MACEDO is made up of sisters Michelle and Melissa and they just released their latest album Ghost Town, and it follows the themes of loneliness and isolation but still finding your way.
How did you first get started in music?
We come from a very musical family. Our dad introduced us to music in every genre imaginable. Our childhood was filled with everything from Sam Cooke and Otis Redding to Debussy to The Beatles. Our maternal grandmother played piano and our Dad plays as well. We both grew up playing piano and some violin. Michelle started playing guitar when she was about 11 years old and has been playing ever since. Today, Michelle plays the piano in the band and we both sing. We have sung together for as long as we can remember. We were always harmonizing and writing songs together. We grew up hitting up the local music scene and started to play live around L.A. when we were 16. We had so much fun writing songs and singing, we both knew we wanted to pursue it.
Why did you decide to pursue music as a career?
It was just something we were both born knowing. We used to be so shy and Melissa and I were bullied a lot as kids. We looked different than other people at the predominately white schools we attended. That really formed a huge part of our identity. We remember at first being so shy that we would barely speak to people. Because of that Michelle started writing poetry. It was only until we became about 10 that we started putting my poetry together with the music we were composing. Melissa and I started writing songs together in 6th grade and would harmonize and put together girl groups within our friend groups but we started recording on a cassette tape recorder (haha!) and writing as much as possible. We truly loved storytelling.
We feel like the songwriting process is like alchemy, turning pain into something beautiful and honest. Melissa will see me experiencing a relationship and she will get an idea about a song and then we can finish it together. Michelle has always written poetry as a way of expressing herself and so experiences naturally come out in words. It’s very therapeutic and cathartic. As sisters and as musicians, we are so deeply connected that one of us will supply what the other one needs . That is just a part of who we are, our relationship is integral to our art.
What are some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been staying true to our vision. Everyone else has an opinion about what we should be or do. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to really figure out what it is that you want and then stick with your vision. This album is about putting out what we want and representing our true selves. I think we are still overcoming them by taking it a day at a time.
Tell me about your new album Ghost Town, the inspiration behind it and the making of it.
“Ghost Town” emerged from a really difficult time. I (Michelle) had just ended a very long relationship & was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It’s a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our past. This album is a reflection of memories that became a part of our identity. In essence, how we’re each being haunted, in good and bad ways. It was a very raw experience to write, there was no holding back.
Michelle, I read that you struggle with anxiety and depression, what’s your advice for girls dealing with the same thing?
Yes, we both struggle with anxiety and depression and it can feel very crippling especially as an artist. It is interesting that we chose careers in which we need to be emotionally tuned in and connected. I think the most important thing to remember is to be patient with yourself and to incorporate a lot of self care into your daily ritual, sometimes we can be our own worst critics, so be aware of how you talk to yourself, and practice compassion with yourself. Rituals like meditation and exercise have been extremely helpful for my mental health. It is something that I constantly check in on, finding a good therapist can be really helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s out there, you’re not alone.
What’s your best advice to young women who want to be musicians?
I think most importantly, it’s to keep going, believe in yourself, and not to pay attention to the naysayers who are operating out of fear. Always make decisions out of a place of love and be kind to yourself and others.