It's been just over a year since Melanie Amaro won the first U.S. version of Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" music competition on Fox. Since then, the Sunrise native with the big voice has been busy in Los Angeles recording tracks at her label Epic Records. We caught up with Amaro during a break as she prepares to release her debut album, "Truly," later this year.
Q. How has your life changed since "The X Factor?
A. I think it's the fact that I used to be ignored and no one knew who I was and I never got attention...Everyone walks up to me now and they're like 'oh my god, you're Melanie Amaro!" People know who I am now and they compliment me on my music so that has been a big change for me.
Q. What is a typical day for you?
A. I get up, have breakfast, feed my dog (T.K.) work out, then I sing through(out) my day. I am always singing...Out of 24 hours a day, I sing 22 (laughing).
Q. How often do you visit South Florida?
A. I was there two weeks ago. I went home for New Year's...I definitely try to visit my family and friends and everyone that supported me when I was in Florida. I visit my church, I visit some of the places where they had some of my watch parties. I go back and thank everyone for how truly grateful I am.
Q. You performed on "The X Factor" in December and sang your new single, "Long Distance." What was that like for you?
A. The feeling was crazy. It felt great being back home you know, on my home stage, but it was also a relief as well because I knew that after I finished singing I wouldn't have to be critiqued and I think that is the most terrifying part of being on 'X Factor," knowing that you're going to sing and knowing right after you're going to be judged and criticized.
Q. Has the single met your expectations?
A. I am very happy with what I have done with my single. I get lots of people telling me that they really enjoy it, they listen to it every day. It started their morning or [they say] when I am down, I listen to it. And that for me is what really counts. If I am touching somebody out there with my music, I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, which is making music that people can relate to, that people can listen to and enjoy. Just great music altogether.
I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed that I continue to grow when it comes to my singles (she has released three so far) and that they continue to progress and get higher and hopefully make Billboard charts and get nominations and all that good stuff.
Q. You were known for your power ballads on the show. How would you describe your sound now?
A. I love big music, I love big songs. I like songs that will show range and show me and how big my voice is. But as an artist, you definitely have to go outside your comfort zone, you have to go outside your box of what you are used to and try new things. I don't have a set sound...I am definitely working hard to put some great music out there for everybody to listen to because I have put my heart and soul onto these songs. I just want everybody to enjoy them.
Q. Your debut album is on its way?
A. I am very excited. It's called "Truly." There are some big songs on there that I want everyone to hear. There is also some music that will get you up and moving. There is definitely dance music. There should be something on there that everybody is going to enjoy.
Q. Do you have any advice for singers looking to break into the business?
A. Keep your head up and if it's something that you truly love, don't give up on it. Many times during my life, I thought to myself, 'I don't think this is going to work for me. I should stop doing this and just stick my head in the books.' But this was something that I truly loved so I kept my mind to it. I had the support of my friends and family behind me and continued to push.
There are lots of classes to try and perfect your art, to perfect your craft, perfect what you do. Try to be the best at what you do.
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