When you think of a rose that has broken through the concrete - think of Meelah, former lead vocalist of Las Vegas, NV female R&B group 702, that blessed us with the club anthem - Where's My Girls At? Remember that? Though the group is no longer a collective, Meelah's sultry sound is still in the sphere. Back to business after a long hiatus, Meelah, who we adore, sat down over dinner with me to chat about her music industry travels, Zacariah, her inspirational 3 year old son that she shares with Musiq Soulchild, as well as her preparations for an independent, yet progressive solo career. MommyNoire: Meelah, share a bit of your musical history.
Meelah: I was the lead singer of 702, which was a group named after the Las Vegas area code. Our first album 'No Doubt' dropped in 1996 and had hits like 'Steelo' our first gold single produced by Missy Elliot, and our power ballad 'Get it Together." We achieved a lot of success with 'No Doubt.' In 1999 we got back in the studio with Missy Elliot to release our biggest hit to date - 'Where My Girls At?'', which earned us an American Music Award Nomination.
MommyNoire: So you are a solo artist now - I know your son Zacariah inspired your role in the children's album 'We Are Different' - your first independent project.
Meelah: It’s so funny, because I never would have thought in a million years that my first independent release after 702 would have been a children's album. 'We Are Different' is my first independent release, and its available on iTunes , Amazon and CD Baby.
MommyNoire: Why would parents want to purchase 'We Are Different'.
Meelah: The album is very educational and there are empowering messages embedded. For example, there is a song about using the potty, and there is a song about being polite - using 'please' and 'thank you'. Also, the ABC's and 123's. 'We Are Different' is also great for parents, because the production of the music is similar to what you would hear on the radio, but it is kid friendly content.
MommyNoire: Is it easy to balance your musical career and motherhood.
Meelah: I try my best with balancing, but it does get hard. There are times when I just want to spend quality moments with Zac, but I can't because I need to put my energy into re-establishing my career. Quite honestly, I'm still trying to figure out how to balance it all, but thankfully I have the support of my mom, which is truly a blessing. Even though balancing is challenging, Zac is motivating me to hustle harder than I ever have. I am truly inspired and can't wait to get back out there.
MommyNoire: The music business has changed dramatically since 702, do you have any fears about pursuing the solo-route.
Meelah: No, because I am a firm believer in evolution. I had a magnificent run with 702, but since then I have embarked on the next phase of my life which is womanhood. Its really exciting for me, because I get to experiment with who I am as a solo artist. And I have been given the opportunity to re-invent myself.
MommyNoire: So will there be a 702 reunion?
Meelah: I get that question a lot. It's not something that I am interested in right now. However, I can't predict the future. I love the girls and always will. Thank God for 702. But right now, I am really just focused on exploring who Meelah is as a solo artist. But hey, never say never.
MommyNoire: What are some projects that you have in the works?
Meelah: Currently, I am entertaining the reality show route, but I am only interested in projects conducive to my artistry and craft. I am just trying to get my voice out there and remind people that I am still singing.
MommyNoire: Tell us about your creative strengths.
Meelah: I am layered. I am very colorful. I have many hues. I am so dynamically creatively. People have only seen what I have done with 702. When you listen to this children’s album, that is a whole other side of me. Not just that its children’s music, but the approach. I have material that I did with Musiq Soulchild that is definitely not your traditional pop R&B sounding music. I want people to hear more than they expect, because I don't want to limit myself or be placed in a box, based on my experience with 702. I am experimenting with my sound.
MommyNoire: Looking back to where you were, how has life changed for you?
Meelah: Being a mom now has helped me put things in perspective. Everything I do now is for my son. I feel a sense a purpose, which is giving me a new sense of reality.
Kay Konnect, Deputy Editor of MommyNoire and mom to strong-willed toddler Kannon Ball, holds a B.S with honors in Liberal Studies with a focus on Creative Writing from Northeastern University, and is completing her M.A in Media Studies. She has written extensively for Allhiphop.com, Mixtape Magazine and additional publishing outlets targeting the Hip Hop culture. Follow Kay Konnect @Kaykonnect and MommyNoire