Adam Melchor has had a very busy year.
After dropping myriad singles throughout quarantine, the indie-pop singer-songwriter finally released his debut album Melchor Lullaby Hotline Vol. 1 March 19, an intimate collection filled with dreamy ballads and melancholic bops. He began the project in Feb. 2020, meaning that nearly all of the record’s production took place during the pandemic — and Melchor ran into one main issue.
“I didn’t have any way to play music in front of people,” Melchor remarked in an interview with The Daily Californian.
To receive feedback on his songs and build a community with his fans, Melchor developed what he called “the lullaby hotline” in which he texted fans a link to an unlisted song every Sunday. Fans heard Melchor’s music as he was actively trying it out at the time, and 12 of these “lullaby hotline” songs eventually made the final album.
Now that quarantine is over and he’s on the road again for tour, Melchor still hopes to utilize the hotline to some extent, though it may not be as consistent or expansive as it was before.
“I’ve been still sending out text messages on Sunday and stuff. It’s been harder writing songs,” Melchor said. “There’s a lot of just voice memos and covers and stuff that I’m able to put together. I think now that the world is sort of back a little bit, it’ll be a new set of challenges and scheduling to make music, so we’ll see how it goes.”
During the pandemic, Melchor gained quite a bit of exposure through releasing singles — dropping an astronomical 18 songs in the past two years — but noted that he would trade any of this increased social media attention for a return to live shows.
“You see the people in the crowd, and they’re making friends,” Melchor stated. “You can really see what your music has done for somebody. It’s also such a two-way street, like without people (listening) to my music, I wouldn’t be able to play it.”
Even though some of his new songs might be the ones he’s most excited to play live, Melchor emphasized that he feels his older songs have maintained a sense of freshness and excitement — due to the pandemic, he hasn’t been able to play those very often, either.
“They all feel new to me, which is actually maybe one of the few benefits of not playing for like a long time — every song just sort of feels good,” Melchor said.
Naturally, however, he still hopes that he’ll be able to tour as much as possible and as soon as possible. Along with looking forward to seeing fans on tour, Melchor is excited to improve his craft through receiving feedback on newer songs at performances.
“I do go through a layer of ‘Let me try playing it live and seeing what’s wrong with it, or seeing what’s right with it,’” Melchor said. “Without that, it was a little tougher, but I’m happy to have these shows back.”
While love songs — both about being in love and losing sight of it after time — are abundant throughout Melchor’s repertoire, he takes inspiration from all aspects of his life: the mundane, the sentimental and everything in between.
Specifically, many of Melchor’s songs focus on his relationship with his family. As his parents, grandparents and sisters are all music teachers, he cites his family as the reason he fell in love with music.
“My family has always been very much involved in music,” Melchor said. “I think we all caught the bug.”
This fall, Melchor embarked on his first headlining tour, titled the Full Band tour. Comparing headlining to his experience opening for Dodie Clark’s North American Human tour in 2019, he noted a significant shift in his responsibility level due to the amount of preparation necessary.
“I’m responsible for basically like a whole basketball team’s worth of people,” Melchor said. “It’s definitely a different dynamic.”
Every performance night, Melchor is involved with essentially every aspect of the show. As a headliner, Melchor expressed that he feels more responsible for the tour as a whole.
“It’s just making sure that everybody is feeling comfortable at all times,” Melchor said. “Just trying to be that person to rally everyone, but also taking care of yourself as well.”
Balancing self-care during a headline tour is no easy feat, but Melchor is handling it with ease. Above all else, Melchor’s excitement to get back on the road and perform is palpable.
“I hope I’m sick of my songs,” Melchor joked. “I hope I’m playing them way too much.”