I left school to focus on my music

Singer/songwriter Mel Maryns recently released three songs in English, writes COLETTE SHERIDAN, who talks to the Cork-based teen about busking, quitting school and pursuing her musical dreams
I left school to focus on my music

Singer, Mel Maryns.

BRAZILIAN singer/songwriter Mel Maryns, who moved to Cork three years ago, is full of youthful exuberance and optimism. And why wouldn’t she be?

Mel, who is only 17, is dedicated to her craft of writing lyrics and recording songs as well as performing covers.

She left Christ King secondary school after her Junior Cert to pursue music and follow her dream.

Mel’s father is Italian. She is an only child. Both her parents, who work in IT, relocated from Brazil to Cork. Mel says part of the reason for the move was to explore new opportunities for her musical interests.

Before lockdown, she was busking in the streets of Cork and also busked on Dublin’s Grafton Street, where she was spotted and invited to feature on the YouTube channel, ‘Dublin City Today.’

Based in Douglas, Mel says she and her parents decided to live in Cork as it’s “considered the city of music”.

For Mel, discovering Cork was a case of “love at first sight”.

“Every corner that you go, there’s music, from younger people to adults. It really inspired me to keep going with my dreams.”

On a good day, Mel says she can make about €200 busking in the city. She likes to busk on Patrick Street, outside Brown Thomas. Another spot she favours is outside the GPO.

“The Echo guy there is like my backing vocalist!”

After years of singing at home, using a hairbrush as a microphone, Mel was given her first keyboard as a birthday present in 2018.

“I learned how to play the keyboard by teaching myself and watching tutorials on YouTube. I never gave up.”

It has helped her to write her own songs. She has a recording studio at home and posts her music on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music.

“My big plan for this year is to try bringing more comfort to people during these difficult times by connecting people with my music. I recently released three singles in English; Someone to Hold, Burning Flames and Get Away.”

A couple of radio stations play her songs.

“I’m getting a lot of views on my songs as they are not like any other pop music nowadays. I am growing very fast as I have a unique style.”

Mel’s catchy song, Get Away, is inspired by the heartbreak she experienced when a guy she liked ended up with another girl. “I was like ‘why is he doing this because he told me he really liked me?’ But he was in love with another girl. He was playing with me.”

Singer Mel Maryns busking in Cork city, before Covid-19 level 5 restrictions.
Singer Mel Maryns busking in Cork city, before Covid-19 level 5 restrictions.

In Dublin, a busking licence is required to perform in the city. Mel says in Cork, buskers sometimes stay too long in the one spot.

“They don’t give other people a chance to busk.”

Among the musicians that Mel admires and sometimes covers are Elton John, Elvis Presley, Arianne Grande and Sam Mendes.

Asked if she is ambitious, Mel says: “Yes. I want to be famous. I want to inspire people through music. I want people to know who I am.” As for becoming rich, Mel laughs and says: “Hopefully that will happen one day. I really just want to be known as an artist.”

She writes all the time.

“I’m really creative. I love writing. I can write a song in an hour.”

As for the way women are treated in the music business, Mel agrees that it can be a sexist industry.

“Sometimes, people want women to show their bodies. I don’t like the idea of that. Women should be themselves and do whatever they feel comfortable with.”

While Portuguese is Mel’s first language, she prefers to write in English.

“I don’t know how it happened. When I try to write in Portuguese, nothing comes out.”

When she first moved to Cork, Mel admits that she was “scared of the language and stuff. But people in Christ King were so nice to me. It just felt like home. I felt comfortable. I was scared I’d be left out. It wasn’t what happened. It was meant to be. At school, people were trying to teach me English. They were so patient with me. All my teachers were so helpful.”

Television talent shows are not a route that Mel is interested in pursuing.

“That’s not something I’m looking for. I want to focus on my original songs. Maybe I’ll be a rock star. Who knows? I won’t be in Cork forever. I want to travel to other countries.”

With the pandemic, Mel is confined to home with her parents.

“We stay in the house all the time and just go out to Tesco to get food. It’s so sad not being able to busk.”

Yes, I want to be famous. I want to inspire people through music. I want people to know who I am. I really just want to be known as an artist.

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