Melaena Cadiz is a singer-songwriter in Brooklyn — she’s doing a month-long live music residency at Ace New York and was kind enough to tell us some stories of early music-making and recent projects. Come see her and her band tonight in the lobby if you’re in the neighborhood.
I always sang as a child. When my parents’ friends were over I’d hide behind the couch — my dad would introduce me and I’d twirl out and sing “Tomorrow” or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” One time I twirled so violently to Whitney Houston’s “I Believe the Children Are the Future” that I slammed into the coffee table and broke my nose.
I started dabbling with the violin in middle school. I enrolled in orchestra and took some lessons. But I was so terrible, my mom (who normally was wildly supportive of anything I did) asked me to please practice in the garage.
My brother, Michael & I went to live with our dad in Singapore when I was a sophomore in high school. My dad’s an architect and was working in Singapore at the time but continuously traveling everywhere. After one trip, he brought home a classical guitar and taught us some chords. We had a collection of songbooks of tunes from the 60s & 70s, so we started by learning Bob Dylan songs & Cat Stevens and that sort of thing. We fell in love with it instantly and started writing these teenage ballads & weird grunge tunes right away. My friends and I started a band and played some school functions. We did a lot of L7, Hole and Nine Inch Nails covers.
Recently, I had the good fortune of touring with Chad Stokes & Friends. It was a benefit tour for Calling All Crows (they’re an amazing organization started by Chad & his wife, Sybil Gallagher) and Oxfam. We helped raise money to support grants, job training and small business loans for women in Sudanese refugee camps.
After my residency at Ace New York, I’ll be working with the band (Arthur Vint on drums, Scott Colberg on bass and Adam Lomeo on guitar) to record a new album in September at the studio in Greenpoint where I recorded my last album.
See you Sunday, Melaena.