Published on September 21st, 2021 | by MuzikScribe0
The Ballad Of Melky Jean
Let’s hop right into this latest single, “Lose Urself” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition? This being the first time the masses have heard from you in quite some time — Matter of fact, how long has it been? And, for those not in the know, tell me what all exactly you’ve been up to, both personally and professionally speaking, during your lengthy hiatus from music?
I don’t think I’ve really had a hiatus from music. Musicians we often find a way to create. For the past few years I have been performing all over the world, but most importantly I found my voice through my foundation the Carma Foundation.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Melky Jean?
My mother told me that I could sing before I could talk; it’s probably because she was a singer who used to hum beautiful melodies while I was in her belly. I have been singing my entire life; started in my father’s church in Brooklyn, New York. Singing with my siblings in the family band and in choirs. I went on to performing arts…performing Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey.
Now you’re a native of Haiti, correct? So growing up in ‘Pearl of the Antilles,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
So I actually wasn’t born in Haiti, I was born in Brooklyn, New York; 1st generation Haitian American, so my musical influences range from traditional gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson to the sultry sound of soul legends like Betty Wright.
From a professional standpoint, it was your own brother, Wyclef, who recruited you and your other sibling, Farel Sedeck, to join Refugee Camp, right?
I don’t know if it was so much a recruitment as much as it was a birthright. We all were Refugee Camp. We were family. the headquarters for Refugee Camp, the Booga Basement, was the home of our late uncle, Sedekani. We’re supposed to be in school, but instead we found our education at the Booga Basement.
How then did Melky Sedeck as a collective first come to formation?
So Melky Sedeck initially is my middle name. My father had 3 boys, and wanted to give me -his 1st born daughter – a special name. He then decided to shorten it to Melky. My brother Sedeck took on the name while we were making music together. It was a natural fit.
What particular string of events actually led to your initial inking with MCA Records?
We were actively on the music scene. Our lawyer at the time Theodore was setting up different meetings and showcases for us. When we met Jeff Redd the legend, who is responsible for signing so many acts, it was a no brainer! Our energies meshed, and we knew we were gonna make our record with him.
Y’all dropped your impressive debut Sister & Brother in 1999 — What do you remember most about this time in both your life and career?
I remember most of all during that period in our lives coming into our own as artists and creatives. Though the album didn’t have the mainstream success we had hoped for, it did something else for us; it set us up to be able to work in the business for the rest of our lives.
So what all specifically caused the group to eventually disband, even before providing the opportunity to drop a proper sophomore effort?
Great question! The group has never disbanded; I don’t think I can ever disband from my big brother. We have gone on to get married, have children (and) produce countless records and albums. And prior to Covid, we were even doing shows together. So that sophomore album might still be in the making.
You later went on to write for other artists; Sinead O’Connor, Regina Belle and others — As a songwriter, where do you find / draw your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration through everything. I’m one of those rare souls that feel what other people feel. I take that energy and I put it on paper; it’s a natural thing for me to do. It’s also therapeutic.
Switching gears here…Longevity, what do you attribute yours to?
I think I have been able to work in this business for so many years because I don’t look at it as work. I love music. I love entertainment; there is never a job that’s too big or too small. A lot of times I’ll do something just because it feels right. True creatives we create without any expectations; it’s just what we do. I think that ideology is what keeps me going.
What do you want people to get from your solo music?
I want people to get a vibe. I want people to be able to put these new songs on while cooking or while having a dinner party, and just letting the entire album, the entire collective, ride out. I want people to be able to relate to the lyrics in the songs and find themselves in them…maybe find some peace in them, maybe find the realization that we are all connected.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of R&B music?
The interesting thing about music now is that if you feel like you’re missing something – and I know a lot of people feel like they’re missing R&B – we don’t necessarily rely on the radio stations to play the music that we grew up on or that we love nowadays. You can seek it and you will find there’s amazing R&B artists out there doing they thing; amazing playlists out there, too.
Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
I am naturally an arts’ baby, so I love doing things like curating art. My latest single “Lose Urself,” I went away from the traditional photoshoot and instead the cover of my single is a work of art by Uncut, a famous graffiti artit’s graffiti artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. So I definitely see myself curating art shows. Expanding my production company. Of course doing more work with the Carma Foundation and changing the world
To date, what has been your greatest career achievement(s), at least thus far anyway?
For me that’s a tough one…you know I worked on singles that broke the Guinness World Record. I was the voice of Sanaa Lathan in Disappearing Acts. I recently was able to be part of the score for one of my favorite TV shows The Chi…and I’m just getting started.
One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
It would have to be “High Heel Shoes” because the lyrics say I’m the girl with the high heeled shoes that be rolling with them dudes who got nothing to lose…one of these days these shoes will walk all over you.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention? And, any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
In closing, my new single “Lose Urself” is really a story about us finding our Zen moment. With everything going on in this world and our personal lives, I think it’s important for us to take a few minutes out of the day for ourselves.
Connect w/Melky Jean Online: