“When life gives you lemons, make grape juice. Then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it.” – Christian Farelove
This mantra perfectly encapsulates my next guest on this conversation series. Christian Farelove is an artist, entertainer, chef, activist, motivational speaker (or should be) all perfectly packaged into a hard-working, passionate human. Within his many pursuits, music is always there influencing his many creative outlets. Whether it’s his favorite song inspiring his next dish or favorite singer preparing him for his next drag show, music will always be included in his art.
On this episode of Disco Chats (hear the previous episode with Brooke Ryan here), we dive into Farelove’s passion for melodies and rhythms and the influence it has on his cooking and his alter-ego, Melody Lucas. He exercises extreme precision with his song choices, dance moves, and outfits; because of his thoughtful selections, it makes him stand out above his counterparts. During my research of Farelove, I came across this eight-minute video of his 2018 Charleston Pride performance to a Janet Jackson’s song medley and it provides an example of the kind of performer he is…a fucking great one.
Listen to our conversation below and learn more about the music that guides this soul on and off the stage. You can see Farelove live tomorrow, May 15, for the Black Girl Magic Showcase at El Jefe. If you’re not able to make the show, follow Christian or Melody on Instagram.
Finnegan Bell, Charleston-based duo, will be playing alongside John Paul White, former The Civil Wars musician, tomorrow night. White, a Grammy award winner, is best known for his years in the Civil Wars Americana Folk band. He released his first solo album, The Long Goodbye, in 2008 and Beulah in 2016. The event will be held at the Historic Old Brick Church of St. Thomas & St. Denis and tickets are available for purchase here.
Local musicians, Finnegan Bell, will be kicking off the evening with their Americana Pop music. They recently released their latest single, “Better Off Dead”, directed and edited by Dries Vandenberg from the local bands, Susto and Human Resources. Give it a listen below and see you all tomorrow night!
On day two, I got the chance to sit down with country, rock, soul duo, Muddy Magnolias. I’ve been a huge fan of these ladies for quite some time, and getting the treat to chat them up was thrilling.
This time around the interview was shorter, but we managed to cover some of their tunes from their upcoming album, their strong hat game, and how single, “American Woman”, makes a great entrance song.
Kallie and Jessy are the two fierce forces that make up Muddy Magnolias. I caught their show prior to chatting, and was excited to hear a new tune, “Brother, What Happened”. This tune is their way to express some socially conscious issues. They wanted to experiment with some hip hop aspects, incorporating drum loops. They’ve written socially conscious songs in the past, but wanted to keep this one light. This was their third time playing the song live, and they love the reaction and energy from the crowd.
“Brother, What Happened” will be on their upcoming debut album due out late August early September. This independently-released album will have songs that are “easy to digest and enjoyable but has an ebb and flow” throughout the entire album.
After talking business, I had to know about their hat game. If you follow the gals on Instagram, you will see an array of big hats, small hats, fabulous hats and more. They mentioned Nashville boutique, Kitty, was one of their favorite places to find their hats. After perusing their Instagram, I think I might need to start working on my hat collection as well.
I always like to end interviews with a fun question, and I asked the girls what would be their entrance song. Let me set the stage…. You’re attending a party, and it’s time for you to make your grand entrance what song would play for your badass walk-in? It’s like our baseball walk out song, but more glitter and less dirt.
Jessy and Kallie both agreed on Beyonce’s “Formation”, and who wouldn’t agree? But that also segued into a discussion on their single, “American Woman”. If you haven’t listened, please drop everything and go do it now. It’s an anthem that expresses the Magnolias’ strength, lady-power, and all-around badassery.
Thanks again to the Muddy Magnolia gals for chatting. Everyone go do yourself a favor and get familiar with these gals because they’re about to take over.
While roaming the Southern Grounds, I also got the privilege to interview Cam. It is always a treat to get a preview behind the velvet ropes, but you never know what you’ll get. However, Cam was genuine, humble, sweet and all-around lovely.
The interview was roughly 19 minutes, and we touched on a range of things from her debut album, Untamed, our mutual love of Bonnie Raitt, today’s dating scene, and how all Taco Bell menu items circle back to the Cheesy Gordita Crunch.
Cam’s fame has taken off like wildfire. Her debut album, Untamed, was released last December and has brought her Grammy, Academy of Country Music (ACM), and American Countdown Award nominations. When I asked her about the influences of this album, she references Eric Church’s Chief. She mentioned that there’s a song for every occasion on that record, and she wanted to make sure that Untamed ran the same gambit of tunes.
After releasing this album, she’s had her share of “wow” moments. One in particular was her “Burning House” performance at the ACM awards. Her standing ovation was the moment she knew how popular her song had become and the validation from her musical peers was a “wow-filled” experience. Give her performance a watch below.
Not to mention, meeting the Holy Gypsy Guitar Queen, Bonnie Raitt. She ran into Raitt at the ACMs, and Cam mentions that ‘all compliments vomited out of my mouth, “you’re the most amazing singer ever”. Later in the night, Raitt thanked her for the sweet compliments. Who wouldn’t fall over from an encounter this iconic artist?
My favorite song on Untamed is “Half Broke Heart”, and I had to pick her brain about the backstory. The song is her take on dating, and how even if it’s casual it can still be painful when it ends. The opening lyrics, “I wasn’t looking for a ring it doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. When you cut and run so soon”, make it known but the upbeat guitar and vocals make a painful situation more bearable.
But this is also true to Cam’s disposition, as I asked for her worst dating story and she couldn’t even recall one. Her take on life is to always remember the better moments, so she shared her “comedy of errors” date. A broken down car, quick-thinking Taco Bell dinner, and a random Rodin garden made an awkward date into a memorable evening. I inquired about her go-to Taco Bell choice, and we both shared a love of cheesy gordita crunch or whatever they’re called now.
One the coolest things about being a woman in present day country music, is the camaraderie that exists among female artists. CMT’s Next Women of Country Music showcases rising female country artists. I asked Cam her thoughts on being asked to join and the impact it could have on future lady musicians. The biggest take away was that it provides visibility and exposure to really freakin’ talented musicians. I loved her example of, “if there were no women astronauts it’s hard to think you could be that.” So by having very visible female representation in the industry, it helps those aspiring to keep moving forward in their dreams.
I also asked her for advice for future musicians and aspiring artists; the biggest ones were know every facet of the business and write your own music. Never expect that someone else is going to help you. Everyone starts from the same place, so you have to go through the steps of learning, making mistakes, and gaining that experience that’s necessary within this business.
I have to say that I was incredibly nervous and excited to meet Cam. Her sunny spirit is contagious and it’s hard to not be 100% yourself with her. Her grace and humility are reasons why her fan base is growing exponentially and I must say that it was a wow moment for me to have this opportunity.