A popular opinion is that the producer is massively underrated, but Melvitto’s back catalogue of work speaks for itself, so in the middle of the current lockdown, we caught up with him for a quick chat about working with Gabzy, being an artist-producer-engineer, and more.
For Melvitto, the COVID-19 isolation guidelines are not far from his usual day to day routine, as he generally works from home. One thing he mentions missing during this period is the noise and action outside. “It is very quiet which has taken away from the sense of atmosphere here in New York”.
Back in March, Melvitto released two music videos for two previously released songs, “4 Nothin” with Gabzy and “Wait For You” featuring Oxlade, and as to why release the visuals after the fact, Melvitto explains, “I wanted to take my time with it and spend time building my audience“.
The music video for “Wait For You” was filmed in Nigeria, last December, while the visuals for “4 Nothin” were filmed in London in February. “It was a coincidence that both were filmed and released around the same time which in the end worked in my favour, as it created a buzz”, he adds for context.
Melvitto and Gabzy originally met in 2015. Both were working with the label One Nation Records, home to Nigerian recording artist and ‘Boy Wonder’ Ayo Jay. Melvitto and Gabzy maintained their relationship over the last three years through WhatsApp before reuniting to shoot the video for “4 Nothin”.
It may not have originally crossed your mind but with all the speculation on whether Melvitto’s vocals are actually on “4 Nothin”, it could have you second guessing. “I’m having fun with it. I like to leave things up to people’s imagination. If I’m there then maybe I’m there”.
Melvitto’s back catalogue features many talented artists including Wande Coal and Ayo Jay but there are so many other artists that fans would also like see Melvitto collaborate with, but how about who he wants to work with personally?
“There are a lot of people I feel like that with too but I will give you one. I will say Burna Boy. A lot of people don’t know that I’ve been in the industry for a long time. Being a producer, being an artist, at this point I just want to work with people who want to work with me and are good. My focus is on having fun with it and making good music”.
Speaking on his evolution from being a producer to being an artist-producer, Melvitto shares a valuable piece of advice that in this game you have to be willing to take risks. “A lot of the formulas people have now are very linear and are not changing with the times. As a producer, that is one of the reasons why I started putting out my own records.
After my deal with the label, I felt like I did a lot of work and I didn’t get a lot out of it. I told myself at that point that I was not going to wait for anymore artists to put out music. I’m not going to wait anymore, I’m going to do it myself“.
It is without a doubt that Melvitto’s Nigerian heritage has an influence on his work. Although, he describes his music as genre-less. “I love Nigerian music and I would say my music is but also is not influenced by my heritage“.
“In my opinion, my music is just my interpretation of where the sound can go. The beat for Ayo Jay’s ‘Your Number’ is a dancehall beat, but when I made the beat I was not thinking I want to make a dancehall song. I just make good music. I just have fun”, he concludes.
When asked about if he ever has premeditated thoughts on making a ‘hit’ when he is in the studio, Melvitto responds with, “a lot of people think for you to make a hit you have to make a particular kind of song. They don’t realise that a hit is only a hit when people decide it is a hit.
If you can make people say that what you’re creating is a hit, then you have got yourself a hit. As far as creating music is concerned, I’m trying to have fun. Also, I’m trying to take you places that even I have not been to. I’m trying to prompt you with questions in your head”.
“4 Nothin” and “Wait For you” are perfect examples of the kind of music you listen to and you let your imagination wander, and they show that Melvitto takes a lot of pride in helping artists tell their stories. “Bring me your crazy ideas, I will give you a beat and give you the space to be able to bring your story to life”.
He has so many talents under his belt and unapologetically believes in his own sauce. “I’m not only a producer. I’m also an engineer, guitarist, pianist, singer, and songwriter. The combination of these allow me to do my job as a producer even better”.
At a time like this, where we are all in isolation, we are in need of music that allows us to feel and connect with our inner thoughts. Melvitto confirms he has surprises for us lined up, “the goal is to make sure the fans understand that the only thing that matters is me and them”.
Words by Claudia Namu