A very sexy and soulful addition to NYC’s burgeoning queer music scene whose debut EP “OVERthinking Out LOUD” is making its mark after dropping just last month, German-born Mel Lennon is–by every definition–one to watch, and one to listen to.
Thotyssey: Hello Mel! We’re in the spooky season… are you a Sexy Halloween or a Scary Halloween trick-or-treater?
Mel Lennon: Definitely sexy–but some may find it scary, lol! But I like to take this holiday to be a little more open and free than usual. Can we call it a holiday?
Oh, absolutely! And I think we should also declare this week a new holiday, since you’ve recently had a streaming milestone.
Haha, aw yeah! Over one thousand streams, and that’s just from Spotify and Apple Music. Now listen, I know it ain’t breaking no records… but every single stream means so much to me. Not only as an indie artist, but it’s my debut. So, I’m definitely down with celebrating that.
It’s an amazing progression! I’m gonna ask you more about the album in a bit… but first, let’s cover the origin story. Where’s your original hometown, and what was the first music you remember inspiring you?
I was actually born and raised in Germany. I was born in Frankfurt, but I lived in several towns across the country until I graduated high school. I will never not remember hearing Ginuwine’s “Pony” for the first time, and immediately deciding to make music that would play on the radio one day. Thus started my love for pop, but especially hip-hop and R&B inspired pop.
Did you grow up writing songs and singing / performing, or is that all a more recent development?
I have been writing, producing and performing my own music since I was in middle school. I would make an album (and back then, albums were not eight songs, chile… I’m talking 16 to 18), and I would print the cover and back for the jewel cases, and even print on a sticker meant to cover the CDs… and I would pass them out at school. What’s recent is my knowledge of mixing and mastering, and so now it’s finally at a professional level. But I’ve been doing this since I can remember.
Have you listened to any of those first CDs recently?
They’re gone! Someone at Hanau High School stole my CD case housing–all my CDs. And my Mom had our computer erased before that… and so all I have are things I started making from high school on. So sad! But I’m sure they were lit and Grammy-worthy. Almost certain!
Just you wait… another thousand streams from now, and suddenly those first records are gonna resurface!
Lol, right!? That’s why I mentioned the exact school!
“Mel Lennon” is a great, punny name… kind of like a drag name! When did you start performing / recording under that moniker?
I started going by Mel Lennon pretty much at the start of this year. So. Be gentle. He’s new.
Has being a queer, fabulous, POC hip hop artist been a challenging identity to navigate? Or were you able to find your groove early on?
I have been gay since I could say the letter “G,” so there was really no place for me to hide. I’ve always been an “out” artist, but I always came with sounds that pulled people in… so I’ve never really had any disrespect in that sense. So yes, I found my groove very early on. Like, birth.
Werk! Speaking of which, we love the “WERK” video, which features lots of amazing choreography in a very swanky environment. Where was that shot?
Now if I tell where it was shot, it might break the illusion… lol! It was actually shot on the roof of my boyfriend’s apartment building.
You go, set designer!
Right? Which was me, lol! And thank you so much… we WERKed hard and quick on that video. So proud of all that worked on it, and how it came out.
Do you enjoy the video filming process?
Sometimes I’ll even think of visuals when I’m making a song. “WERK” wasn’t one of them… but I love film and music videos so very much.
You really shine onstage in your live performances, serving soul and choreo and sexy fashions! And you’ve done the local queer venue circuit with shows in places like XOXO Bar and 3 Dollar Bill, plus a great showcase with fellow recording artist Jack Tracy at Dixon Place this past August.
Thank you so much! I have to give a shout out to Jack Tracy who ushered me into the scene here, and I couldn’t be more grateful! I can’t wait to do more now that I actually have my own work to show.
That was the most fun! I can’t wait for the next one! *ahem*
You and Jack will be returning to the Playhouse stage this Sunday! This time it’s for a somewhat more somber cause, as the local NYC nightlife family rallies to raise funds for one of our own, DJ 2Face, as he deals with family funeral expenses. But while the cause is sad, the show will need to be an epic kiki to get those dollar storms pouring, and to show our love for our colleague in need. Many of Playhouse, Hardware and Pieces top house queens will be turning it out onstage as well.
I’m so very honored to be a part of this, especially since it’s to lend a helping hand to someone so great in our community.
Give us a spoiler re: your number!
Ha! All I can tell you is that the outfit will definitely be more….revealing than anything I’ve worn before… but of course in a tasteful way. Ish. Mostly! Shout out to my stylist Empress of No Label Movement!
Anything else coming up for you?
I will be dropping a video before the year is out for my French duet, and picking up performances here and there… but I’m gearing up for 2022, so everything else is TBA. But I’m sure you’ll be the first to know.
Correct! Thank you so much. We’re in talks now about doing some more things, but— see; you’re already getting the tea out of me. Smh.
Journalism! And lastly, my current favorite seasonal question: have you ever seen a ghost, UFO, etc., or had any sort of supernatural moment?
I haven’t. But one time my Mom and I were driving down the autobahn, and she said she thinks she saw an extraterrestrial. But we were in Europe, and she is from a small city in Georgia. BUT, she was also a nurse… and they know the body more than doctors sometimes. So… who knows!
I believe Mother Lennon! Thanks, Mel!