Melii, Mariah and Melymel united their voices at People en Español's Festival. Find out what the Latinx stars had to say about staying true to themselves in their music.

By Lena Hansen
October 07, 2019

Latinx urban music stars Mariah, Melymel and Melii shared the stage at People en Español's Festival to share their struggles and life lessons. The panel, moderated by digital executive editor Shirley Velasquez, focused on the inspiring personal stories of these young artists, who discovered they have a lot in common.

“I started writing poetry, and when I got to high school I started taking it more seriously and actually recording in closets in the projects. That's when I started taking my own writing and applying it to to remixes. My first remix was ‘Persian Rugs' and that was from a poem,” Harlem star Melii said. Melymel, known as La Mamá del Rap, also wrote poetry as a child. “It was what helped me discover that I knew how to make words rhyme and combine sounds,” the Dominican singer said. “Then I heard Tupac and got into some trouble,” she joked about her musical icon.

Mariah also wrote stories as a child before becoming a songwriter. At 20, she's still getting used to fame, she said. “[My life] has changed drastically. Now I'm traveling a lot. I have a new show every week. I'm happy young people identify with me and I'm living my dream,” said the Miami-born singer, of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent.

Even though she was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Melymel said that listening to American artists like Tupac, Biggie and Lauryn Hill really influenced her, and she started rapping and freestyling at age 11. Mariah, on the other hand, was influenced by older classics that her mom played in the house, like ballads from Mexican crooner José José and salsa icons like Marc Anthony. Her soulful sound is also due to her love for R&B.

Mariah revealed that she gets her “loud side” from her Cuban dad, who likes Cubatón music, while she referred to her Puerto Rican mom as her “number-one fan.” The three singers also talked about being true to themselves on and off stage. “I'm the same crazy person,” Melii joked. “When I'm home I like to relax, I'm tranquila, but when I'm on stage, it's my job to deliver.” Melymel confessed that artists are human and have bad days, too, but it's important to give the audience your best energy on stage. “I am learning to let go of the fear and I'm getting more into the shows and connecting more with the audience, getting comfortable,” Mariah said about growing as a performer.

All three artists also have in common their honest way of making music and voicing issues that matter to women. “I just live my truth and that's something that I always encourage my fans to do,” Melii, known for her confessional-style songs, said. “I feel like when you walk in your purpose, when you walk in your truth, there is nothing that could be used against you because you know you better than anybody else. Nobody can tell you who you are, so with my music I just encourage women to live their truth and represent that.” Melymel also employs raw honesty in her lyrics. “I don't like poses,” she admitted. “I am known for being really honest. I'm always the villain and I'm proud of that,” she joked about having no filter. Mariah also encouraged young artists to be themselves. “Everyone is going to have an opinion, a perspective on how they think you should do things,” she reflected, “but as an artist, you have to stand your ground. I'm the show, let me be me. Just be yourself, don't let people try to fabricate your or mold you into what you're not.”

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