MusicDish e-Journal - May 31, 2020
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Interview with Melissa Ferrick
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
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"Starting all over again is gonna be rough…but we're gonna make it!" So sang pop duo Mel & Tim in 1972, and the sentiment still holds true for singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick.

After being personally invited to tour with Morrissey, Ferrick was signed to a long-term contract which was unceremoniously broken when her critically-acclaimed albums fell short of the label's financial expectations. She has since recharged her musical and personal arsenal and is waging a new battle with the help of fans such as photographer Herb Ritts and her new label W.A.R.? (What Are Records?), an independent out of Boulder, CO. After a fiery and emotional performance at a popular Boston rock club, I had the opportunity to spend a few quieter moments with Melissa to discuss her renewed career.

[Matthew] Your first foray into the musical spotlight was supported by a tour with Morrissey and your latest album has caught the ear [and features the work] of photographer Herb Ritts. Have these relationships influenced your career plans in any way and what might have been different had you had to do a bit more on your own?

[Melissa] Well Morissey definitely [represented] my "shot." If that hadn't happened, I'm not sure what would have been different. I'm sure a lot of things would have been different. I'm sure that I wouldn't have gotten signed to a major [record label] at that time. And who knows? That might have been a bad thing or a good thing. I don't want to change anything about what happened to me. If I hadn't opened for Morrissey, I might have ended-up doing this indie[label] thing from the beginning. You can't really turn back the clock and say "well then this would have happened." I mean, I had a plan, but that's the big joke- is having one because any plan I make usually doesn't happen. And that was a perfect example. It was just a phone call saying "You're opening for Morissey. Bring a tape!" And so then [Morrissey] took me on the rest of the tour and I got signed. But what's weird is that I met Herb [Ritts] the same day that I did the Morrissey tour. I started the Morrissey tour on July 3, 1991 and I met Herb July 3, 1996.

[Matthew] Is there some sort of karmic thing there?

[Melissa] I don't know. It's kind of weird, though. Isn't it? Herb saw me play in Santa Fe. He has a house down there and a friend of mine is friends with him and she brought him to a show [at] a tiny coffeehouse. I played for an hour-and-a-half and [Herb] just fell in love with "Willing To Wait" (because I gave him a copy of that record). And then he invited me up to his house the next day for the Fourth of July and we hung-out and I stayed overnight up there and a friendship grew (it was more of a "working relationship," I would say). And I told [Herb] that I didn't have a manager, that I had been dropped [from the major label's roster], that I had lost everything and he hooked me up with Sandy Gallen, who is a really huge manager in L.A. (he manages Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, etc.). And [Herb] had Sandy come see me at Largo in L.A. and Sandy called me the next day and said "I want you to work with Tommy Manzi" who is my manager now. So that was a really big coup for me. So Morrissey led me to the major label deal and Herb led me to my manager now which, in turn, led me to W.A.R.?. As for the photos, Herb came to the show in New York last year, and I needed photographs and I said "Herb, I need photos. Can you help me?" And he said "Yeah. I'll call [my assistant] Eric and he'll use my cameras. It'll look just like it was me!" So Eric and I shot together. And it's great! There's nothing like a free shoot in Herb Ritts's studio, you know?

[Matthew] What do you think is the attraction – the thing that brings the likes of Morrissey and Herb Ritts, and also your fans?

[Melissa] The things that [I have noticed] were similar between Morrissey and Herb – and what's kind of odd is that, in some ways, they're similar people – is that they're very recluse men and they both are incredibly famous and incredibly wealthy and I think that they are both very, very extremely talented. And I know that Herb struggled for a long time with photography, just like Morrissey with The Smiths. They worked and worked and worked! The Smiths weren't really ever a big, huge, 14 million-selling rock band. They worked really hard for a long time. So I think what they're drawn to is they see a young, talented songwriter that needs help or that they feel they can help. I think that when you meet people who are famous and who have already "made it," when they run into somebody who isn't [famous] but they know could be, they feel almost an obligation to latch onto your youth and take you under their wing. And it's genius, you know? I've been really lucky to meet two incredible men in my life. I mean, it's not everyday that you meet those two people and have them in your life. I don't have Morrissey in my life anymore, and Herb I see frequently, but it's really nice that they had an influence on my life. Definitely!

[Matthew] What about your fans? What is their common bond?

[Melissa] I think that the "hard core" fans [(some of which have been dutifully following Melissa since her day in the subways in the late ‘80's)] have that sense of "we were there from the beginning." There's a girl named Melissa who is a really, really big fan – she drives all over to see me play. And my dad saw her last night. And I asked him if she looked like she was having a good time and he said "No. Not really." And I said "Well that's because what's happening is exactly what she didn't want to happen!" She was happier seeing me in these tiny little places with 10 or 20 people, and now my hard core fans are becoming protective. There were some people at the show last night who had been partaking of alcoholic beverages for along period of time and Jen and Deena -- these girls that I know that come to every show -- were watching these girls who were being obnoxious. And I got into a conversation with [Jen and Deena] on stage. I asked if they were okay because I thought that this one woman was going to jump on stage at one point, and Jen was like "I got it under control!" So I think they just see me as a human. They're not intimidated and they're not weirded-out and I'm not an unapproachable person, and they know that. And it's really nice. I like it!

[Matthew] Your fans are predominately female and in many cases lesbian. Does this please or bother you in any way?

[Melissa] I'm an "out" artist so I don't think it really matters.

[Matthew] Do you think it's restrictive in any way?

[Melissa] No. I don't think so at all! I think it almost makes it more of a "family" atmosphere. There are few places that gay people can go and feel safe. We've seen clubs get bombed. We've seen people get killed. It's a real serious issue. So for women to feel that they can come to [a venue] and be safe and be out and enjoy a show -- and I'm not up there ranting and raving about my sexuality -- but it's just that they're gay and they want to know that they can go there with their girlfriend and put their arm around their girlfriend. It's almost like an Ani DiFranco crowd- It's just lesser. They don't care either. I just draw independent-minded democrats who are most likely probably pro-choice and against the death penalty and probably pro-gay rights and pro-gay marriage. It doesn't really matter if they're gay of if they're straight. It's kind of that general vibe. It may be the same crowd as a Tori Amos crowd. Tori's crowds are loaded with lesbians and she's as straight as they come! It doesn't bother me!

[Matthew] How was it being at Berklee [College of Music], among that huge pool of talent where the "best of the best" come to try and get better?

[Melissa] That's the problem right there! When you walk in there, everybody thinks they're the "best of the best." And that's the most intimidating part of it. You walk into a class full of egos. I mean, the best thing you need is 2500 guitar players who think they can play like Steve Vai and all these singers trying to sound like everybody else. There's just a lot of competition. And that's really, really good and it's really, really bad- I think it's both things. So for me, it was really intimidating and I didn't like it. I didn't like the ego side of it at all. I wasn't in that clique of people [who asked] "how fast can you play?" or "what were your scores on your ensembles?" I mean, my scores were so bad! They had this range of one to seven in four categories – the worst you can get is "one" and the best is all "sevens" – and I had "one, three, two, four" or something, so I had to be in the [second-level] ensembles. It's hard to judge. I mean, what do you judge – technique? How do you judge talent? You can't really judge that. I was there on a trumpet scholarship, so it really had nothing to do with my songwriting. So once I got over that and realized that I was there to do the songwriting thing and hang-out in the songwriting department, I hung out with [professors like] Pat Pattison and started singing and playing guitar and then immediately found [fellow students like] Paula Cole. I just wanted to hang around people who were recording because it was free studio time. I was in the studio with [Paula Cole producer] Mark Hutchins all the time. Paula and I sang on a couple things together. I just wanted to be in that. So by my second year, I wasn't really going to classes. I was working in the studios from 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM and then sleeping ‘til noon and then going to my songwriting lyric class and then going and playing in clubs at night. And that's really, I think, what Berklee is there for. You find your own road.

[Matthew] In "To Let You See Me," you claim to " all they make [you] out to be" and to be "not that pretty." Such lines remind me of [fellow Massachusetts native and Berklee alum] Paula Cole's song "So Ordinary." Where do this self-effacing women singer/songwriter views come from? Do you think that such perspectives are forced upon female musicians by the industry?

[Melissa] No. I think that all women struggle with self-image problems [(thanks especially to the media)]. It's a huge problem what we're teaching young girls. And I'm no different than any other human being in the fact that I'm still working on who I am and accepting myself and who I am – that means me working on accepting me and my sexuality, how I look, that I'm really skinny and have had a really hard time gaining weight, that I don't drink anymore, that I've been sober for two years. These are issues that are in my life that are big [and] that are not easy to combat. I don't think they are things that you are "cured" from. I think they are ongoing things you try to" get better" at. ["To Let You See Me"] is really about a relationship I had with a woman who is incredibly beautiful on the outside – and I'm not just saying that! She was really one of those drop-dead gorgeous people and it was an extremely intimidating relationship for me to be in because she was so pretty that everywhere I went, people would stare at her. And I got to really see what it's like to be stunning. I can dress-up and look good, but on a day-to-day basis, I dress [more casually]. I have glasses. I wear a hat. I'm more of like a "normal" girl. I look like a "normal" girl. [People say] "yeah, [Melissa] has really pretty blue eyes," but this girl looks like Sharon Stone. I mean no shit. People [used to ask her] "Are you Sharon Stone?" So it's really intimidating to be with someone like that and I was afraid that we would end-up breaking-up because I was too intimidated by her looks. In other words, I was doing the same thing that the rest of the world was doing to her -- which was shutting her out because she was so pretty….There's a Wallflowers song where the guy says "The world is harder for pretty people." And I could really see that side of it where she didn't want to go out sometimes because people would stare at her all the time. Or it was like if it was a guy – some drop-dead gorgeous guy – they become really introverted and defensive and they don't want to talk to people because people are just judging them for how they look on the outside and nobody wants to hear what they have to say.

So I don't think it's an "industry thing." I don't want to give [the recording industry] any more credit than- I spent a long time blaming them for everything and I realize that nothing really has anything to do with them [and] that they just make records and put them out. If I allow the music industry to affect my world, then I'm right back where I started from. I want to affect my world. I want my friends to affect my world, and the people that I see and what's going on around me. I don't need C.E.O.s of companies deciding on how women respect themselves. I want to own my own respect!

[Matthew] What are you thoughts on the Lilith Fair phenomenon? Is it really a source of strength created by and for female artists, or is it more a convenient industry pigeon-holing?

[Melissa] I though it was great! It was cool! I think there's a real need for it – and I'm not just saying that! I think it's great! I mean what's wrong with it? We have "Skaterpalooza" and we have "skater" bands. What's so different?…Or the H.O.R.D.E. tour. There's a certain "vibe" about that tour too. So I don't think there's anything "wrong" with [Lilith]. I mean, it's not like there aren't men playing in the bands and it's not like there aren't men on the crew. However, I do know that they try to hire as many female crew members as they can. I think it's awesome! It's kind of like affirmative action for women. I mean, you should have seen the way they treated these people! They had buses for everybody that worked. The women that worked in the breast cancer booth to the girls that worked the Starbucks booth were in a bus- their own bus! And it was paid for by the Lilith Fair. And everybody got per diems. Everybody got $250 worth of Levi's clothes. Everybody had passes. Everybody was allowed to go everywhere. Sarah [McLachlan] wasn't like "This is Sarah's room and you can't go in." It wasn't like that. It was just really exactly what they said it was going to be and I was blown away! I had been backstage when I did the Morrissey tour and I thought for sure there was no way we were going to be able to go into the catering room and where the real backstage was like I was with Morrissey because it's just the headlining act and the opening act and there's not a lot of space back there, but everybody was back there -- the press, everybody from my stage. And my pass didn't say "third stage" or "limited access." It just said "artist." It was really nice. I thought it was great! I hope it continues. I think Sarah's going to do it this next year and then that's it, so I really hope that another women [who] is ‘happening' in two years that has the power to continue this keeps it going because I think it's really most important for young acts. I think the second and third stage thing could be bigger. And I think the local thing they did was great! That's how I got on it and I think that that should almost be expanded.

[Matthew] How was it for you as an artist who had been on a major label to have to start from ground-zero in an "emerging talent" contest in order to be considered for Lilith?

[Melissa] We attain humility through being humbled. And I think that there is a lot of truth to that statement. I really wanted to be a part of the Lilith Fair this year. I knew it was important for this album. The record was coming out in September and it was the perfect thing to launch this album for me. So, from a business standpoint, I was willing to go to any length to get on that tour. And I called and called. And we sent packages (sic) after packages after packages and there's wasn't any room on the tour. And it wasn't because they didn't like it. It wasn't because [tour promoter] Marty Diamond didn't think I was good enough. It wasn't that! Because Marty knows who I am. He knows that I'm talented. He ‘gets' what I do. There just wasn't any room. And there's a lot of other acts that are in between where I'm at and where Sarah's at that wanted those slots too that couldn't get them. I'm sure Juliana [Hatfield] wanted to do it. I would love to see Juliana Hatfield. Luscious Jackson was on this year and Letters To Cleo and that vibe- it needs more of that vibe. So, when I found out there was this local thing, I called [venue promoter] Don Law and said "What's up with this?" and they said "You can audition. You're from Boston. You're a member of the Boston [Musician's] Union." They said "You have to send a tape and you have to send a bio[graphy] and you have to write a letter and you have to send lyrics." And I said "Okay!" So [the album wasn't] even mixed yet and I mixed two songs and sent the package in. And then this intern listened to everything there (so there was a ‘neutral' person) and she picked the tape! So they called me and I flew myself out here (it cost me a lot of money!) and I auditioned and I won! And it was great! And then I got in and Marty was there and he was like "Uh-huh!" I said "I told you I'd get this gig!" But it's good for an agent to see that, too. Because [Marty] knows now that I'm working. When I said I was going to do this, I did it! And it's good for the industry also because those are the ‘head honcho' guys. Those are the guys that thought I was going to ‘hit' in 1993 and when they see me not quitting, they [think] "Oh! Melissa Ferrick is still creeping around here." It's that "Uh-oh!" thing. [They think] "She may break now and I'm not on the ‘team.' I gotta get on this team!" So I like that! I like making them nervous! You know- nervous-excited. The ‘pumped-up' thing. You know, when the ‘buzz' starts again and they jump on the boat. So maybe I'll get more gigs [next year]. I know Letters [to Cleo] got more gigs this year on Lilith because they did one show last year. So I hope I get more gigs. I hope I get two shows next year.

[Matthew] Many of the songs on Everything speak of starting over and renewal. The years since Atlantic have obviously been tough ones. How did you turn yourself (and your career) around?

[Melissa] After I got dropped from Atlantic – and through my years at Atlantic [during the time of the album] Willing To Wait – it was difficult for me in all ways – physically, spiritually, emotionally. I was ‘God dead." And I mean "God" in a greater thing. I don't mean necessarily a religious connotation [but] more of a spiritual aspect. Whereas before -- even when I was young – I always felt ‘connected' to something greater than myself. I felt like I was ‘protected' and ‘guided' by something. And that's where my music came from- from this something outside of myself that was [saying] "You can do it! You can do it!" And I lost that. And I also lost my love for music. I stopped listening to records! It really started during [the time of the album] Massive Blur when people told me that I was going to be a big rock star. On a certain level I believed them, and what I did was I shut myself off to the world. I became very ego-driven. It was all about me. And I wasn't listening to records. I listened to Liz Phair's record [Whipsmart] a lot during my first album. That was probably the only album I listened to. And the next record I bought was – I didn't even buy it- my friend had it – was [Sarah McLachlan's] Fumbling Toward Ecstasy. And I remember very, very clearly, after I had been dropped and I spent my last year drinking, I went over to this friend's house and she said "Have you heard this record?" And I said "No." I mean, I had hear of [Sarah], but I wasn't listening to anything. Music wasn't moving me. And I sat down on her couch. And [my friend] went to work. And I put that record on. And I was moved. I cried (and I very rarely cry, anyway). And I remember feeling like it was ‘back.' There was a real small sense of "What the fuck am I gonna do?" And also a sense of relief of "Where have I been?" I used to always buy records and listen to people's stuff and go to open mics and take tapes from people and I was constantly listening like I should be- like a fan. And I hadn't done it in like- I got dropped in 1995 and this was some time in 1996 that this happened so really from 1992 to 1996 I didn't listen to anything! That's four years! That's a long time to not listen to music for a musician. I mean, unless I was ‘forced' to, I didn't want to go to shows because there were too many people and I had all sorts of excuses. I wouldn't go to a show unless I had a pass so that I could get free beer [and] so that I could be up in a room and be very secluded. Everything was "Drink. Drink. Be alone. Drink. Drink. Be alone." And I was afraid. I was afraid of finding-out who I was. I didn't personally say "I'm going to stop drinking!" That's not what happened for me. What happened to me was, literally, the obsession to drink (and I have that) was removed. I was on a train and I put a drink down and a voice came to me and said "That's it!" And I haven't had a drink since then. And I know [that] alcoholism rages in my family. I just can't drink! It's a real nasty thing. It's a disease. And it affects my life in all sorts of ways. And now that I don't have to ingest it, I now have the opportunity to work on the other aspects of my life which were hindered for so many years. They were drowned-out. So now, it's like "Ooh!" It's almost like I feel like I'm 13 or 14 again where it's like "Yeah!"- where you want to ride your bike and do that kind of stuff. I mean now I'm settling-down a bit, but my first year, it was all about being free. It was like "Oh my God! I don't ever have to be hung-over again!" What a relief! I can't even tell you what a relief that is! To just know that I'm going to wake up tomorrow and not have a hangover is like- I don't even need to make records! That's enough. And some people will get that. Some people will understand. And somebody that drinks a lot and doesn't want to wake up hung-over anymore and doesn't understand why every night they go out they say they're only going to have a couple of drinks and they get drunk again. And that's what happened to me- over and over and over again. And I couldn't stop. So that is the biggest gift I've been given and there's definitely a lot of that on [this album]. And it amazes me that people are hearing that. I get asked this a lot. And one of the thing sin [my publicity campaign] was that I got sober. I didn't want to talk about it a lot because it's very personal and [because] there's a lot of anonymity that goes along with it, but there's also an importance for people [because] when they're hearing it, they're [thinking] "Something happened. Something is different with you. You look better. You're looking at me. You're not drinking!" My fans are buying me beers all the time, and now they're like "A ginger ale? Okay!" And they notice! And everybody seems to be okay with it- which is great for me- that I feel that I can talk about it because it's recovery. A lot of people are in recovery now. And I certainly didn't want to go any further with it because we've seen enough people die. I don't need to be another statistic. I'd rather be a statistic this way- I'd rather hang-out with Bonnie Raitt and stuff.

[Matthew] Being in your business- it's like a veterinarian with pet allergies!

[Melissa] Yeah! It's hard! Sometimes it's hard- not for me to not drink, but sometimes it's hard to see people get drunk. But what's interesting is that I have to keep myself really present in the fact that [I should] not judge that and to remember that that was me -- that's what used to happen to me – and to think about how many shows I did [when] I would end-up getting drunk after the shows and I would end-up talking to people and they would say "God! She was fuckin' loaded!" And I did a show in Philadelphia. And my dad was with me. And it was last year, so I was clean. And [Dad] said [that] there was (sic) a couple of girls standing in front of him and he heard them say before I went on stage "The last time I saw [Melissa], she was wasted!" And then I walked up there and they were like "Wow!" And I had water and [Dad] said "Don't think that they didn't know!" And it's funny because before I quit – or whatever happened – I played a show at Largo and there was a beer onstage and my friend Ellen said to me "You know, Melissa, if anybody from the industry is going to come and see you play and they know you're talented and they know you had a shot and they know that something's go to be wrong because it didn't work, and they walk into a club and they see a beer onstage they're going to say "That's what it is!" It's just like if you see a band and they're stoned-off-their-ass or if somebody's hooked on smack and you know they're smack-addicts. It's like "God! The poor guy! He's an addict. It's too bad he can't…." And those are all the words we hear. So I'm just glad that I got it over with now (knock on wood) and that I don't ever have to drink again.

[Matthew] From a different perspective, I relate to that, because I have the tolerance of a rock [Ed. Note: There! I said it!] and I go to two or three concerts a night because it's my work and [alcohol] is such a part of the scene. People say "Have a drink with me." or "There's an after-party where we're all gonna' go get (fill-in your buzz of choice here) and I'm like "I can't do this, guys." I have to be able to be coherent! I'm a writer. I need to have my full cognitive abilities. And it's tough because many bands think it's some sort of peer-pressure thing.

[Melissa] Yeah! And it must be difficult to have to deal with people who are loaded because it's like "What are you talking about?" Those are the interviews you read where it's like "Did I say that?"

[Matthew] It's usually them!

[Melissa] Yeah! Right!

[Matthew] You speak of songs as "snapshots of your life." What is in the picture of Melissa Ferrick today?

[Melissa] There's a lot of huge stuff going on for me personally right now. So my "snapshot" [contains such elements as] "Can I live alone? Can I be single?" These are things that, at 28 years of age, I have never not been in a relationship and never lived on my own. I've always had somebody waiting for me at home taking care of my stuff, paying all my bills- taking car eof me. And that's part of me having to grow-up and so there's a lot of growing-up that's going on for me right now. And what's happening is, because I am 28 and because I didn't grow-up for a long time, it happens very quickly! It's like "Okay now your clean. Now you're working. Now you're recording. Now you're on tour. Now the record's out. Now you're doing Lilith. Now you're selling 400 seats. 500 seats. Now you've gone from 100 to 500 seats in six weeks! Now you're [record is being] added at [radio] stations. Now you're taking car eof yourself. Now you're able to pay your own bills." [The question is] "Can you do this by yourself?" I've been in a relationship for three years and I need to take a break from that. And that's really scary! But right now, I feel like I'm 'moving out' of my- I don't want to say "my parent's house," but- Maybe there's a little bit of that going on, but there's definitely a lot of the "taking care of" and I love to be taken care of! Who doesn't?! But there's a certain point where you have to jump. And I'm going back to L.A. and getting my own apartment and taking my cats. And there's a lot of mixed emotions about it because I still really love this girl but I can't be okay with anybody until I'm okay with myself- and that's such the cliché line, but it's so true for me and I've never ever been alone. And even [with] what I do- even though I'm in the car alone and I drive all over the country and I'm alone after shows, I really am constantly around people. I'm very rarely by myself. And I think that it's important for me to learn how to do! I don't want to wait another ten years and [think] "I don't know who the fuck I am!" because I've never gone home and had to sleep alone in my own bed and woken up and had to make my own coffee and pay my own phone bill.

[Matthew] It's not that bad!

[Melissa] Yeah! That's stuff that most people learn how to do. Most people who are like "normal." You know- not like a weird writer [Ed note: ?!?!?!]-

[Matthew] Well, look at how your career started-

[Melissa] Yeah! I was gone!

[Matthew] Yeah. You're in college and thrown onto a huge tour, so-

[Melissa] Yeah! And there's a certain amount of work that I do that's intense. You know, I book myself and I stay on the road and I haven't given up and I kept putting records out and I've done a lot of work. But I've also been really really lucky. And I don't apologize for my luck, but I also don't take it for granted. I've been lucky and I've been in the right place at the right time, but I've had the songs to back it up. It's not like Morrissey didn't listed to the tape! And if he listened to the tape and there wasn't anything good on it, I wouldn't have gotten the rest of the tour. So I know I have to take those shots when I get them. And I think that there's a lot of recognizing what a "break" is when you see it. Like when Herb came to the show, if I hadn't made the extra effort to really talk to him and introduce myself- to give him a record and to tell him where I was staying.

[Matthew] It's not an easy thing to do!

[Melissa] Yeah! If I hadn't told him "Here's my phone number. Here's where I'm staying in Santa Fe. Give me a call," he wouldn't have been able to call me the next day and say "Why don't you come up to the house and we'll talk and have dinner?" So you have to seethe door and then you have to open it and then you have to walk through it. So there's all sorts of steps you have to do. But I'm equally afraid to have my own place as I am excited. It's really terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I don't even know if it's the right thing to do. There are things where you're like "Is this the right thing to do?" And then you're like "I guess I'm going to find out because I'm going to do it!" At some point you have to choose. You just got to jump. The fear will go away, I think, once I do it- once I'm there. But I don't get home until November 20th or something and it's just like I know it's going to happen so I'm kind of like over here making plans (which we all know doesn't work for me!). So, I'm like "Okay, when I get home, I'll put this money in the bank and…." The only thing I don't have is a bed. So trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to get a bed and how I'm going to move it and who is going to help me and- Christ! I got to let that stuff go and know that I'm going to be alright. I will be taken care of. I have always been taken care of and it will work out. And everyone will be okay. It's going to be difficult. The relationship has been a really long-standing relationship and it's been a really really intense relationship and there's a lot of love there so I think that there's a lot of that going on. Like "Can we stay friends? Can we take a break for a year and be where we're at?" because I don't know if this is something I want to continue or not. I don't know.

[Matthew] So I guess it's kind of a moot point to say "Where do you see it going and how far along are you?" because- Is there a hope? Is there a dream?

[Melissa] A dream in general for me?

[Matthew] Yeah.

[Melissa] I've said plans are a joke, but I'm sure there is a plan. I only wish I knew what it was! I really want to- My hope and dream is that I can quit my second job in L.A. and make a living doing [music] so I don't have to keep going home and working at the massage parlor! The "goal" is to keep playing live and to keep selling records and to open up the audience and to be playing bigger clubs and to be able to get a band and to more of the "rock thing." It's pretty obvious from the shows that people like my pop songs. They like to dance. They like to be moved. And it's a young crowd! I mean, my crowd now is like younger than it was even two or three years ago! Off of Willing To Wait, I was kind of attracting more of the songwriter crowd. It was more 25-45 [year-olds]. And now, it's like 15! I mean, people are pulling out their fake i.d.'s and these 15 to 22 year-olds are coming and they're freakin' out! They're into it! This is like "their" thing. This is what they're latching onto. This is their "cool indie girl" right now. And it's weird to be the cool indie girl right now! But when you're at the level of 4-600 people and you're moving 4-500 records a week and you've been added at a big [radio]station, it's kind of like that feeling of being on the verge. It's very odd! I mean, I've never been here before. I've never sold 400 tickets at [Boston rock club] The Paradise before, you know? I've never even headlined- I mean, I've headlined once before, but a hundred people came. This is weird! I mean, this is in six weeks that this happened! So it feels very fast and it feels kind of not balanced. I feel like I'm on a see-saw. And also from my past experiences, I don't want to live my life looking over my shoulder like "Okay, well where does the bad news come?" I just want to keep it moving and keep centered, so I have to be careful to not get locked-into the mindset of "Oh, this is going to happen and this is going to happen…." I just need to stay right here and stay centered. And that's why it's good to be here in Boston because my family is here and my friends are here so they keep me in line.

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