Patricia Melvill is a 25-year-old Portuguese singer and musician who is currently studying Music Creation and Production at ETIC (School for Technologies, Innovation and Creation) in Lisbon, Portugal.
I found this talented artist through a friend in common who kindly showed me one of her acoustic videos where she mashes up two songs to create a very interesting combination of sounds, music and rhythms. In this interview, I get to find more about how she got into music, her hobbies, ambitions and future projects.
How did you first get interested in music?
I started playing classical piano when I was 4 and dropped it by the age of 12. At the age of 14, I learned to play the classical guitar with a friend and became self-taught. I always loved the idea of singing, however, I never knew I had it in me. Actually, I never really considered a music career until very recently. Music was always a hobby for me, but then I started to produce on Fruity Loops and to sing at the age of 21 when my parents got me an electro-acoustic guitar. That’s when I started to see real results and when things started to get kind of serious. I was studying architecture in Lisbon and was miserable. My life changed when I failed so many classes that college made me quit for a year. That school year, 2015/2016, was a turning point in my life. I realized that I had actual potential to be a good musician, and, with hard work and dedication, I could be the person, and artist, I needed to be. So I quit architecture for good and applied for Music Creation and Production course in ETIC.
Which are your main musical influences?
My music influences are endless, from classical music to drum ‘n’ bass. However, there are some artists that made an impact in my life, one way or the other. I like to think that some artists influenced me in different ways and I developed a different approach to the instruments I play because of them. For instance, Muse really molded my way of playing the piano, making me more dramatic. The guy who inspired my acoustic guitar techniques is youtuber Corey Heuvel without a doubt. I learned so much just by watching his videos, though I’m not even half as good as him! John Mayer’s electric guitar solos are mindblowing and a reference to me, as well as the awesome songs Gramatik creates. The artists who influenced me into becoming who Î am as a singer are Christina Aguilera, without a doubt, Amy Winehouse, Matt Corby, Matt Bellamy, Ariana Grande, (and much more), and a whole bunch of singers I find on youtube and talent shows like “The Voice”. As for music producing, Hans Zimmer and John Williams play a big role in the way I see film scoring. EDM is also a big part of my life, being the genre I listen to every day, from deep house to techno to drum ‘n’ bass. I really love Flume, Gorgon City, Rudimental, Sigma, Ten Walls, and many others.
You are currently studying Music Creation and Production, what is your favourite part of this course and why did you choose to study it?
I chose this course because, after all my research, I think it really is the best music production course available in Portugal. It’s a free course in the way that it’s not all about sheet music. In fact, we don’t even need to know how to read music to enter this school. It’s a very intuitive way to learn. But of course, knowing how to read and knowing musical theory helps a lot! My favourite part is the final work we have to do this year. It’s an original EP that’s being developed through this school year and will be presented in a public space before the summer holidays. I’m really looking forward to having the final record in my hands and performing it live. It’s a dream come true!
How do you see the music industry in Portugal?
First, the musicians: To be honest, most Portuguese music makes me ich. I have faith in a narrow set of known and successful Portuguese artists. A lot of people surrender to the money and start making music just to sell. And God, they sound awful! I’m really worried by the path the country’s heading. However, I’m aware of my generation’s potential as musicians, as well as the influence the good “old” ones have. There will be a turning point, I hope, when we will take over and combine forces. But for that to happen, all the good ones need to stay here, instead of moving to another country, which happens a lot. Second, the listeners: The most important part is the listeners. They’re the ones with the power to change the culture for the better. Most young Portuguese people like music with no depth and go clubbing to the same discos that play the same hit songs over and over again. I love clubbing, don’t get me wrong, I just think the owners of clubs, discos, festivals, parties have much more power than they realize and should take advantage of it. The problem is they don’t care, they just care about easy money. Even though no one I know likes “Despacito”, it keeps playing through the nights and everybody keeps dancing to it. From time to time I have the luck to have an awesome night with great music, and I see everybody dance and sing to it. It makes me more prosper to know that at least they like good music as well. Hopefully, we’ll change the minds of our country’s listeners one by one.
I really like how you combine two different songs and turn them into an original piece. How did you come up with this idea?
Mashups are very natural to me. I love to combine two or more good songs into one. When I practice I play games like how many songs can I fit into a certain chord progression, and I keep the ones I believe are complementary to each other.
I have seen you playing the guitar, are there other musical instruments you play?
I play guitar, piano, kazoo and I sing. I can’t really say I play the drums, but I know one or two basic rhythms.
Would you like to play a duo with any other artist or would you rather keep playing as a solo artist?
I would love to have my own band, I’m trying to make that happen right now as a solo artist. As for duo’s or collabs, I would really love it! I hope I have the chance to work with many other musicians throughout my career. The more the merrier!
What do you think of social media as a way of promoting new and talented artists like you?
I believe social media is pretty awesome for promoting any type of activity, not only music or art. Artists should take advantage of these platforms in order to achieve higher numbers of followers. I’ve never been that type of girl that posts a lot of stuff online. I’m just starting to get used to Instagram, and I love it! It’s quick, easy and it’s connected to other platforms, minimizing the effort you need to have on each individual platform. I don’t really like the part where I have to upload stuff online, but I’m getting used to it, at my own pace.
Besides music, which are your main interests and hobbies?
I really love watching movies and series, hanging out with my friends, take walks, ride bikes, going to festivals, concerts, museums, and anything fun when I have time.
What would you like to do in the future?
First of all, I need to be in the music business. One way or the other, I know I can only be happy if I work in this industry. As for the specific part of it, I’m not sure what life will bring me. I’d love to be a singer/songwriter, performer, music producer, or do film scoring. I can work on my own stuff or work for others. I don’t really know what’s going to happen, but I’m sure I’m going to fight for my place in this crazy music world.
Written By Lucía Vázquez.