melody cruz

Review & Interview: “JUST HAVING FUN” by Melody Cruz

Melody Cruz released her latest single “JUST HAVING FUN” on April 15, 2022. The song is her first release of the year after coming onto the scene in 2021.

Though the young singer has only been on the scene for a short time, she has already gained a lot of traction. She has over 26,000 followers on TikTok and has even played Musikfest and performed with Matt Bloyd. “JUST HAVING FUN” is her fourth single since she began releasing her music on Spotify. 

“JUST HAVING FUN” is a happy, feel-good song perfect for getting the day ready and those early in the day dance sessions. This isn’t a song that really tells a story, but is instead meant to make you remember the days when you were a bit more carefree. It’s a reminder of the time before you had to fully grow up. Before responsibilities piled up. 

Where many of Cruz’s other songs are mid-tempo beats that open with electronic sounds, “JUST HAVING FUN” opens with the singer repeating “light it up” over an electric guitar. Her vocal range is really tested in this track, coming up strong. She seems to really have fun with this. 

Melody Cruz hails from the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania. When she’s not performing or recording, she works as a music instructor and studio manager at The Musik Makers in Nazareth. She has many performances lined up in 2022, which you can view on her website. You can also follow her socials linked below.

Q&A with Melody Cruz

Q: “JUST HAVING FUN” is such a feel-good and fun song! What inspired it?

MELODY CRUZ: I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you look at a human being’s life in the sense of a timeline, “JUST HAVING FUN” takes place in that sweet spot between teen-age and young adulthood. When I wrote the song in 2017, I had just graduated high school and found myself involved in a brief, but intense whirlwind “cultship” (if you will) with pretty much the entire cast of the show I was performing in at the time which was “Hair.”

Looking back, I went through some traumatic and toxic experiences with those people, but I was young and romanticized it all, so at the time I didn’t care. I was introduced to, and experimented with, a whole new way of life. At that time, I was still 17 but on the cusp of turning 18, so my parents were sort of grasping at straws to reign me in. I decided to release “JUST HAVING FUN” now as a way to reflect on my own experiences, and to bring light to that severely underrepresented time in everyone’s lives. We all have to break free of our parents’ grasps at some point, and we will almost definitely make mistakes and get burned in the process. But we’re also gonna have a hell of a time doing it.

Q: What does your typical creative process look like?

CRUZ: Admittedly, I am still searching for that golden and consistent creative process. I know I’m not alone in that, and that many songwriters tend to struggle with the writing process from time to time. The most inconsistent part for me is always getting started. I find that the more I try to control when I sit down and write, the more canned and forced it all feels. Truly, the more I allow myself to live my life and experience new things, and the more I allow myself to experience the internal torture I spent so much of my life trying to bury, the music just flows out. Ironically, melodies are normally the first things that come to me.

When it comes to lyrics, I usually hear phonetics first. I might start out humming my melody as “na, na, na, na” which then becomes “nuh, nah, nih, nuh.” That then could eventually become, say, “Just Having Fun.” Once I have my idea, my dad and I hit the studio and collaboratively build the instrumentation. He started building our home studio from the ground up when he was a teenager working at the movie theater, and it has since transformed into CMC Sound where all the magic happens today. I could NOT do this without him, like, at all. I love him more than words can describe.

Q: What was it like hearing your song on the radio for the first time?

CRUZ: I would compare it to my first bite of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted. My song “TOOLATE” was played on Ejazz Radio in September 2021. With that being my first single released under my label Melody Cruz Music, I was just proud of myself. I got a little taste of what is hopefully to come, and my gut is growling for more.

Q: Was there a pivotal moment in your life that led to your path as a musician?

CRUZ: Yes, actually. It happened while I was on vacation in Ocean City Maryland with my family last July 2021. We got gridlocked in traffic on the Coastal Highway, and I got hit with the usual, a brutal panic attack (thanks, claustrophobia). Thankfully I wasn’t driving, and one of my coping mechanisms is to hyper focus on small details around me, so I started looking into all the other cars surrounding us. I saw a mom reach into the back seat to comfort her small child, an older woman rub her temple, and a man looking around semi-frantically for any potential escape from our situation.

I had this huge epiphany at that moment, that the other cars around me weren’t my enemies. The cars weren’t these impediments some mysterious force placed in my way just to cause me distress. In fact, they weren’t cars at all, but people. No one wanted to be in traffic, no one chose to be in traffic. We were all just a bunch of people on vacation trying to have a good time, and all at once, we were robbed of an hour or so of our precious vacation time due to the overwhelming volume of people trying to achieve the same goal. 

I realized that the music industry works in a similar fashion. I had spent years building up all of this misguided resentment towards the industry because I subconsciously looked at every musician as competition, and each person who succeeded as taking up just one more slot we already don’t have in an incredibly oversaturated and congested industry. However, this moment in traffic made me recognize that I’m just like everyone else in the most glorious way. We are artists who don’t think, but know, that we are meant to create and share our voices with the world. Even if pursuing a career as a musician feels like getting stuck in a gridlock at times, if we remain patient and persistent, we will all reach our destination in due time.

Q: We love your vocals! (Just wow!) What has been your favorite song to perform?

CRUZ: Thank you! I’m fortunate enough to perform publicly 2-3 times a week for a few hours at a time, so I need to constantly switch it up. This is not only so I don’t get bored, but so my local fans who come out to see me don’t get bored either. I sprinkle in my original music, but I primarily sing covers right now simply because I don’t have enough released material to cover that timespan, yet.

If I had to pick one song that has been my favorite to perform consistently throughout my entire life, it would have to be “I Will Always Love You” by Miss Whitney Houston. I sang that song for the first time on the Playstation 2 game Karaoke Revolution Party when I was four years old. I was so drawn to Miss Houston and that song specifically, that it actually helped me learn to read. Once I had memorized the lyrics by listening to them, my brain was able to match them to the mysterious symbols flying across the screen. Of course, at four years old I was not able to do justice to the anthem, but as the years went on, “I Will Always Love You” became a formative part of what makes me the singer I am today.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working on music?

CRUZ: Occasionally I’m able to squeeze in an episode or two of “Always Sunny in Philadelphia” with my boyfriend, David, or make a 2AM trip to Wawa with my sister, Noel, but when I’m not working on the music itself, I am running Melody Cruz Music. In addition to writing and performing my own songs, I am my own distributor, social media manager, cover art designer, booking agent, and PR team. However, I am lucky enough to have an amazing family who helps in any way they can.

Between all that, there simply isn’t much time left. I do, however, have other responsibilities I carve time out in my schedule to attend to, my favorite being teaching. I work part-time as a guitar, piano, and songwriting instructor at The Musik Makers, located in Nazareth, PA. My students ground me constantly and remind me why I started doing what I do in the first place. I always feel like having to deal with the business side of things depletes my energy and kills my creativity. But when I’m working with my students, when I can feel their passion and pure love for music, I’m inspired once again.

Reviewed & Interviewed by Dana L. Sullivan





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