Portland musician Mel Stone has been in the studio working on her latest release, Fragments, which is due out in November. She released the EP Coney for Bandcamp’s Transgender Law Center nonprofit event in August (it’s available now as a permanent fundraiser for the organization). Learn more about Mel at melstone.co and on Twitter.
- Where were you Born?
I was born in Pomona, CA, which gives me the perfect icebreaker if I ever meet Tom Waits.
- What brought you to Portland?
My family moved from Southern California to Winslow when I was fifteen, and fell in love with Portland. It’s been my home off-and-on for the last decade.
- What was your most memorable gig?
Years ago, I had the chance to play at set at the Rainbow on Sunset Strip. Taught me a lot about expectations in professional music.
- What was your worst gig?
Back in 2006, I was doing a tour of the South, and my manager at the time had told me I had booked a show in Charleston, SC. I get there, and it was a full-fledged fine dining restaurant. Apparently, there was a huge mix-up, but I started to play anyway. Two songs into depressing acoustic music, the few patrons there were visibly uncomfortable, so I packed it up and left.
- What album or artist has most influenced you as a musician?
If I had to pick an artist, I’d say Elliott Smith. From composition to lyrics to skill, his music has been a tremendous inspiration, influence on my work and my interest in writing music. Many artists in that melancholy-pop-folk zone are big influences.
- What’s the one piece of musical equipment you can’t live without?
My capo! I love this thing
- Any advice for a musician starting out?
Practice and write every single day. Every little bit helps move you forward and refines your skills.
- What’s your musical guilty pleasure?
I absolutely love ABBA and Phish and I feel no guilt about it.
- What was the first album/recording you owned?
My mom wouldn’t let me listen to popular music as a kid, but for some reason, Weird Al was allowed, so my very first record was Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D. As a teenager, when my dad tried to get me into the classics, he gave me a copy of Revolver, Ziggy, and The Cars’ Greatest Hits.
- What are you listening to at the moment?
A.W.’s Runaway has been blasting in my car at least once a day. I’ve also been on this early Leonard Cohen kick for the last few weeks, and really getting into Nada Surf, particularly Let Go.
- What was the best concert/musical performance you’ve attended?
Phish’s IT in Limestone. I was seventeen and the experience changed my life.
Additionally, Stephen has exhibited his photography in Portland, Maine, Boston, and California. He lives just outside of Portland with his wife and two children.