Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Journey to Hip-Hop ... Milwaukee: @MelissaCzarnik

Editor's Note: Almost a year ago, I met Melissa Czarnik. Well, “met” is a relative term. Melissa continues to be one of the coolest people that I’ve never actually met but have created a friendship via the Internet. She was the first MKE artist we ever featured on the site and it was like opening Pandora’s box, because that gave way to finding many more talented MKE heads. I interviewed Melissa just under a year ago and I revisit that interview now; plus some new music! Enjoy.

Three years ago we launched The Mad Bloggers as a way to vent about the way we saw thing in the world. Then we began to morph and push music. Twenty-four days ago, we re-launched The Mad Bloggers, with a bit of our old sarcastic edge coupled with a desire to share real music and talented artists.

It’s because of commercial radio, MTV, BET and other commercial outlets that our site and other sites like ours can exist. I turned off the radio a few months ago because every time it was on, there was some new instructional dance garbage passing itself off as real music. Because of our discontent with mainstream music, we constantly comb the Internet for good, unheard of and mostly underground music. We then share it here with you.

Melissa Czarnik is one of those finds. She is one of the first heads that we spotlighted on our revamped blog in early April. I was immediately impressed with the emcee out of Milwaukee. To me, she has content and a lyrical delivery to back it up. Her music has something a lot of music on the radio is missing – passion. I’m happy to support real music. Melissa has an album out, Strawberry Cadillac, which is available on iTunes. Get that! Only $9.99.

Like I said, we’ve featured her music in the past but wanted to take an opportunity to do a Q&A and hear from the woman behind the music. Check out what she had to say.

The Mad Bloggers: How do you describe what you do? Like, would you consider yourself an emcee, poet, etc?

Melissa Czarnik: I consider myself a poet/emcee. I read a lot of poetry. I work at a destination poetry bookstore, Woodland Pattern Book Center, which brings in poets from across the nation and so I’m constantly surrounded by inspiring wordsmiths. I also grew up on hip-hop. Some of my favorites are 2 Pac, Lauryn Hill, and Diamond District, and so I mix the two together sort of naturally. I think the one thing that defines me, as poet/emcee, is that I don’t pay any attention to the rules of hip-hop (per say). That whole verse, chorus, verse, chorus thing ain’t really my thing. If I want to have a 24 bar poem that leads into a 16 bar verse that exits back into a 24 bar poem then that’s what I’ll do.

TMB: How much time do you spend per week dedicated to music?

MC: In terms of time spent working on music, I feel like all my free time goes towards working on music. Because when I’m reading, I’m furthering my vocabulary and my knowledge, which eventually ends up in my rhymes. When I’m listening to music, I’m constantly analyzing, “OK, what did I like about this, what can I borrow from to make my music better.” And in terms of writing, I’m always writing. Now whether it ends up in a song or not is one thing but like I always say a “line of rhyme a day, keeps the haters at bay!”

TMB: Shows, events that are upcoming and exciting?

MC: Yes, I am currently talking with some people over in Europe about doing a couple of shows possibly in Frankfurt, Germany and Brussels, Belgium in May. If those two shows come together I will try and organize a mini tour over there in some other cities. My fingers are crossed!

TMB: You're a female ... how does that play in hip-hop for you? (Woman in mainstream music often had to come off more sexual than talented for example) Do you see it as an issue in presenting who you are?

MC: I see it as an issue for women in general, more than just for me. I mean women in music often use their bodies to sell themselves. The problem starts with mainstream record labels putting a pretty face before talent. The next thing you know you got little girls growing up thinking all I got to do is look sexy, play dumb and I’ll get ahead in life. I think that’s why I look up to women like Ani Difranco, india.arie, and Lauryn Hill. Cause these are women who are talented, intelligent, and naturally sexy. I mean Lauryn Hill could rock a mini-skirt and some combat boots and be sexy as all hell, and yet kill whatever Pras or Clef were spittin next to her. Which actually brings me to your first question about being a female in hip-hop. I feel that I constantly have to watch my back cause it’s a male dominated game. I want to be strong, taken seriously, but at the same time I don’t want to hide my sexiness. I also want to make sure people like me for my talent and not for my body. So at one show I might be rocking a dress and the next show I’m in dickies, timbs, and a hoodie. But, I usually always got some sneakers on or some boots, cause you never know when you’re gonna have to take off running!

TMB: If there was one thing you could change about that state of Hip-Hop right now, what would it be?

MC: I would like to change the fact that most of the hip-hop you hear on the radio today is garbage, degrading, and mindless. I would like to make it so that in order to get on the radio, young emcees had to aspire to be uplifting and have heart.

"Happy Song" Melissa Czarnik & The Eric Mire Band from "Local Live"

Download "Local Live"

Follow the madness:
Check out more from The Mad Bloggers

No comments:

Post a Comment