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Words / Erica Russell
We’re #1 fans of Mel Jade‘s latest sparkling indie-pop single, “Cheerleader,” debuting exclusively here on LADYGUNN. The release comes off of the independent Australian singer-songwriter’s forthcoming sophomore album, ‘Dreamsick,’ due out this year.
With sparse production focused on melodic a cappella layering, the dreamy single finds Mel declaring her unconditional support. “Whether you win or lose, I’ll root for you,” she croons on the minimalist ballad, angelic vocals layered to create a throwback girl-group effect. And the accompanying video is just as enchantingly simple, playing like a slow-motion dream sequence as Mel wanders the grounds of a faux abandoned hotel (while wearing Balmain, no less).

We spoke to the colorful Aussie babe about what influenced the dreamy track, who her personal cheerleaders are, and what to expect from her upcoming record.

Who are you, where are you from, and what’s something weird we should know about you?
Hey Ladygunn! I’m a synesthetic, indie pop loving, singing, songwriting girl from Australia. Synesthesia is when your senses cross. It means that I see colors with sounds or words, so writing songs is extra fun for me.
Can you talk a little about your upcoming album ‘Dreamsick’? What are some of the themes and motifs of the record?
‘Dreamsick’ is mostly in shades of blue and purple. There’s a little red, pink and amber but mostly blue and purple. The songs are about turning your real, everyday life into fantasy. Not just chasing dreams but living a dream all the time. Finding the art in everything, even in the mundane or the messed up.
You’re a fully independent artist. What are some of the challenges and also freedoms you’ve encountered as an indie singer-songwriter?
Yeah! Being independent is awesome because you get to follow your own vision. I don’t need to worry if my songs will be hits and make a label lots of cash so I get to write exactly how I want to write. ‘Cheerleader’ for example is full of harmony vocals and nothing else! You don’t hear tracks with no backing music on the radio, but I wanted to write it so I did. The funny thing is that ‘Cheerleader’ turned out to be the favorite track of a lot of my friends. That was a cool surprise because I kind of thought that only I would like it, ha ha. Anyway, back on topic! The biggest challenge that comes with being independent is juggling everything yourself. The creative side, the business side, the touring side. There’s always more I want to be doing but I guess I’ll need to work out how to clone myself first.
What inspired this track? Is it for someone important in your life?
I actually wrote this song because it was exactly what I needed to hear myself at the time. I wrote it for everyone. Sometimes I think the world has forgotten how to see the best in people and I find that weird. We all mess up, we’re all works in progress, we’re all complicated. I’m cool with that.
Who are the biggest cheerleaders in your life?
My family, my friend Ashlee, my stylist Ricky, the guys from 66 Music who produced ‘Dreamsick’ and the people who hang with me on social media and support everything I’m doing. I only surround myself with cheerleaders. They cheer for me and I cheer for them and we’re just a big, cheering mosh pit.
The production on “Cheerleader” is very different from your other tracks, and has a dreamy, minimalist vibe with the layered vocals. Can you talk a little about creating the sound for this song?
I wanted to do a modern take on a barbershop quartet because I love moving harmonies. I recorded the leading vocal first then added each line one by one. It was really fun hearing it all come together in the studio. The last chorus has the gang vocals yelling ‘yeah’ and ‘go’ like a cheer squad so it kind of crescendos at the end without having to use a lot of instruments. Now to perform it live and sing every part I’ll just need to get those clones I was talking about before!
What’s the story behind the video for the track?
I thought that the video should be really simple so it’s just one continuous take of me walking around in the middle of nowhere in slow motion. The song is about sticking by someone no matter what, so the vibe of the location was kind of isolated and melancholy but I’m there walking right beside the viewer the entire time. No cuts, no singing, just me being there. Actually, filming the video was pretty guerrilla. It was shot on an iPhone! Also the hotel in it is fake, it’s an artwork on the side of a freeway in Melbourne haha. Highway patrol showed up straight away and asked us to leave so we literally had to do the video in one take.
Before we sign off, can you make up a quick Mel Jade cheer chant?
I said brrr, it’s cold in here! There must be some Mel Jade in the atmosphere! Yeahhhh

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