The idea of recording and releasing personal, heart on her sleeve songs–and secular music in general—would have been unthinkable for indie pop singer-songwriter Melanie Rogers just a few years ago. Until 2019, her life trajectory and career goals were all within the church context and Contemporary Christian Music industry. Melanie, who was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, began playing the piano at 5 and guitar at 11. She’s been writing songs as long as she can remember, but felt like she needed to suppress her deeper artistry for many years while focusing her talents on the musical worship experience. “I had this deep rooted belief that if I were to pursue my own personal musical endeavors that I would be dishonoring God, and that the only way to express my creativity was through leading worship or writing worship songs.”
While attending Westmont College, where she earned a degree in religious studies, she performed for a couple years in the college chapel band, which put on concert-style services three times a week for groups of 2,000 people. She later moved to Seattle with every intention of going to grad school and becoming a therapist, and also got involved with a church and continued playing worship music. “Even while I was playing worship music in public, my own songwriting was the way I processed my life experiences and private emotions,” says Melanie. After a change in church leadership, she was let go unceremoniously – a bitter experience that prompted her to rethink her goals in Christian music, reassess her life path and even question her faith itself.
As Melanie dives fully into embracing the artist she feels she was always meant to be, she draws us in from the emotional get-go on “Fever”, her debut self-penned single. She brings her soulful and ethereal perspective to that singular, heartrending moment we can all relate to. “It’s the stomach-dropping feeling where you realize the passion is gone and something has permanently changed between you and the person you care deeply about – and the panic and grief that follows.” “I used the title as a metaphor because it reflects the immediate heat we felt at the beginning. Rather than a slow building relationship based on true love and trust, we dove in really fast led by infatuation and in a whirlwind created unhealthy bonds with each other. When he told me there was someone else in his life and he needed to pursue a relationship with her, I felt blindsided. Months later, I rewrote the original second verse with my producer, Jesse Field, which helped bring more clarity.” The track follows the release of her dreamy, atmospheric twist on “Anchor,” a 2015 song by Welsh singer, songwriter Novo Amor, whom Melanie cites as one of her greatest influences along with artists like Joy Williams, Enya, Gabrielle Aplin, and Vera Blue.
Although she has pivoted away from the Christian church world, Melanie is still a very spiritual soul, and is enjoying the freedom of creating the music she wants to make for the first time in her life.“I love the reality that for the first time I am giving myself permission to write and produce whatever I want, especially breaking out of my earlier belief that the only songs I should be writing are about either God or a future husband. It’s fun to write weird songs and play with all sorts of sounds. I have very big dreams and the foundation of those is the opportunity to write about anything and everything and share my heart with people like never before.”