Article by Christopher Snyder
In these socially distant times, the power of music is revealing itself in unique ways. For some of us, it is reliving our favorite Phish moments every Tuesday with their “Dinner And A Movie” streaming series. For others, it is relishing in new music being made by artists making the most of time spent in quarantine. For Nashville-based soul artist Melanie Dewey (aka MELD), the power of music presented itself through a timely single release, and a miracle brought on by the Grateful Dead community.
While the rest of the world navigates the “new normal,” MELD is navigating the loss of her biggest fan—her father, Christopher Dewey. Christopher passed away on Independence Day following an inspiring battle with cancer. MELD’s latest single, “Time With You” is dedicated to the memory of her father, with artwork featuring images of the two of them together.
Originally written as a funky, apocalyptic anthem, MELD realized the true meaning of “Time With You” following the passing of her father. “Looking back, it’s like part of me knew I was writing this song for him all along,” the singer-songwriter says. “Not only is this song dedicated to him, but this entire album is for him. He has been the biggest supporter of my dreams for my whole life, and everything I do is because he believed in me.”
‘Time With You’ was Christopher’s favorite song on MELD’s forthcoming self-titled album. The strong, driven bass lines are coupled with soaring and intricate horn parts, and the music sets the stage for its eerily relevant lyrics: “I don’t know when my time is through, but I just wanna spend more time with you. Who knows baby, if this world is doomed, but I just wanna spend more time with you.” As Melanie watched her father’s health decline in the last few weeks, these words gained an even deeper meaning for her.
Growing up, Melanie bonded with her father over their mutual love of all things Grateful Dead. Their appreciation for the band inspired her to become an artist, and even led her to earn the Bruce Hornsby CAM scholarship at the University of Miami’s Frost School Of Music her senior year. Recently, this lifelong bond was reassured in the form of a miracle via a little help from the Grateful Dead community.
When Christopher was set up on hospice in June, Melanie returned home to Syracuse to spend precious time with her father. She cited the Grateful Dead lyrics to “I Need A Miracle,” to him on the deck one night, to which he raised a finger in the air and shouted, “If you want me to have a miracle, you’re going to have to walk around like this all day!” Melanie was lucky enough to snag a video of him saying those words, which she posted to a “Phish Chicks” Facebook group. After getting an overwhelming response of prayers, inspiration struck. Knowing that this was possibly the last birthday she would spend with her father, Melanie was going to make it count.
On June 23, just before her father’s 50th birthday, Melanie began a social media campaign in an effort to catch the attention of Grateful Dead band members. She posted in every Deadhead and Phish facebook group she could find, asking fellow fans to send a barrage of tweets at Bob Weir, John Mayer, and Dead & Company. She even reached out to Bruce Hornsby himself, eventually getting an email response from him. Hornsby wrote that he had forwarded her message to the “core four” via his manager. Soon, her phone was chiming non-stop with retweets and messages, until suddenly she was staring at a tweet from Bob Weir himself, along with a text of a video message from Dead & Co. guitarist John Mayer.
“Seeing the look on my father’s face when he got those birthday wishes was the most beautiful thing in the world,” says Melanie. “For him to know he was THAT loved in his final days was the biggest gift I’ve ever gotten. More than anything this experience reminded me that the entire Deadhead and jam community is as strong as ever, and truly one of the best. (It is) full of some of the most genuine and kind people in the world.” They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, but between the encounter with the Grateful Dead and the emotional foresight that is witnessed on MELD’s single “Time With You,” it’s clear that anything is possible when it comes to the power of live music.
MELD’s new single “Time With You” is available now on Spotify. For more information, head to her social media page here.