Ex-Pussycat Dolls star Melody Thornton is making a soulful return to music.
After countless number ones and sell-out tours, how can you elevate your sound but still retain who you are? Platinum-selling US popstar Melody Thornton shows us how it’s done best, all you need is a masterpiece track tastefully twisting the best of seventies soul with the DNA of pop, and a cover of the Sugababes.
Combining the snake charming seduction of the Kill Bill score with soothing seventies vocals and an infusion of pure soul, Thornton’s latest track “Love Will Return” has all the drama and flare fit for the end credits of a classic Western. This new direction places Thornton worlds away from the pop universe she and the other members of The Pussycat Dolls created during their time as the ultimate chart fixtures throughout the 2000s.
Now focusing solely on her own work, Thornton takes influence from the likes of Nancy Sinatra and Earth Kitt in addition as to the sounds of the tribal woodwind which helms from her ancestral roots, including both Mexican and African American heritage. The end result is a heart-wrenchingly cinematic and distinct tale of love and loss, carried beautifully with Thornton’s electrifying vocals and grand horn production.
We spoke to Thornton about her return to music, the song’s meaning and where exactly she’s taking her sound down below.
Hi Melody, how has your year been?
Hello there. All is well thank you. Just busy busy
Congrats on the new single – what is “Love Will Return” about? What were the inspirations behind it?
Thank you so much! I’m very excited about it. “Love Will Return” has many meanings. For me, it’s around losing a great love and processing that loss. I want to leave it for another person to listen and make it their own. The meaning for me is a bit complex. It has everything to do with reaching for my goals in life and hoping that my passion for it all will stay with me throughout the journey.
Do you feel really close to this song with its personal links to your heritage? What made you want to delve into it?
The music on this project is all modeled after the late 60s early 70s. Both my parents happen to be from small “Wild West” towns in Arizona. Both towns have loads of history. My music does reflect that but “Love Will Return” is about longing. It’s a point in the journey where, if you were listening to the project from top to bottom, you hear her filled with doubt.
What’s your favourite lyric/or most personal lyric in it?
My favorite lyric is “I’m not running with a butterfly net.” If you’re running through a field with a butterfly net, the aim is to catch ANY butterfly you can. It doesn’t matter which; you aren’t being choosy. If you took this approach to trying to find love you’d be “running with a butterfly net.” That works for some people. Some people like myself are after one butterfly.
How is this different to anything you’ve ever done?
Well sonically it’s very different to how I started my career. I have released music in the past with this guitar-driven sound. Songs like “Smoking Gun” from my project POYBL. POYBL had more variety from the era. I’ve narrowed it down and found producers to bring a unique twist to a classic sound that’s still commercially acceptable.
Has it been exciting or terrifying launching your first solo work?
It has been both exciting and challenging. I’ve not indulged for years. I’ve not decided to purchase something for myself because I just want it. Every single dime I make is to support this project financially. There have been lots of sacrifices there. So both I’d say. I try never to be afraid of anything and if I am, I will run toward it and try and conquer it.
How would you classify your genre?
I’d say I’m making Pop music. It’s from another era, but it’s Pop. I used to refer to it as Soul-Pop, which still applies.
How do you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
I’m lucky enough that this music is so cinematic, it has a spirit to it. I find that when people listen to it, it evokes movement in them energetically. Everyone has a different vision or scenario of their own. My uncle simply said “I see Keira Knightley on a train in a fur going to find her long lost love.” lol. Everyone has a story of their own.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen to you, and how you create music, from when you started out as a 19-year-old?
When I was 19, I just wanted to sing. I wanted to be accepted and appreciated for my voice. That is very naive, it puts people in this industry in a position to use that against you in some ways. There is some control in that. I am now more conscious of protecting my ideas and promoting my artistry for what it really is. If someone doesn’t get it, oh well. I only have the time I have left on this earth, I just want to be creative and enjoy myself. That’s my focus when I’m creating music now.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
There are so many people I would love to work with. I would love to sing with Maren Morris. I think myself and Leon Bridges could do something very cool stylistically. It would be a dream to sing with Justin Timberlake. OR Miguel! I think myself and Miguel performing live together would be insane. I like a lot of different artists.
What can we expect from the music you’ve got coming up next?
From this project you can expect to listen from beginning to end. It’s really meant to be a journey from innocence to experience. When a woman finds her place in the world, her power in herself. I feel like it’s me expressing how I am proud of myself for coming out of some very dark places. The mind is powerful. You can sabotage yourself or you can use your mind to examine yourself for the better. I just would love for other people to have this feeling. To believe in themselves so far and beyond any negativity. To never give up no matter what and make it happen! Whatever your dream may be! Don’t give up.
What’s next for you/what are you excited about this year?
There are lots of things in the pipeline I am excited about. Not sure what will come to fruition but I am working really hard. I will always take jobs and continue to fund my musical passions! I like the freedom that comes with that. Who knows, lets see! Hopefully lots of singing.