Melanie Amaro rose to fame as a contestant on the first season of The X-Factor USA. At age 19, the British Virgin Islands native won the competition, which included a $5 million recording contract with Epic Records and a spot in a Pepsi commercial during Super Bowl XLVI. While it all seemed like a dream-come-true, it ultimately was a beautiful nightmare.
Shortly after winning X-Factor, Amaro released “Don’t Fail Me Now” as the first single from her debut album, Truly. Unfortunately, the single didn’t take off as expected. Subsequently, Amaro released a few other singles that also failed to make impact on the charts.
Despite her trials and tribulations, Amaro, who is now an independent artist, has been focused on her career. Her new single “Dust” featuring Fabolous is out and will appear on her forthcoming EP.
Amaro recently took time to chat with Rated R&B about her experience on X-Factor USA, the downfall of her debut album and details on her as-of-yet titled EP.
RATED R&B: You’re known for winning the first season of X Factor USA. What was your biggest takeaway from being on the show?
MELANIE: You’re going to have your down moments and you’re going to have your great moments. I also learned a ton from Simon [Cowell], L.A. [Reid], Paula [Abdul], Nicole [Scherzinger] and honestly all the other contestants. I definitely walked away with lots of friendships, lots of good advice and definitely things to help me in the industry.
RATED R&B: What was that one piece of advice that really stuck to you that you still continue to think about this day?
MELANIE: Stay true to yourself. I remember Paula told me that and it stuck with me ever since she said it to me. She said, “Stay true to yourself. Know who you are and don’t let anybody change who you are.”
RATED R&B: You released a few singles but your debut album “Truly” was came out. What happened to that project?
MELANIE: Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with me. That was completely out of my hands. It was something with the label and whatnot.
RATED R&B: Who are you as an artist?
MELANIE: I’m still trying to figure out myself as an artist. I have bits and pieces of who I am and where I want to go, where I want to be and what I want to do with my music, but other parts of it I’m still trying to figure out.
RATED R&B: Your new single “Dust” featuring Fabolous is out now. Tell us about that record.
MELANIE: The record is definitely something I can relate to. It was like this song was written for me because I’ve been in that situation so many times. The person I was with started to treat me as if I wasn’t there. I was dust. After talking to so many people before I released the record, I knew that almost every person out there would be able to relate to the song. The record just came about out of natural feelings and everything that everyone’s been through.
RATED R&B: Tell us about the direction of your EP.
MELANIE: The EP should be out pretty soon. It’s definitely a mix of music that I enjoy. I’m actually staying true to myself and actually singing on my records. There will be some turn-up records. There will be some records about heartbreak, pain and happiness and enjoying life. I’m thinking more of a direction in R&B/urban/pop.
RATED R&B: Who you working with on EP?
MELANIE: I’m going to be working with a group called Element. They’re awesome. They’ve been working with me on a couple of records. I’ve also been working with a guy who [has produced] some work for Nicki Minaj and lots of other people.
RATED R&B: What do you hope people take away from the EP?
MELANIE: That no matter what, nobody can take your dream away from you. Even though you may have some setbacks and things may take some time, that if you put your mind to it and work really hard and get a solid team together, you can achieve anything. Don’t let the trip-ups stop you from doing what you want to do. I definitely had a couple of trip-ups and couple of blocks in the road but through God and all the help of those people that have been here for me and been helping me…I kind of powered through those roadblocks and kept pushing. I want my fans to take away that I’m out here making good music.