To love or be loved.
We have all felt this way. We like something, we become fixated on our blind vision of something we want and nothing else can move us forward towards that object, person or moment.
Every time we hit the ground running and/or are matched, we grow. We grow because we succeed. We grow because we failed and we have to collect that experience so we don’t make mistakes in the future.
Mel Fine is just that: race, wanting, struggle and ambition. Because Mel is queer and wants to fight for the rights, wants, notions and entitlements of everyone who defines themselves as such. Mel doesn’t want labels or a disparity of respect. They want to be treated equally – and this is Mel’s fight. And how can Mel best do this? By showing it in the music field.
“Like He Gets To Love Her” is the most beautiful form of pop that exposes all of these themes in one easy-listening song, but with a great theme and drive behind it. Mel’s voice, mixed with all the sounds that grow throughout the song, brings a beautiful feeling of comfort and home, as if the world is perfect, where everything we struggle with is normalised and we don’t need to be afraid to say who we are when we want, where we want.
And we want to know more, so we spoke to Mel Fine for a bit. Take a look at the interview.
[Where The Music Meets] Who is Mel Fine and how did everything start?
[Mel Fine] Soulful vocals, thought-provoking storytelling, all in a catchy pop song. That’s me, Mel Fine, in a nutshell. I’m a neon-orange dawning, non-binary songwriter and producer who uses music to speak out about my experiences as a non-binary, neurodivergent, gen-z-er. I grew up singing jazz standards and admiring Etta James’ soulful vocals. Later, I fell in love with the storytelling and lyrical stylings of folk singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, while being obsessed with pop musicians such as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. I first discovered songwriting as a form of therapy to cope with feeling different from my peers, and now use my musical platform to discuss gender identity, mental health, loss, growing up, and love.
What is the story behind this song?
Picture this—a sleep deprived, one-shoe untied Mel, speed walking down Mass Ave to get to class on time. Right in front of me was an adorable couple strolling along, minding their own business, taking up the entire sidewalk. Internally, I joked to myself that if this couple were a queer couple, I would have made it to class on time (ya know, ’cause apparently, gay people walk faster than straight people?!). Then, I got thinking—what is the root of the stereotype that queer folks have extra speed in their step? Is it just because we have places to be and iced coffee running through our veins? Or is it a deeper issue; does it have to do with society’s double standards for queer existence, alluding that queer folks cannot take up space as we are? Then I realized—being queer influences many of the day-to-day nuances I experience. From grocery shopping in the suburbs with my partner and being asked how long we’ve been friends, to going to the bank and being called, the dreaded, “ma’am,” I walk around guarded. “Like He Gets to Love Her” is my way of making sense of my experiences, and calling out this unspoken rule that queer folks’ love and identity don’t always hold equal weight in the eyes of society.
What do you remember when you hear this song?
When I hear this song, I remember the strength and endurance of the queer community. While we have not always been able to be our true selves safely, we persevere and continue to exist.
Where is the best place to listen to it and why?
There is a vibrant and colourful music video on YouTube that was a collaborative project with a team of women/queer folk/POC/trans folk. The video, filmed at Boomerangs in JP, a thrift store where proceeds go to AIDS Action, juxtaposes the bright, quirky visual celebrating queer joy with the dark and raw undertones of the lyrical content.
What are your biggest inspirations?
Musically, I am inspired by musical activists such as Tracy Chapman, who beautifully incorporates social change into her songwriting. I am also inspired by my mentors who have shown me how to make a life out of music.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
I would love the opportunity to collaborate with Ed Sheeran—I have always been inspired by his storytelling and his melody writing.
What is the biggest dream you would like to aim for with this project?
I would love for this project to reach the ears of as many listeners as possible. With the recent uprising in anti-trans legislation, it is so important for folks to know that they are not alone in their feelings, and see themselves represented in music.
What have you been listening to?
Lately, I’ve been loving MUNA’s newest album, specifically the track “Handle Me.” I have recently gotten into Joy Oladokun, who I have been listening to on repeat.
What’s the biggest musical surprise you’ve discovered in recent times?
I recently researched more about Wendy Carlos, who was the first trans woman to win a Grammy. While queer folk are entering the public eye, Wendy Carlos, a pioneer of electronic music, paved the way for queer recognition in music.
In one word, how would you describe your project?
I can, you can, we can: Mel Fine has set the tone for how we can all love each other, anytime, any time – and we give them the stage to shine. A WtMM recommendation.