Meet The Artist: Melodie Gliem
Name: Melodie Gliem, lead singer and main songwriter of GLIEM
City: Regina, Sask.
A bit about myself:
I’m of Cree/Lakota descent on my Mom’s side and have family roots to George Gordon First Nation. My Mom grew up there and I spent time out at Gordon as a kid at my Grandmother’s house, spending a lot of time following butterflies. I was very young at the time, but I remember my Grandfather used to dance in pow wows. I find it fascinating when I hear more stories and connections of my heritage and history, including being a descendant of many powerful Medicine Men and prominent figures. It’s important to love who you are, embrace every aspect of yourself, where you came from and your history.
For my music, I draw upon subjects such as dreams, the strength of the human spirit to endure, sharing the emotional imprints my life has left on me, and various philosophies. Music is like breathing, and a huge part of who I am. I believe everyone has a gift to share on this earth, something that makes them unique, and something that is meant to be expressed. We all live on this planet and have a unique perspective and contribution to make; we all have trials we go through that make us who we are today; we all experience joy and loss. In a way, those very experiences connect us all.
My musical influences:
There are so many different styles of music that I’m drawn to. Rock, jazz, reggae, on and on. Any music that has soul, passion and moves my emotions. I love Heart, Led Zeppelin, Tori Amos, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, Rush and Bob Marley, to name a few. I use a lot of metaphors inspired by nature. When I’m focused on the initial stage of writing on my guitar, I usually use a hybrid picking style. I find the natural harmonics that ring from my acoustic guitar help to inspire different melodies.
The first album I bought:
Dreamboat Annie by Heart. I’ve always loved their use of harmonies and the strong female rock songstresses that front the band! The ability to sing sweetly and then the next minute have a ripping rock vocal – that’s inspiring to me.
The first concert I went to:
Alice Cooper. I’ve always loved ’70s rock music and I think it’s because of the sheer raw talent. I remember me and a bunch of my friends missed school that day to go sit outside the doors until the concert started and ate lunch there in anticipation of the concert! I think I even wore the Alice Cooper makeup (laughs)! Very memorable day.
The last song I listened to:
Bravado by Rush. I’ve always loved their music and the lyrics of Neil Peart. “If we burn our wings flying too close to the sun, if the moment of glory is over before it’s begun, if the dream is won …” Beautiful.
My favourite song of all time:
There are so many good tunes out there, pinning one down is difficult. I can say that one of my favourites is a Stevie Nicks song called Talk To Me. The raw emotion in the lyrics, and the song gets me every time. “Dusty words lying under carpets, seldom heard why must you keep your secrets locked inside, hidden deep from view.” Great lyric. I like to write from strong emotional views and I’m not afraid to express that in my music. Writing and singing to me have always been a huge way to express myself. Music can speak volumes when words are not enough. The universal language. Emotions unfurled! It’s human to feel such things and healing to express it. To have the ability to move someone’s soul with a song is amazing to me. That’s why I like this tune so much.
The one song I wish I’d written:
Aerosmith’s Dream On! The chorus says it all: “Dream on … Dream until your dreams come true.” That speaks to my heart. Many of my songs are written about following your passionate heart, never doubting yourself and sharing your gifts with the world. Staying true to yourself and expressing your unique vision while following it. Not everyone is meant to follow the same path in life. We all hold different gifts. Different dreams for different dreamers.
My dream gig:
I would absolutely love to perform on the stage at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. It’s a natural-occurring, geologically-formed amphitheatre created by Mother Nature. I believe it’s the only one in the world. Originally called “The Garden of Angels” and considered to be sacred by American Indian tribes. To sing on this stage where many of my favourite musicians have stood, including Sting and Stevie Nicks to name a few. To be surrounded by animals, nature, the starry night sky, the red Aztec sandstone and 300-foot monoliths, ship rock and creation rock, would be absolutely amazing to me! The vibe all around would just be a magical atmosphere to perform in. It’s on my list!
Myself in three words:
Creative. Empathetic. Humorous.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received:
My parents telling me that no matter what I do in life, whatever I end up doing, do it well. It showed me that the world was open, and that I could express myself with the innate talents that I have. There is not just one path in life for everyone, so be proud of who you are and do your best. My Mom was always very supportive of my creativity. She bought me a Snoopy keyboard when I was a kid and it made the loudest, most annoying sounds ever (laughs)! I would always sing to her. She also put me in art classes when I was a kid, because I loved to draw as well. They were also very caring and showed me to be a compassionate soul, because you never know what someone’s story is.
Beatles or Rolling Stones?
Beatles, definitely! I love their songwriting and the fact that they have different genres of music within the songs. That’s inspiring to me as a songwriter, to use different genres intertwined within my music. I love everything from classical to jazz to reggae to rock and don’t feel the need to colour within the lines all the time. I’m drawn to an array of musical sounds and my thoughts go in various directions at once when I’m creating, which I find is great in songwriting.
When I’m not making music I’m …
My life is forever surrounded by music. I’m always listening to music, and writing songs in my head if I’m not performing, singing or recording it. I’m also drawn to creative pursuits such as drawing, photography and dancing. I absolutely love to roller blade and hang out in nature as much as possible, which revitalizes my soul. For personal interest, I study natural healing elements ie. the effects that music and sound have on healing.
Something people would be surprised to learn about me …
Lots of things! I took singing lessons a long time ago, just to get used to singing in front of people. It took me quite a while to get the guts to sing in front of an audience; I had stage fright. Even in school I took guitar classes instead of vocal, because I wasn’t ready to share my voice. I still to this day get butterflies and feel nervous before I perform, but once I’m on stage it feels like home and I’m within my element. On a different note, I have this thing that I call my “horse rib” (laughs)! When I was a kid, me and my friend were horseback riding, and my horse kept stopping along the trail to eat. My horse was not interested in moving from the food supply, so I jumped onto the back of my friend’s horse. The horse decided to run very fast back to the stable and, needless to say, I fell onto the ground and the horse ran me over! To this day it sometimes feels like my rib moves if I sit or laugh in a certain position … so that is where “horse rib” was born.
If my life was a song, the title would be …
Creative Spark. Everything starts somewhere, as an idea or a spark. I’ve always been into music, art and various creative outlets. It’s something that’s been very healing within my life. Taking the good and the bad, the storms and the sunshine, all the experiences in life and bringing that out to be a positive force. Never give up and never let your spark go out. No matter what life may bring, let your unique spirit shine.