VIDEO PREMIERE: Indie Folk Artist Melanie Glenn Offers Triumphant Ode to Friendship with “Dreamer”

Writeup by David Haynes

Melanie Alanna Glenn is a singer-songwriter with a soft and soothing indie-folk sound. She widens eyes with raw, soulful moments through a combination of originals and occasional covers. For the last seven years, Melanie could be found on stage touring nationally with a 7-piece band, Upstate. In recent years she has been exploring the solo journey while apart from her bandmates during the pandemic. Without a schedule packed with touring, Melanie has been creating more solo material that gently weave truth with fiction.

Originally from Rochester, NY, Melanie began her professional music career in the Hudson Valley and since ventured to Western Massachusetts. She has recorded two full-length albums with Upstate, the most recent being “Healing,” produced by Wood Brothers percussionist Jano Rix. Currently, Melanie is preparing to release a full-length solo album that is being recorded in her hometown of North Adams, MA.

It’s been a truly isolating year worldwide. For musicians who have played in bands and groups for most of their artistic lives, there’s been a colossal shift to more intimate, introspective work. And Melanie Alanna Glenn’s newest song, “Dreamer,” is a quiet, yet triumphant ode about the power of friendships to uplift and inspire. Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the song.

As a Rochester, NY native who now lives in Western Massachussetts, Glenn cut her teeth playing in a 7-piece band called Upstate. With such a wide array of members, the band was able to explore sonic palettes of folk, jazz, and pop. During this global pandemic, Glenn has found more time and freedom to explore creating a solo record.

Though “Dreamer” is just guitar and vocals, Glenn manages to evoke a wide range of emotions. Isolation, joy, fatigue, fear, positivity – it’s all here in Glenn’s simple, yet evocative arrangement. The chords shift from haunting to familiar with ease, showing Glenn’s ear for subtle musical complexity. The tone is evocative of bands like Big Thief or Magnolia Electric Co., but Glenn stands on her own as a songwriter completely. There’s a sweetness and a joie de vivre at the heart of this song. The repeated refrain of “You’ll always be a dreamer / you’ll never come down” takes on new meanings with each utterance. One moment, it’s a request. The next, it’s a thank you. Then again, it could be an attempt at a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lyrically, Glenn has this masterful ability to draw every ounce of emotive blood from a simple set of lyrics. It’s what makes this song absolutely special.

The video for the song, filmed by Ryan Walters and edited by Luke Tobin, offers yet another interpretation of the lyrics. Glenn writes, “[The video] follows an abstract storyline of a curious being taking in life while also distorting reality to shed light on mental health awareness and how our minds can choose different patterns of truth.” The mountain setting, interpretive dance, and the multi-colored balloons really add a whole new visual dimension to the song. Sometimes, it can be difficult for songs to translate into visual metaphors. But, Glenn also manages to make this happen with aplomb.

Glenn is in the process now of releasing a full length record. If the rest of the album is like this single, it’ll be on my rotation over and over again. “Dreamer” should resonate with that hopeful side of all of us. Deep down, we’re all dreamers. Aren’t we?

Check out the video for “Dreamer” below and stick around for an exclusive interview with the artist…

You’ve played in a 7 piece band called Upstate. What was it like to shift to solo work?

Shifting to solo work wasn’t as hard because most of the songs I’d write with the band had a lot of steeping time before they went to the whole group. I’d take ideas here to them here and there but always go back to the woodshed for other edits. Sometimes I do find it to be more of a struggle to finish pieces when I don’t have a group that is invested in the idea, but it has been a wonderful experience growing through those barriers.

What excited you the most about the writing/recording process for “Dreamer?”

I found the chord progression before the words and was waiting for the right ones to come. I went through a handful of ideas before finding this message. As much as I love when a song comes together almost instantaneously, there’s something so sweet about a slow grown song. Also, the ending section came about a month past when I thought the song was finished and I was unsure if it needed it or if it was too much. Now, hearing the whole piece, I’m so glad my doubts didn’t get the best of me. I’m so excited to release this song to my fans.

 

The music video is amazing. Can you talk about the process of translating this song into a visual format?

I knew whatever music video I’d make was going to be more abstract and less of a storyline, because I find I have minimal stories and moreso poems within my lyrics. So, creating a more abstract visual felt fitting. I had the idea of balloons as that friend or energy that can lift you up when you’re feeling down, and I like it as an image as well because of its external support. The balloons are also something that float above the head, allowing for something to look up to, though not fully acted out in the video. The balloons also signify youthfullness and a lighthearted space that is so easily lost as we grow into adulthood and are faced with the monotonous aspects of adulting that can strip away abilities to dream and envision fantasy. I also wanted to keep the image of this uplifting spirit nonhuman, and less specific even though the song mentions ,more directly, a person that one looks up to.

What can we expect from the full length? Will it be more songs like this?

The songs vary throughout the album, but I feel they all come together well as a piece, with many flavor pairings. It’s hard to find words to fully describe what I think the album feels like, or even says. It has a lot of messages, a lot of emotion, and involved a lot of personal growth throughout the last couple years.

What has been your biggest takeaway as a songwriter and musician during the global pandemic?

Fans keep you going. I have deeply missed the connection with fans in a live setting and being able to share my creations as well as hear their interpretations. I was blown away by the support of our fans from Upstate through the pandemic, as well as solo fans that would tune in for my solo instragram live performances. I did notice a huge change in my ability to finish songs and to even find meaning when the world was flipped on its back on so many accounts. What would always bring me back to writing was my fans, and knowing that they truly needed more art through these hard times.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about “Dreamer” or the upcoming full length?

I’m just so excited to release this music to the world and am so grateful for the team of artists I have been fortunate enough to work with to get it ready. Thank you to Tom Hamilton for mixing the album, thank you to Ryan Walters for recording the album as well as shooting the music video, thank you to Luke Tobin for doing a spectacular job editing the music video, and thank you to Shannon Cahill for designing the beautiful album artwork. Without the support of these humans and the support of my fans, this album would not have fully come to life. So, thank you.

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