Since the beginning of Hip-Hop, female voices – while highly instrumental in the success of our genre – have traditionally taken a back seat to the more masculine vocal vibrations that have dominated the industry for some time now. In fact, during the formative years of Hip-Hop, many times the featured female artist wouldn’t even be credited, leaving the identity of this soothing, vibrant voice to the imagination. Somewhere along the line though – Faith Evans and Mary J. Blige both thank you, Puff – the feminine voice started to become the most profitable and to be quite honest, most recognizable part of rap records; paving the way for a generation of Hip-Hop inspired crooners to make their own marks on the genre. One New Jersey singer, who’s traveled a similar path, playing the background to NYC mainstays like The Underachievers and YL, is named Mello & if her newly released solo record, “Tested” is any indication, we could have another one on our hands.
After knocking it out of the park with a scene stealing verse on YL’s, “Dwele Song” which include a With All Due RESPECT. inclusion, NJ native Mello decided to take a shot at her own solo record, and boy are we glad she did. Meshing ambient vibes, sobering lyrics and an off-the-wall style with the sweet, soulful sounds of Roper Williams – who MIGHT be one of the most underrated producers in the Big Apple – “Tested” is the perfect record to ride out to. When asked about the song and the obscure artwork, the East Coast rep told RESPECT.,
“When I wrote this song, it was a pretty difficult time of my life where I felt I was being tested on my patience and emotional stability. It also tackles aspects of false companionship and conditional bonds I had with friends which left me questioning our relationships. As for the art, This one in particular demonstrates the raw and well, naked side of Mello. I’m a pretty private person and incredibly shy so when I decided to take my singing seriously by putting myself out there with local open mics and events, it was absolutely terrifying but I set up for myself in terms of what I really enjoy doing and wanted to pursue: a singing career. This is me introducing myself as a singer and unfolding myself, showing a bunch of people I don’t know my emotions and painting a picture of parts of my life through my lyrics.
Further speaking on her relationship with UA, YL and Williams, Mello continued,
“Giani, my manager, is the man that made all of this happen. YL is the first artist he had me connect and work with which was amazing, I relate heavily with his old school sound. Later on I meet Roper Williams, the talented dudes who produced the beat to “Tested” who are another favorite set of producers of mine. It’s so easy for me to flow on almost all of their beats. It wasn’t that long after until Giani sets me up with being the only feature to AKTHESAVIOR‘s Blessings in the Grey 2 which led to also featuring in The Underachievers’ most recent album release Renaissance. That humbling and amazing opportunity pretty much set it stone for me in terms of making music, like okay wow, I’m really doing this. Man, they’re my new family. I love them all.”
With a stout team behind her to compliment talent that is bursting out of the seams, it’s only a matter of time before Mello is being placed among contemporary stars like Jean Deux, NoName, Jhene Aiko and more; or above them. Check out the premiere of, “Tested” produced by Roper Williams below and get hip to the future.