Melanie Martinez is living proof that singing competitions are not always about winning. She was a contestant on The Voice and was one of the final contestants before being eliminated on the fifth week of the season. After her elimination, she began working on her own material and soon released her Dollhouse EP, later releasing her debut album Cry Baby. When we got the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her album here at Baeble, it became clear to us why the 20-year-old has such a passionate, dedicated fanbase.
"A lot of pop music now is all about having a good time and partying and drinking...but like, that's not all there is," she told us. She gave us an insight about Cry Baby, emphasizing her desire to create music that is honest. She wants to tell stories with her music and give people something to connect to that digs deeper than pop music that's around today. She titled her album "Cry Baby" after the character she developed throughout the album that is a version of herself. She uses Cry Baby to tell the story of the ambiguity of her identity, one where she is trapped in a broken childhood, and the other who is confident and secure with herself. Cry Baby begins the album as this broken child, but the album comes to a close with her coming to terms and owning her identity with confidence. Many of the things that happen to Cry Baby in the album have never actually happened to Martinez, but there are also things that have. The album uses fiction and nonfiction to create a story about herself and her interpretation of reality that helped her understand who she was. She told us at Baeble that all of the songs on the album have themes from childhood but with dark, adult themes interwoven in them.
Martinez's battle between light and day is what makes her who she is and her music what it is. One half of her hair is dyed white, the other black. Though she dresses like a toy doll, she wears bright lipstick and makeup, with fake long lashes. She has tattoos, but they're of child-like portraits of carousels and ice cream. Everything about her appearance screams "adult-child" and this applies to her sound. She creates a conversation about the constructions of reality by people, and what reality actually is. She does this by saying things in her songs that people would typically keep hushed to fit into the conventional standard of 'normal.' Her lyrics remind her fans that it's okay if you don't necessarily fit into this category, and there are so many people with stories that are far from perfect. Though I think she does this throughout her whole album, the song "Dollhouse" captures this essence the most.
Places, places, get in your places
Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces.
Everyone thinks that we're perfect
Please don't let them look through the curtains.
In this song, Cry Baby's home is like a doll house. One that is meant to appear functional on the outside, but is deeply broken if you were to "look through the curtains."
One track on the album does this even more aggressively than "Dollhouse." "Sippy Cup" tells the story of a family whose foundation is a lie, and Martinez again flirts with the true and the false, the real and the fake.
Blood money, blood money
How did you afford this ring that I love, honey?
"Just another shift at the drug company, "
He doesn't think I'm that fucking dumb does he?
It doesn't matter what you pull up to your home
We know what goes on inside
You call that ass your own, we call that silicone
Silly girl with silly boys
Martinez is creating music in a way that no one seems to be doing at the moment. She is a living, breathing version of her music, and any artist who can do that with their craft is simply captivating. Something so pure and raw is what keeps people listening to music, and inspiring others to do the same. What she creates is pure and raw, just like her voice. Like Lana Del Rey or Lorde, she sings dreamily in a way that distinguishes her, in a way that keeps you listening. If you know Melanie Martinez, you can spot her voice on any given song without doubt. To be so unique while creating an escape for herself, and people all over the world, makes Martinez an artist who I think we'll be seeing more a lot more from in the future.