ECR Music Group may sound familiar to you after reading my interview with Blake Morgan, the owner of the label. ECR is dominating Livewell’s Latest once again, but this time with the words and story of Melissa Giges. Giges is a New York native who’s music has been featured on radio television shows of all kinds including, Real World, Bad Girls Club, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and Kourtney & Chloe Take Miami.
Giges latest release, “Just When I Let Go” was first heard by the public on June 10th released exclusively on iTunes, and I have to say that I instantly was interested to speak to Giges about her latest project, and the inspiration behind it.
“I’ve always known that I wanted music to be a part of my life,” she said. “However, I wasn’t sure exactly what role it would play until I started writing music my freshman year of college. I started playing piano at the age of four, and taking singing lessons around age ten. I was classically trained but as I got a little older, my tastes evolved and I became interested in different kinds of music. I was especially interested in jazz singers like Sarah Vaughn and Nina Simone. I received a Presidential Arts music scholarship for The George Washington University. I was encouraged to start writing by a friend of mine, the artist Angela Aki. We were in an a cappella group together.”
“One day, we were sitting in the practice rooms so she could play a new song for me. I remember telling her that I wish I could do the same. She responded by telling me that I had a huge advantage because I played an instrument. She told me to sit down at the piano and just sing whatever came to mind. So that’s what I did. I was all-in at that moment and I’ve never stopped.”
It is evident in her music that Giges found her voice, her style, and her calling at that moment and never looked back. There is a deep message behind her songs, and almost ominous air about them. The entire album is whimsical, with a lot of diminished and minor chords truly enhancing her powerful lyrical style.
When I interviewed Blake Morgan about his “I Respect the Music” campaign not too long ago, I was intrigued by how personable he was, and how interested he was int he careers of others. It seemed to me that he was all about bettering the music industry, and the artist he came across, so I was curious as to whether or not Giges decided to become a part of ECR for a certain reason, and whether Blake Morgan influenced her decision at all with his supportive mindset.
“When I was in my early twenties, I had a few meetings with major labels. They loved my voice but the consensus was that they wouldn’t be able to put me in a specific music category. That was a problem for them. So they wished me luck and sent me on my way,” Giges responded. “A few years later, I met Blake. He asked me some really tough questions about what kind of artist I wanted to be and where I saw my career going. Before we started my first record, Evident, I put together a long playlist of the music that I loved so he could understand my vision. He absolutely did.” After briefly speaking to Blake, it was no surprise to me that he was able to grasp her artistic vision. “Not only that, he allowed me to be the artist I aspired to be, instead of focusing on a specific genre of music and encouraging me to change. That’s why ECR is so special. Each of us are unique in our own way. We are a team, and we are a family. We are very supportive of each other and even play in each other’s bands.
“The ‘I Respect Music Campaign’ came along when we were in the recording process for “Just When I Let Go,” which is my second record with ECR. It’s exciting to be a part of history and I’m very proud of the enormous amount of work that Blake is putting in to get the bill passed for artists getting paid on the radio.”
After reading a bit about Giges and learning about her story and journey into the industry, I found the title of her second album, “Just When I Let Go,” very telling. Almost as if saying… “Just when I let go of any stigmas or ideas that I have to change who I am to be categorized into a genre, my real music and real self can be heard.” Of course, we all have our own interpretation on music, and that’s why I believe it is such an art, but Giges’ point of view is what is most important when it comes to this album.
“We didn’t decide the title until the album was almost finished. There’s a recurring theme throughout this record about speaking up. I used to express my frustrations, sadness, happiness, or whatever emotion I was feeling at the time mostly through my songwriting. I had a hard time saying things out loud. I’m a different person now, and I’ve grown,” Giges expressed when I asked about the title of the album release. “That growth definitely weaves through these songs. When Blake and I were discussing album titles, it just made sense. “Just When I Let Go,” is one of the songs on the record. I can’t be afraid of letting go and speaking up, if I am, nothing will happen or change. I will not grow as a person or as an artist. The song, “Just When I Let Go,” specifically is about the push/pull in a relationship. I let go. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and open, and then that person disappeared. When I let go of that person, they reappeared. Looking back, it seems kind of exhausting how much energy was wasted but I know it happens often. But at least I learned a lesson and I got a song of out it!”
I don’t think there is a single person out there who can’t relate to that exhausting feeling of investing so much into something or someone and feeling as though it was effort wasted, but never a regret, because a lesson is learned.
“For me, it’s always upsetting when the recording process is over,” Giges admitted. “Of course, it’s exciting to have the finished product, but being in the studio is when I feel the most creative. I’m at my best and happiest self. So I’ve learned when I’m not in the studio I have to make sure I’m still doing something rewarding and creative. I have to be working on my blog, writing new music, performing, and listening to new music. Now that the album is finished, most people would think there would be some down time. However, I’ve been busier than ever and I like it that way. I’ve been doing interviews, preparing for shows, and I sing back-up vocals and play piano with my label-mate, Janita, in her band. It’s also important for me to stay connected with the people in my life. Also, I’m an outdoorsy person so it’s important for me be outside. It’s kind of hard to believe since I live in New York City but I like discovering the hidden gems in the city.”
Melissa may be one of the most interested, and interesting artists I have ever had the pleasure of interviewing. She isn’t afraid to answer questions with her heart on the sleeve, and not only does that make for a great interview and informational article, but it really is the true sign of an invested and talented artist.
My favorite song on the album is the single, “Audience” because I think it’s a really interesting concept for a relationship song. It isn’t your typical to have loved and lost theme. The lyrics of this piece are actually really empowering, and with a cross between Evanescence and Alanis Morissette, Melissa Giges uses the levels of her vocal technique to enhance the lyrics and the messages behind them.
“It’s about someone that was constantly around and I felt like I couldn’t breathe in the relationship. I believe each person in a relationship has to have a life of their own and their own interests,” Giges expressed. “A good friend of mine said this quote to me and I think about it often because it’s so true. ‘You’re only as interesting as your own interests.’ The person I wrote this song about just didn’t have that. I couldn’t be his only interest or audience. I’ve always been very independent. I was raised that way and I wouldn’t have it any other way. On the other hand, I do have to remind myself that I can let a boyfriend fix the appliances or take charge sometimes. It has to be the right balance.”
Giges said it is very difficult to choose her personal favorite song because music is very situational for her. There is a song however, “Dlm” by James Blake that really speaks to her at the moment. She describe’s Blake’s vocals as haunting, which is interesting to me because that is exactly how I would describe her sound, and the all around concept of “Just When I Let Go.”
Melissa Giges is an inspiring artist, with a real story and real passion behind the music she creates and shares with the world. Her latest album, “Just When I Let Go” has the power to inspire, relate to, and give comfort to anyone who listens.
“You’re Only As Interesting as Your Own Interests”
So make Melissa’s one of yours, and listen to the stories she has to tell.