Good morning and welcome to another moment with Shona! As you can see, I have another special guest feature on the blog today! I have been eager to chat with my friend Melody Dunlap because I feel she will touch hearts of those visiting my blog. Melody is a powerful woman of God who passionate about serving Him with every gift & talent He blessed her with. And guess what? I did NOT meet Mel at Oral Roberts University.. ha! If you checked out my other apes oak features, majority of them went to that college! But, Mel’s husband Joshua did attend ORU! So I guess you can say I can’t break away that easily lol! Anywho, back to Melody. I love Mel because she is always so cheerful, loving & I think she’s pretty hilarious too lol! But in all honesty, you can definitely feel the love of Christ through her when you meet her and it’s a wonderful thing.
I met Melody in Tulsa, Oklahoma at Greenwood Christian Center, now called Transformation Church. I wanted to talk to you about her because she is literally a powerhouse! She has so many opportunities to impact others’ lives and she just goes for it! One of my favorite things about Mel is her beautiful voice. I’ll never forget the first time I heard her sing because she has such a sweet anointing on her, it just shifted the atmosphere and filled my heart with so much peace!
Today, I want you to get to know my awesome friend because she is not only blessed with an amazing voice, but she is also a model and a motivational speaker! I tend to ask a lot of questions because I like to dig deeper into the hearts of my friends. So, like always, grab your cup of tea or coffee, get cozy in your favorite spot and let’s get into the heart of Melody Dunlap!
Mel: I started singing when I was just two years old. My mom is a trained professional opera singer, and I used to listen to her sing all the time when she ministered. When I was in elementary school, I even rewrote verses to kid songs like “Jesus Loves Me” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
LaShona: Do you play any instruments? If yes, what and how long have you been playing?
Mel: I really wanted to learn to play my favorite instrument, the acoustic guitar, but I never took lessons… lol! So my voice is my instrument.
LaShona: What are your desires with your music?
Mel: Music is a current, a language everyone speaks. I want to use my music to carry a message of love and life to the world.
LaShona: Do you try to write music that relates to your generation or just people in general?
Mel: I write songs for people of all ages. I love messages that everyone can apply, learn from, enjoy and pass on.
LaShona: List 4-5 of your favorite places you’ve sang & why are they your favorite spots?
Mel: I love singing worship at my church because it’s a way for me to lead people in honoring and learning more about the God I love and serve, who gave me the gift of singing.
I sang the national anthem for basketball, football and baseball games and love feeling the energy of the fans before the games and making that familiar song my own.
I love singing in the studio because it’s more intimate and I can zone out and really feel what I’m singing. I learned more about singing from recording sessions than I have on stage.
I love singing at weddings because I love celebrating love!
LaShona: What types of music do you find inspiring?
Mel: That’s a hard question…I just love when song lyrics are actually about something. Too many songs today have lyrics that are pointless or negative or wildly inappropriate. I tend to focus more on lyrics than on a dope beat. If the beat is nice, send me the instrumental; I’ll write something meaningful to it, and we’ll have a hit!
Small interruption alert:: Let me chime in on what Mel just said because I find this to be so true! I honestly have no clue what popular songs are out these days because everything sounds the same! Mostly everything is very inappropriate and the lyrics are just plain L-A-M-E!! Like why..? Why are folks rapping or singing about nothing?! If the lyrics don’t want to push me forward in life, then that song is trash! Ok, you can say I’m a bit irritated by the music thing I guess lol! It’s because kids listen to it and mimic everything, but they have no clue what they’re talking about! But, thank God for Melody who will save us from lame music lol!! Ok, I’m done… you can now reheat your tea or coffee and get back to this interview lol!!! ::: interruption over:::
LaShona: Who are your favorite musical artists?
Mel: My absolute favorite singer hands down is Brandy. Her tone, vocal style, recording techniques and versatility have inspired my style and so many other artists in the industry. I’d love to sing a duet with her one day!
I also love India Arie’s voice and writing style, Kierra Sheard’s powerful control and Tori Kelly’s range is just flawless and she does the most tasteful runs.
LaShona: How long does it take you to write & record a song?
Mel: Writing can sometimes happen in an instant, and sometimes seems to take forever. A recording session for a full song usually takes at least a few hours. If I’ve had time to prepare and rehearse the song, it goes by faster. I usually lay the background vocals first, then the lead vocal on top.
LaShona: How often do you take time to write new songs?
Mel: I am constantly getting inspired by any and every little thing, so you can always find dozens of voice memo recordings and song lyric ideas in my phone. I still have journals full song ideas and lyrics that I’ve never even sang in front of an audience or recorded.
LaShona: What advice would you give to someone who is pursuing a music career?
Mel: Learn the ins and outs of the business side while you perfect your craft. Many talented artists get gypped by shady contracts, but those who know how to market and negotiate for themselves will experience more longevity in their careers. Also, sing your song for an audience of two like you would for a crowd 2,000. You never know who you’re performing in front of. You could change your life, or theirs, or both!
LaShona: How has your husband helped motivate you with your music?
Mel: My husband is amazing! He is my biggest supporter and is always pushing me to my limits. He has helped me in a lot of ways, but mostly by being honest with me about how I can do better and helping to support my career and promote my music.
LaShona: I know you’ve done quite a bit of modeling when I was in Tulsa. Are you still modeling now? If so, who have you modeled for?
Mel: I love modeling! I’ve modeled in a variety of runway fashion shows and photo shoots. I’m especially proud of the times I’ve worked with my friends, talented designers I met in Tulsa – Candace Carter and CiCi Richards.
I also did pageants for a few years a while back and even was blessed to win the title of Miss Black Tulsa 2006.
LaShona: What are some challenges you face (or faced) when you model (modeled)?
Mel: I will never forget walking into my first “go see” as an aspiring model. I was super excited and confident and had just lost a little weight so I was a 5′ 11″ size 6 in my early 20’s. I breezed through my initial consultation and they loved my runway walk so much they had me showing the other girls in the class my technique. The director walked up to me with a smile on her face and explained that all she needed me to do was lose about 30 lbs. and drop at least 1 dress size and pay a couple hundred dollars (that I didn’t have) for a photo book and then maybe they could help me out. I was appalled. I have to admit it dashed my confidence for a while but I was determined to still walk with beauty and grace and dignity whether I’m on a runway or not. I had to learn to believe the truth about what father God says about me, that I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.
LaShona: How many shows have you done thus far?
Mel: I think 10-12.
LaShona: How many years have you been modeling?
Mel: The first fashion show I modeled when I was in high school, so about 13 years.
LaShona: What made you start motivational videos?
Mel: My husband actually pushed me to start doing motivational videos because he knows how passionate I am about sharing the wisdom I’ve learned, and sharing my testimony with others in an effort to help them not go through what I went through.
LaShona: Do you just do the videos on the spot or do you prepare the night before?
Mel: I usually have an idea what I want to talk about, scripted out with some bullet points to keep me on topic, then we pick a day/time to record.
LaShona: Can your motivational videos be found anywhere else besides Facebook? If yes, do you have a link? If no, what is your link to your Facebook page so others can follow your videos?
Mel: I’m at http://www.facebook.com/missmelovi and @missmelovi on IG, YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter.
And that is the end of my wonderful interview with Melody! Did your mouth drop at the thought of some lady at a modeling agency tell her to lose more weight?! My mouth literally dropped! Heart was all pounding like it just happened yesterday lol! Thankfully Mel knows who she is and didn’t let those word change her desire to model! See, I told you Mel is a powerhouse! Can you imagine the lives she is going to change? It’s simply.. amazing to even think about! Love it! Thank you so much Mel! ?
Until next time, “laugh hard, love harder, capture each moment & sprinkle a little joy in someone else’s life.” – XO Shona~