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Mel Parsons - MNZ Interview: It's A Wrap with Roger: Mel Parsons

30 Jun 2022 // An interview by Roger Bowie

I caught up with Mel Parsons at home in Lyttelton, the one place on earth where everyone who has ever recorded a song, comes from, or so it seems. Almost a cliché, Mel reckons, but although it is, in its essence, a village, Lyttelton is also a hideaway, and Mel more often sees her fellow artists at the airport, off doing their thing.

I am embarrassed to admit that last December's Tuning Fork show, where Mel did a solo performance which had been rescheduled about a dozen times, was the first Mel Parsons show I had ever seen, apart from seeing her sing as part of the Come Together classic album series, Live Rust, Brothers in Arms, and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. So, I heard the voice, but not her singing her own songs, and so seeing her play solo, and reveal her true self through her songs, was a light turning on moment.

We heard some of the new songs that night, and there have been three songs released, but her 5th album, Slowburn, is due out in September 2022, and she is touring with her band in October. Something to really look forward to.

I ask Mel what’s so special about this album, half expecting all sorts of revelations, but she is coy and reserved. She’s not one to talk about meanings and themes, unless it’s on stage, but not in advance, Mel respects the listeners’ privilege to make their own minds up and take what they want. So, no grand concepts, but a finely tuned instinct which is physical as well as emotional for when a thought or an idea or just ‘something’ is worth pursuing as a song. The studio then becomes the place where the seed becomes kernel becomes fruit. And then it’s out there for all to consume and describe their own taste.

Give birth and set the child free. As far as the record goes. But in a live scenario there’s a different dynamic, as the audience is more or less expecting an introduction or an explanation, or a context, and it is in this context where the personality of the writer becomes inextricably linked to the song. And that’s how she sees it. For her. But each artist has their own way of presenting themselves live, some don’t talk at all, and that is entirely valid but creates a level of intensity which Mel feels is already implicit in the often melancholy, dark nature of her lyrics, and so her preference is to cut the audience some slack. It’s what the singer songwriter does, especially in the absence of a band. Unless you are Aldous.

Mel Parsons is releasing Slowburn on September 17th and her goal is to make people feel something, to relate to her songs, to match them to the mood and the feelings of the moment. She wants to move you.

And then she wants to connect from the stage with her band bringing the songs to life and she’s touring in October and it will be grand and you need to be there. I know I will.


About Mel Parsons

Well recognised as one of New Zealand’s established songwriting stars, indie-folk singer songwriter Mel Parsons’ star is on the rise. Following the success of both her debut album Over My Shoulder in 2009, and sophomore offering Red Grey Blue in 2011, Parsons released her third full length record Drylands in 2015.

The Kiwi singer/songwriter and two time NZ Music Award (VNZMA) finalist for Folk Album of the Year, has released the first single from Drylands – the gutsy & rhythmic audience favourite originally performed with Fly My Pretties, Far Away. With a dynamite live show, solo or with her band, Parsons is an engaging performer with a natural emotive voice that allows the listener to become part of the story.

With home as a hotel room and a suitcase, Parsons has built up her fan base the old fashioned way – winning over audiences on the live circuit. The only New Zealand artist invited to showcase at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, USA in 2014 & 2015, Parsons has also had recent tours in Australia, UK, Ireland, and Germany. She is also a cast member of Kiwi musical collective Fly My Pretties, with tours and festival performances including the prestigious Byron Bay Bluesfest at Easter 2015.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mel Parsons


Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Red Grey Blue
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Over My Shoulder
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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