Monday, July 1, 2013

MUSIC: Melinda Doolittle (May Issue)

Like so many others, I used to be obsessed with American Idol.  Each week I would be on the edge of my seat waiting to see who made it through.  I was invested in the contestants and their stories.  It was probably my favorite show.  However, my obsession ended after Season Six.  Melinda Doolittle was voted off.  I. Was. Done.  I remember screaming at the TV “What???!!” and then crying.  Yes, crying.  It seems a little crazy now, but I, along with the judges and millions of Americans, fell in love with the soulful singer from Nashville.  She was phenomenal and no doubt deserving of the title of American Idol.  I’m not saying Jordin Sparks wasn’t incredibly talented as well, but Melinda was and will always be in my mind number one.  Six years later, I have finally had the honor of meeting Melinda.  I saw her at the Taste of Williamson, and without hesitation, I introduced myself.  As I expected, she was absolutely delightful.  She is such a kind and genuine person and was happy to meet with me for this story.   

I was able to join her in the studio during her Friday ritual of recording the online show IDOLOGY, where she and TV Lines’ Michael Slezak recap each weeks episode of Idol, giving their opinions on performances, who should stay, who should go, etc.  The show is a must see for Idol watchers.  Melinda is made to be in front of the camera with her captivating smile and lively personality.  I asked her if she is ever mean because I can’t even imagine that she can be!  She says that she is honest and tries to be nice but constructive.  The Idols watch the show every week and very often take Melinda’s advice.

When she’s not recording the show, Melinda is still hard at work on her music career.  She is so excited about the record she is currently working on.  She has put together what she calls her “A-Team”, including writer Jim Weatherly (“Midnight Train to Georgia”) and producer Tre’ Corley.  She said, “Tre’ can produce the living daylights out of a song and make me love the entire thing.”  She loves working with Tre’ because he can take her “old school” vibe and combine it with the current sound. Melinda sang a song for me that will be on the album.  She said that other than me, she has only let her momma listen to it.  The song is called “Give”, and it is beautiful.  When it is released, it will definitely “give” you chills.  It is about giving to others, and its sales will benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.  Melinda is also part of a compilation album featuring several artists, such as Amy Grant, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss, which will have songs written by patients of the Children’s Hospital and will benefit it, as well.  The album will be released on May 15th

Melinda has been a Williamson County resident for several years.  She moved here after graduating from Belmont University.  She said she loves that Williamson County has the country and the city, and it is the best place to come home to after being on the road.  Our hometown girl’s voice is absolutely on the level of music divas such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.  However, she does not have one ounce of any negative connotations that the name diva sometimes entails.  She is an authentic beauty on the inside and out.  Whatever she does, she will always have my vote!

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