For “Studios Sessions,” we delve into the stories behind the long hours in the studio and all that goes into making an album by talking with artists, producers, engineers, photographers, and more who are intimately connected to the recording process with some of the biggest artists in the world. These are the stories that rarely leave the booth.
Melii has made covers of hip hop hits like “Bodak Yellow” turned relationship quarrels into bangers like “You Ain’t Worth It” with 6lack, and bragged with the best of them on “Icey.” But, before the world knew of her talents, she had to prove that her pen was not to be questioned.
“I just went into the studio with the engineer I was working with [Patrik Ehrenbald-Plummer] and knocked out five songs alone,” Melii told REVOLT. “I just did it in a sense where the engineer knew it was me doing all of this alone.”
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” the artist explains coming out of her comfort zone to work with Meek Mill, pushing Joey Bada$$ to try new things, and what we can expect from her next project. Peep below.
You’ve been in the game for a few years. Who are some major artists you’ve worked with in the studio?
I don’t really work with people in the studio. I’m a person who is alone in the studio. If I collab with artists, I’ll usually send it in. The only people I actually knocked out a song with in the studio were Meek Mill and Tory Lanez. Other than that, I don’t go in the studio with the artist. The 6lack record (“You Ain’t Worth It”), I sent him the verse. I don’t really like it when other people are in my sessions. That’s my time. For the 6lack record, I originally had a different song for him to do, but he didn’t really think he could get on that beat and told me to send him another song. I ended up sending the “You Ain’t Worth It” song.
Speaking of your collaboration with Meek, “With The Shits (W.T.S),” how did that come about?
That feature came about a few years ago during one of those weekends when there’s a lot of things going on. He was in the studio and he asked if I was still in town. I said, “Yes,” came to the studio, and knocked it out with him.
Knowing you have a very private way of recording music, how did you adapt to working with him in the studio?
I always express to any artist I’m around that I usually am on my own. Meek was really cool about it. He was very supportive. He told me, “Do what you do. You’re good. No pressure.”
What does Melii need in the studio to make music?
I light candles. I’ll have weed in the studio. I’ll have a bottle of any kind of wine. Then, I’ll turn off all the lights and go through beats. I’ll decide if I’m going to write to them depending on how invested I want to be in the song. If it’s something I can flow off the head, I’ll just freestyle it on the mic.
What’s the longest you’ve been in the studio?
I’ve locked in for an entire day in the studio before. I’ve been to friends’ studio sessions where we start in the morning and go all day.
In 2019, you posted on Instagram that people were claiming credit for your bars before you signed your deal on December 8, 2017, and you went in the studio to prove you write your own lyrics. What were those sessions like?
I just went into the studio with the engineer I was working with [Patrik Ehrenbald-Plummer] and knocked out five songs alone. I just did it in a sense where the engineer knew it was me doing all of this alone.
Since you have private sessions, have there been any emotional ones?
I only had those moments for my songs “Way Out,” “Who Changed,” and “Pretty Girls.” Those three songs are very personal. I tapped into it and felt I was reliving those moments while writing them in the studio.
What’s the quickest song you ever made?
I think “TM Interlude.” Any of my interludes are really quick to record. Those are off the top of my head. By then, I’m already in my zone and I’ve been smoking long enough. I just go in.
What are some of your favorite strains to smoke while making music?
I like smoking OG like OG Kush. I smoke indica, too. I really don’t care as long as it’s hitting. You know what’s trash weed and you know what’s not.
What are some collaborations you still have on your bucket list?
I feel like the only person I would’ve wanted to collaborate with has passed, which is Amy Winehouse. It would’ve been a sick song about feelings.
You’ve also been in the studio with Joey Badass.
We actually have a couple of songs tucked in that we haven’t released yet. With Joey, I tend to do different types of shit. He’s singing and shit on the ones we’ve worked on. He’s an old-school type of rapper, but I’ve been pushing him to try new things. As an artist, we have to push each other to try new things.
How did you end up on Jessie Reyez’s “ANKLES”?
I fuck with Jessie. She’s actually one of my good friends in this industry. Everybody I fuck with is very different but alike in personality. In the industry, I don’t think people would think they would be associated with me. That’s my girl. I was in a club and she said to me, “I have to cut this for my album. I need you to do this right now.” I told her, “I can’t do it right now because I’m at the club.” The next day at eight in the morning, I went into the studio and knocked it out for her.
How have you become a better recording artist over the years?
With age, I stopped giving a fuck. I used to be in the studio thinking, “Ahhh, I have to make sure people like it.” Or I’d give a fuck about what the label thinks and stuff like that. I started understanding the dynamics between the fans and the artist, in general, and how they are the only people that matter. I saw I didn’t have to cater to everything they wanted, but if you keep it authentic, they’ll grow with you. If you give kids options, they’re just going to tell you what they want. But, if you introduce them to new things and then they’d have the ability to choose something new.
How did the pandemic affect your recording?
It didn’t affect my recording that much because I usually record in Miami or L.A. The distance was the only thing that got in the way, but after a while, I was able to fly out to Miami. Everything was cool. I don’t want to deal with that anymore and that’s why I do want my home studio. I got back in the studio around May.
What can we expect from your next project?
The next project is going to be rawer. It’s going to be the same Spanish and English rapping, but more raw and more storytelling. It’ll be an actual body of work.