing lyrics in English, Spanish and French. Needless to say, the show is something you gotta witness for yourself.

The self-titled debut album is in stores now; a collection that Rue says “will take you to different places… remind you of old experiences and new ones… expect to listen to an album that has had a lot of passion, blood, sweat and tears poured into it.” It’s undeniably more than your standard pop record – it contains that contagious rhythm and pulse, but breathes of something more spectacular, more rooted.

Melo is just recently coming off a tour with G. Love & Special Sauce where audiences everywhere learned they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Anticipate witnessing something similar at the Rue Melo performance you make it to, and realize that you’ll find yourself more than satisfied. Keep an eye out for their latest video, “This is my House” and jump into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: RUE MELO

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Hey Rue how are you?

Rue Melo (RM): I’m doing great, thanks.

PEV: So, where’d I catch you now?

RM: I just got down working out in Santa Monica, walking by the ocean and enjoying the view.

PEV: Is that one of your favorite parts about living out west?

RM: Oh yeah, defiantley one of my favorite parts. I like to get in touch with the ocean every once in a while.

PEV: I was reading about your background and is says you are from Paris, France, a pretty artistic family background as well. It seems that music just came pretty natural to you.

RM: Yeah, I mean it was in my surroundings constantly.

PEV: Your parents had a big influence on that?

RM: Yeah! My dad was always rehearsing in the basement right underneath my bedroom. My mom was constantly playing music. My whole family was living in the arts.

PEV: When did you move to the states? How was that transition?

RM: I moved when I was about nine or ten. It was crazy… We didn’t speak any English and didn’t really know how long we were going to stay here. I mean, Paris is a big city but New York is totally different kind of big city.

PEV: What are your first memories when you came to New York?

RM: Oh, there were so many of them. When you are that age you are so amazed at everything. It’s funny because at that time, my brother and I were really into The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it was at that age when you really want to believe in things like that. So we used to play around with the idea of it and used to walk around the city looking for Ninja Turtles to come out of the sewers. That was one of the earliest memories I have.

PEV: Growing up, what kind of music were you into?

RM: You know, it transitioned so much. It depended on what we I was around. When I was younger, my mom and I would listen to like Janis Joplin and opera a classical music. My dad was into Hendrix and like all the Latin groups that he grew up listening to. I was exposed to them all at such an early age then moving to New York, I was exposed to Hip-Hop a lot; Busta Rhymes, Mary J, Tupac, Sublime, Biggie. We were moving around so much that it was always changing.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Rue Melo performance?

RM: You can’t describe what you don’t know… It’s been really crazy reactions. We’ve been opening for G Love and people have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Some people do their research and know we are a good opening band. We’ll play a song and the looks on people’s faces, are like “What?!?” They don’t know if they like you at first or what. But they can just expect a real show, there is no way to explain it.

PEV: How has the tour been with G Love?

RM: It’s been amazing! I have never been to the midwest before and it is freezing over there. The first night in Iowa City it was zero! St. Louis was great, I love St. Louis. Chicago was great. Everywhere we went was so different. I mean, we were waking up at 6 AM and packing six people in a van and driving to the next city, four or five or six hours. It was insane but really cool.

PEV: How is road life been for you? Good? Bad?

RM: It’s been crazy you know. I mean, people can’t stand it and are always missing home and stuff. But I think because we moved around so much as kids, we moved 14 times, so I’m kind of used to different sceneries… so I don’t get homesick. It does get a little crazy with only sleeping three or four hours a night and then getting to the next city… it becomes just an amazing experience.

PEV: Which has been your favorite city to perform in, so far?

RM: Oh, God, I don’t know! So far? That’s an unfair question to ask! I loved Chicago, it has been my favorite city. My favorite show?… Probably a tie with the St. Louis show and with the Los Lonely Boys a little while back, in Oregon.

PEV: With all the touring, when you get to come home and relax, what can we find you doing in your spare time? Aside from working out?

RM: Sleeping! (laughs). Working some more, I have to keep going and keep the energy up. I get home and I take a couple days off, then hit the studio and practice. I work a little side job right now and a gift shop that I hope I won’t have to much longer. I get back to everything, get back to life… and defiantly sleep more, for sure.

PEV: Is there someone that you would like to collaborate with that you have not had a chance to yet?

RM: It’s funny that you say that because my brother and I were just talking about a guy that he knows and I would love to work with him. I have so many names written down in my journal… like a list and goes on forever and ever. Lauren Hill, Mary J Blige, I would love to see what comes out from that.

PEV: You’ve been compared to people like Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley and Sublime. How does it feel to be compared to people like that? And how would you describe your style?

RM: It’s crazy, real crazy. I had someone say I remind them of Erykah Badu, Selena, I get Fergie every once and a while. My style, we’ve been calling it “Urban Pop”. Because we could not just figure out a way to explain to people what it was. It was the only way we could figure out to call it, so when people ask we had a answer.

PEV: Tell us about your self titled album. What can people expect from it?

RM: They expect to be taken to different places. Be reminded of old experiences and new ones they are going through at the time. They can get to know more about me and maybe themselves too. They can expect to really listen to an album that has really had a lot of passion, blood, sweat and tears into… It is just a really passionate album.

PEV: Have you been surprised to see how “Check It” has become so popular so fast?

RM: Yeah (laughs)! We all knew “Check It” was a dope song but you never know, I mean you can’t predict what will happen. You just hope for the best and have confidence in yourself.

PEV: What’s one thing would people be surprised to hear about Run Melo?

RM: Surprised to hear about Rue Melo… Well, I’m a hell of a cook. A friend of mine and I do an “Iron Chef” night. We have a couple friends pick a secret ingredient and then we go shopping… we do the whole thing. It’s really fun.

PEV: What is your main dish you like to cook?

RM: My main dish, I would say are my cookies. I have these cookies that are super healthy and taste great. I have given them as gifts and the next day they are already gone. That is my specialty. I really like baking things that are quick, nothing crazy, pretty simple stuff.

PEV: I think you need to branch out the marketing of Rue Melo into cooking.

RM: See, we can’t tell anyone about my cookies, I don’t anyone stealing my idea (laughs).

PEV: Well the world is going to find out once this interview comes out…

RM: Ok, you’re right.

PEV: Don’t worry we won’t give out the secret recipe.

RM: I won’t give you the secret recipe so don’t worry about that! (laughs) Maybe I’ll send you some.

PEV: That’s fine, I don’t cook at all. I’m a cereal for every meal kind of guy.

RM: Really, for every meal?

PEV: Well, basically, not every meal but… I’m not a chef by any means.

RM: That’s funny!

PEV: Funny I guess… but a little sad.

RM: (Laughs)

PEV: So, how is this album different than others out today?

RM: Um, I don’t know, you are really stumping me. Let’s see. It’s weird because we had a time when there were a lot of albums that came out that weren’t really great. But now there are a lot of artists really pulling through with some good stuff. I think with this album it can fit into that pop category and go to that other level that people will hear it and people will go into it. But it’s not that washed out pop stuff. It’s contagious but not that washed out kind of stuff. I don’t know how to explain it… you’ve kind of stumped me.

PEV: Is there an up and coming artist that we should be looking out for?

RM: There are a few actually. There is a reggae artist named Sizzla. An artist named Kevin Michael. So many of them. There’s an artist named Rue Melo… I don’t know if you’ve heard of her. She is really cool and her album is really dope. But there are so many great ones. I look online and on MySpace… Sometimes I’ll go into a record store and just pick up a random album. I get very pleasantly surprised sometimes. You’ve got to look for great music.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your success?

RM: They’ve been really great. They are really happy for me and everyone is very supportive. My family and I are very close.

PEV: So what is next for Rue Melo?

RM: What is next for Rue Melo?… Well, we are shooting a video for “This Is My House”. And trying to figure out stuff to put on the second album. A lot of stuff going on. Trying to be on the road as much as possible.

PEV: I appreciate you taking out the time with me.

RM: Thank you so much.

For more information on Rue Melo, check out www.RueMusic.com

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