Melody Thornton can sing her petite ass off, but you may not have noticed while she shimmied two steps behind her old Pussycat Dolls honcho, Nicole Scherzinger for six years. However, these days the African-Mexican spunkpot is happily autonomous and singing it loud… for everyone to hear. A few days before Mel’s 26th birthday, VIBE gabbed it up to get the word on flying solo, why she’ll never be in another girl group, and those rappers we always catch her with… —Tracy Garraud
VIBE: You were in a group with six other girls and now depend completely on yourself as a solo artist. How does that feel?
Melody Thornton: A lot of people are going through transitional periods right now and I don’t know if it’s something in the universe, [laughs] but it’s good. It’s important for every person on this earth to be self-sufficient. Moving into [the Pussycat Dolls] situation there was no Melody being herself. It was Melody fitting into a mold and a character and that’s what I did. I did it to the best of my ability.
Did you initially want to be in a girl group?
When you come from nothing, you don’t turn down great opportunities. If you’re in the middle of the ocean drowning, praying to God to send you some way to get out and he sends you a tugboat, you can’t necessarily be bummed. You just gotta get on the boat and make it happen. It’s all about getting to the next step.
For me, it’s important for people to know that I do write. I will be writing the majority of what I am singing because it’s important to me for an artist to actually be talking about something that came from them as opposed to being manufactured in that way.
True and it’s even more important for people to know you can really sing. Were you told before joining PCD that there would only be one lead singer?
I got into the group to sing. That was made very clear to me. But it became more and more apparent what was going on. Roles were being minimized and minimized, and then by the time it got on the show, it was very much like ‘Yall play your part and this is what it is.’ It was tough because you don’t want to shit on your own opportunity.
Yeah and you don’t want to be kicked out either.
Right. You don’t want to watch somebody else prevail in a position that could have been yours when it’s important for you to just watch and learn. And I took that from the experience. [My talent] has only been polished. If I had started out at 19, I would have been trying to learn it along the way, as opposed to being able to sit back and watch somebody go through all the struggles because [Nicole Scherzinger] was the lead singer and she took a lot.
Did you ask your label why you couldn’t sing lead as well?