Pic by Matthew McCoughlin

INTERVIEW: Melody Duncan

Atlanta, Georgia-based singer-songwriter/violinist Melody Duncan has just released pure musical gorgeousness into the world with her brand new album, “Wolf Song.”  Her music cavorts among genres: with hints of Americana, indie-pop, chamber-pop, and folk woven together into a compelling mix, the songs on the album also feature Duncan’s unique vocals, a slightly gravelly beckoning into the depths of her music. With a clear vision and focus, “Wolf Song” was entirely written, performed, recorded, and produced by Duncan. At times sprightly, happy, and effervescent, at other times deep, mysterious, and contemplative, Duncan’s songs visit a full array of emotions, both lyrically and musically.

Prior to her solo music endeavors, Duncan was a member of the international touring group The Mulligan Brothers, where she brought violin, fiddle, keyboards, and vocals to the band. Together they hit the top 50 on the Americana charts in the U.S. and played the Cayamo Cruise with artists such as Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Shawn Mullins, Steve Earle, and John Paul White. When The Mulligan Brothers disbanded in January of 2019, Duncan found herself excited for a new chapter in her musical journey and knew she had to finally produce some of the songs she had been writing since she was a young girl.  

Vents Magazine sat down with Duncan to talk about “Wolf Song,” and we discovered the cool story behind the title, how it was to record the record, why she is drawn to multiple instruments, and her very cool podcast.
Vents:  Hi Melody, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Melody:  I can’t complain. Thanks for talking with me about my record!

Vents:  Can you tell us more about your brand new album, “Wolf Song”?

Melody:  I’m excited to share the project because it has been a dream of mine to release a solo album for a long time!
Vents:  The title track is amazing and caught my attention immediately. Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Melody:  I was inspired to write “Wolf Song” after my previous band and I visited a place called Mission: Wolf. It’s a wolf sanctuary in Westcliffe, Colorado. I brought my violin with me, and the owner allowed me to play for the wolves. It was an incredible experience. At first we weren’t sure how the wolves would react to hearing the violin, but one by one they all started howling along. The sound was haunting, inspiring, and beautiful. I love remembering that moment when the music brought us all together.

Vents:  Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Melody:  It’s in the planning stages. I have a few ideas I would love to bring to life!
Vents:  How was the recording and writing process for that song? How about for the album overall?
Melody:  I recorded the album in my home studio, so there were a few challenges with outside noises such as lawn mowers, rain storms, neighbors etc. However, that’s also one of the reasons I was able to record some of the cool nature sounds on many of the tracks.
Vents:  You are originally from Alabama and now live in Georgia. What role have those two states played in your music?
Melody:  My hometown, Mobile, Alabama, is full of amazing musicians who play a wide variety of different styles and genres. I’m grateful I grew up in Mobile because of the kind people that are there and the amazing support they’ve always shown to me. While I still visit home often, I love Georgia because it has great places to hike and that’s one of my favorite things to do.

Vents:  You are a multi-instrumentalist, according to your press materials, but your press photos show you with a violin. What about this instrument made it the one you wanted to focus on the most? What other instruments do you play?
Melody:  I play several different instruments, but over the years I’ve freelanced a lot with the violin, so that’s the instrument many people associate me with. It’s definitely an instrument I connect with easily. I love the tone, timbre, and versatility of the violin. However, I honestly also love those things about the guitar, piano, and banjo — it really just depends on the moment.

Vents:  Your music has a number of different flavors to it. How would you describe the music that you make?
Melody:  I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. I’ve been told that it has an Americana, folk, bluegrass, rock, pop, Celtic feel. So, I suppose it’s a mix of genres.
Vents:  When you are able to head back out on the road, what song are you most looking forward to playing live from this album and why?
Melody:  I look forward to playing all the songs. For me, part of the awesomeness that is performing live is enjoying different songs with different audiences. Some audiences love upbeat stuff, while others prefer something different. So, I look forward to playing all the songs and connecting with the different ones at different times.
Vents:  Who are your biggest musical influences? Favorite album of all time?
Melody:  I have many musical influences including: my family, Elton John, James Taylor, Freddie Mercury, Nat King Cole, Chris Thile, Fritz Kreisler. There’s so much incredible music, I honestly don’t have a favorite album of all time.
Vents:  What else is happening next in Melody Duncan’s world?

Melody:  I have a podcast called “The Head and Tail.” The episodes are filled with strategies on how to deal with the ups and downs, the yin and yang, the head and tail of life. I designed it to help us be more resilient when it comes to common daily struggles. It’s available for streaming most everywhere podcasts are currently up!

Artist website:  https://www.melodyduncanmusic.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TheMelodyDuncan/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTIG0rIcZ2M8XubpNsU1Qgw
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheMelodyDuncan
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/themelodyduncan/

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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