Melissa VanFleet Music Interview ~ Gothic Girl Art Magazine
From our Vault.
It’s a spectacularly sunny day in Detroit. But for Melissa VanFleet; it’s darker. While some of this has to do with the weather she’s experiencing on the east coast of America, much of it has to do with who she is.
But, you’d never guess this about her by listening to her talk. She has a sunny, upbeat cadence to her voice. Always positive. Always trying to pull light from the dark.
It’s when you listen to what she’s saying that the timbre of her voice begins to compliment her darkness, and the Goth in her is revealed.
Goths are regularly misunderstood, introverted, private. VanFleet is all of these things. The bright side is that when you talk with her, you’re on the receiving end of someone who is truly focused on thinking about the conversation you’re having and her own reaction to the conversation. She then replies with an answer that addresses your question on multiple levels.
If this prelude sounds and feels like you, then you’re on the path to understanding Melissa VanFleet’s music, and by extension, who she is.
“…even the songs I wrote back then (age 8), were very dark themed.” ~Melissa VanFleet
The beginning to a life of Gothic art for VanFleet started early and was influenced by the metal music that she listened to with her father–Dio and Alice Cooper to name two. She also had a shared love of opera with her great-uncle and great-grandfather which influenced her singing. And her mother’s life, living as a second generation American from an Italian family, shaped her worldview. By eight, she was writing dark music and her first recording was when she was twelve. Not exactly the recipe for fitting in with mainstream society.
VanFleet eventually found a path toward solace during walks in the forest. The atmosphere helped her to contemplate fragments of biographies she had created in her mind. The ethereal people who live there found comfort in struggling with understanding God, suicide, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Perhaps not mainstream topics to write about, but for many of us, important ones.
“I find beauty in things that are dark.” ~Melissa VanFleet.
Her journey to writing and recording Raven, took a big leap forward in 2012 when she was struggling with what to give her father as a birthday gift. She chose to give him a cover of Sleeping (In the Fire) by W.A.S.P. that she initially arranged and then recorded while performing with her piano.
Half a million views later on YouTube and Douglas Blair from W.A.S.P. had written to her.
This unforeseen attention lead to her album Metal Lullabies, a tribute to the metal of her childhood with her own personal vocal and piano twists. Interspersed within the covers were original works by VanFleet.
And near the end: Heaven’s a Lie by Lacuna Coil. A fortunate song selection.
Sunny, warm, fashion central, Gothic. In 2017, VanFleet experienced almost none of this northern Italian gem as she worked to craft songs with Italian bass-playing composer Marco Coti-Zelati from Lacuna Coil as her producer.
“I can’t find my demons anymore” ~Melissa VanFleet from the song Raven.
Coti-Zelati was there with her. Supporting, arranging, pushing her to create what is essentially her musical debut. Blair was with her too, contributing a remarkable guitar solo counterpoint to VanFleet’s vocals and the thundering bass line.
“I always like to write about things that scare me.” ~Melissa VanFleet.
Raven begins to tell the story of Melissa VanFleet.
The rawness of what scares her.
You can feel it in her remarkable voice.
Hear it in her music.
This is who she is.
“Shine your light ‘cause I can’t see.” ~Melissa VanFleet from the song Raven.
In Milan’s La Scala Opera House, her great-uncle and great-grandfather are applauding. Join them as they begin to understand what she’s been trying to say her whole life.
Five of Five Black Roses ~buy her music today.
Recorded at BRX Studio, Milan
Music by Melissa VanFleet & Marco “Maki” Coti-Zelati
Lyrics by Melissa VanFleet (BMI)
Produced by Marco “Maki” Coti-Zelati
Engineered by Marco Barusso & Dario Valentini
Mixed by Marco Barusso
Mastered by Marco D’Agostino @ 96kHz Mastering Studio, Milan
Lead Guitar Solo by Douglas Blair of W.A.S.P.
Video: Styled by Serpent & the Swan/The Grande Dame
America and Italy