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December 6th, 2018

Meet 2018 NewSong Competition finalist: Mel Bryant

Mel Bryant & the Mercy Makers are a Nashville-based indie rock band led by bassist and songwriter Mel Bryant. The four musicians moved together from Philly and New York to settle in East Nashville where they run their own recording studio, Electric Church Records, and work as the backing band for various local artists. Mel will travel to Asheville to compete in the NewSong Music Competition with her accompanist, Aaron Hicks, on acoustic guitar. 

We asked Mel some questions about her songwriting process and what it means to be a NewSong finalist. To purchase tickets for the Dec. 15 event at Isis Music Hall, visit our ticketing page. 


What does it mean to you to be selected as a NewSong finalist, and what do you hope to get out of the experience? 

The recognition as a songwriter is so heartwarming and self-affirming in the midst of self doubt and those pesky feelings that we don’t deserve to do this thing we love to do. I’m really excited to connect with like-minded songwriters for future collaborations and play in a really awesome Asheville venue!

What is your songwriting process like? Who inspires you?

My songwriting process is fairly inconsistent, but usually starts with a lyrical idea: something short like a sentence or even a word pairing, and maybe a rhyming scheme along with that, something that I thought of during my daily life, working as a server at a brunch place, or out of things I’ve overheard or read somewhere. I usually flesh it out on a guitar or just with my voice, and then will refine it with another member of my band, or with my entire band, if I think the song would gel with my bandmates.
Some of my biggest inspirations growing up were punk rock bands like Green Day and Fall Out Boy, along with folk songwriters like Laura Marling, Joni Mitchell, etc, but as I got older and delved into other genres, some big influences have been blues artists like B. B. King, classic rock bands like the Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, etc. Lately, the low-key, heartfelt indie rock vein has informed a lot of my writing, with artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Pinegrove.

What important news about your music do you have coming up? 

We released our debut single In My Head in October and we hope to have a lot more music out later in 2019. We are nearly finished building our home studio, which we plan to use to record and film ourselves for weekly videos and to record other musicians in Nashville.


Listen to Mel Bryant on Soundcloud, watch on YouTube, and follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter