Talent on Tap – Melanie Durrant – Bait & Switch Will Catch Your Attention

They say – dynamite comes in small packages. If I needed a better example of that, I found it in Award winning R&B singer, Melanie Durrant. She’s more positively charged than a neutron star and her music encompasses that. Her latest single and video, Bait & Switch was released Oct. 15, 2021 and it’s a reflection on the people you surround yourself with. Are they there to hinder or help? Many times, we don’t know we’re surrounding ourselves with toxic people until the damage is done. Your instinct is to help others but an opportunist’s instinct is to take more and more. This track will get your hands tapping, your feet shuffling and your hips gyrating. It is in good company, since it’s part of an album launch – Where I’m At.


Melanie might only stand 5 feet tall but her music legacy is already a giant.  The track was produced by Mo’Jointz and CedSolo and the “Bait & Switch” video was directed by Toronto talent – The Knemesis. The video is a must watch because of the artful set design, the colours and the great story that unfolds – is visually stunning and flawless.  There is no doubt that Melanie Durrant is in the house and here to stay. Her star has earned her Top 10 charting on CBC’s Weekly Top 20, a feature on Spotify’s New Music Fridays and Apple Music’s Northern R&B.  Durrant has also garnered multiple nominations for her album, ‘Anticipation’ including two R&B Single of the Year nods at the Juno Awards and R&B Artist of the Year nom at the SiriusXM Indie Awards. The album has 4M streams to date, which reflects this artist’s extraordinary talent.  The three-time Juno nominated Durrant is also no stranger to international audiences – taking the stage with Jay Z, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, David Banner, Jill Scott, Common, Sean Paul and Cissy Houston. 


“Everyone has their limits and many people have been in this kind of situation. My goal was to write music people can relate to.” –  Melanie Durrant


Watch Bait & Switch Video: 



With influences like Minnie Ripperton, Aretha Franklin & Marvin Gaye, Durrant knows she has a lot of work to do.  A life journey that continues every day.  Combining her unique writing style, smooth harmonies, and bold sound, Melanie is ready to bring her best and longs for her return to the stage.  


Melanie Durrant was my incredibly charming and energetic guest, that left me wanting more. Images of her laughter, her smile and her style are still running through my mind and I hope it doesn’t stop. She is everything you’ve come to expect from a talented music artist and it’s my great pleasure to share this conversation. Roll the tape!


HNMAG “I absolutely love this track and it sounds like it should be on the radio already. Was it inspired by a real breakup?”

MELANIE “It’s inspired by many bad relationships and not just a man and a woman, or people that treat you badly and expect things from you and they don’t reciprocate. I don’t do things for people to have it reciprocated, but I found that the more I do for someone, the more they expect it. When that happens, it’s time to stop.” 


HNMAG “This track Bait & Switch is Produced by Mo’Jointz and CedSolo. Is this the first time working with the both of them?”

MELANIE “No, not at all. We’ve done a few things together and Mo’Jointz is also my manager. He’s wearing a lot of hats, but we all are… this is Indie. Whatever has to be done we do it, we figure it out; if we can hire other people to do it, we will but if we can’t, we do it ourselves.”


HNMAG “I’ve heard from many artists that it’s important to keep people around you that you can trust. Is it difficult to find good friends you can trust?”

MELANIE “It’s so important, like Drake’s song – No New Friends (laughing). Once you start to become better known, people will figure out a way to use you. It’s better to have just a couple of really true friends that don’t treat you any differently or ask for favours because they feel entitled.”


HNMAG “When you’re working with your producers, how much control do you have over the sound of a new track?”

MELANIE “Every situation is different and everyone has their strong points. Mo actually picked out a lot of music that I ended up using. He’ll find me stuff and ask me if I like it, if it’s my vibe. If it’s similar to other music I’ve done in the past, do I feel inspired by it? I can’t say that I’ve felt inspired by everything, but there was enough for me to do an album. As for this particular song, it started off with me goin… (Melanie hums the melody of Bait & Switch) and then I wrote the song over it. I grabbed one of Mo’s beats and it happened. I knew I wanted to do an entire album but things went a little stagnant after 4 songs in. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I told him about an idea for a song I had a long time ago that I never used. I changed it up quite a bit, but I kept the (humming the melody). I didn’t expect it to be the driving force of the song, but many times I don’t have the luxury/privilege of working with a live musician. In the past, I’ve worked with producers that have used samples and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m very musical and I have an idea of where I want the music to go, so I’ll usually support it with my vocals – which is why there’s vocals everywhere. CedSolo is such an amazing musician; he was like, ‘can you save an instrument for somebody else please’(laughing).”           


HNMAG “Have you taken music lessons when you were younger?”

MELANIE “I did, when I was younger, I lived with my babysitter and all the other kids would practice piano every morning, at lunch and every afternoon. I went over to the piano and I started playing what the other kid was playing. The other kid had been taking lessons for years, so my babysitter told my mom to put me in lessons. I was already playing it but I was playing it with my ears. I tried to fake my way through lessons until my instructor asked me to start the song from a place other than the beginning. I started from the beginning and said, ‘I will get to that part’ (laughing). I found out years later that Oscar Peterson plays like that. If you can communicate through your hands because you know your instrument that well, amen to you. I can do that with my voice, but I still don’t read music – however, I can still hear what’s going on.”


HNMAG “You have an extraordinary voice. Did you take voice lessons when you were younger?”

MELANIE “Number 1, my mom is a singer… and she started singing to me since I can remember. I carried that on from the very beginning and have always sang, starting in kindergarten – singing for show and tell (laughing).”


HNMAG “That must be such a confidence builder. Have you always had it?”

MELANIE “I’m naturally a very shy person, so no – I can’t always say that I had the confidence. I could always sing in front of people but I still had a hard time with the back and forth. Talking to people scared the hell out of me… but my mom would try to fix it by taking me to Tim Hortons and telling me to ask the lady, what kind of donut I wanted (laughing). I was crying and crying… but my mom would repeat, ‘if you want a donut, tell the lady what kind.’ She was laughing and telling me I didn’t need to cry, that it was okay.”     


HNMAG “Do you like to write your lyrics from true life experiences?

MELANIE “For the most part, yes. If it’s something I’ve experienced, I will elaborate on it. Sometimes it’s experiences that other people have gone through, such as friends or girlfriends. I’d never put their personal stuff on blast, but I can reference and piece together a story from our combined knowledge and experiences.”


HNMAG “Have you ever written about a true event or something personal in your life that you celebrated?”    

MELANIE “One of the first songs I did was with Harpoon Missile and Dru from In Essence. The part that I wrote on the track was about my daughter – about how much I love her and how much she means to me.”


Melanie is a very loving mother and we talked parenting for a short time, reflecting on both our own children’s early years – the bonds you form, reading them bedtime stories… once you become a parent, it can define you. Melanie chuckled, when she told me she liked to do impressions when reading her daughter stories. Magical moments from a parents memory.   

HNMAG “Your video was absolutely incredible. It was directed by fellow Torontonian, The Knemesis. I loved the bright colours and the colourful wardrobe. Did you both collaborate on the set design or storyline together?”

MELANIE “No, which is why I went to Knemesis because I was wearing too many hats. The last video I directed was so much work – I felt like my head was going to explode. I was doing set dec, doing styling, I was doing hair and then I had the nerve to try to do craft-services. My car was filled to the top and nobody could help me because I had an itemized list. I’m used to touring with my mom, so I’m a very good packer and everything needs to fit a certain way. Knemesis was so great and his turnover time was amazing. Throughout it all… his demeanor, his energy and the kindness he exudes – beyond his talent, there is this extremely genuine and real person. He had people around him, that were exactly the same way. I was like, where did you find these people, where are you all from – I’m moving in (laughing).”       


HNMAG “This is your first time working with Knemesis?”

MELANIE “Yes, and it won’t be the last… just this last Thursday, we shot another one, for a song called – High on Love.”


HNMAG “Is it about resurrecting love?”

MELANIE “Not necessarily… it’s about being into somebody so much, that your endorphins are on fire, you’re so high on love and you feel so good in their presence.”


HNMAG “Do you often put positive messages in your songs?”

MELANIE “I never really thought about it, but I’ve tried to ensure that I’m not swearing or cursing, at least in the past. I did say sh!t in this song (laughing) but I never do or say anything that would embarrass me or that I’d have to explain to my mom or my daughter. If I prefer my daughter not to do it, then I have to lead by example.”              


HNMAG “Where can people find Bait & Switch?”

MELANIE “It’s available on all major music platforms; Spotify, Apple, Amazon, but you can avoid all that and go directly to https://melaniedurrant.com. All the links are there and you can view all the videos. There’s 9 songs on the album and you can buy it from the website.“ 


HNMAG “Is there anyone on your bucket list that you would dream of collaborating with?”

MELANIE “Bruno Mars! I love him, he’s so eclectic and he has a background in doing musician impressions, including Elvis. My mom and I also have a background in doing that. We’d perform Donna Summers, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and the Supremes, as well as Gladys Knight and Whitney Houston. My mom would sing lead and I’d sing backup on the show. I’m from a musical family, he’s from a musical family and I feel like he doesn’t box himself in. He’s so eclectic and does a variety of things within his own genre – that we would be a great match up.”


HNMAG “You’ve won awards for your music. What did it feel like the first time you accepted an award?”

MELANIE “I felt like I was seen… that they saw me and it was pretty emotional because I’m shy. As an entertainer, you want to be seen and you want people to hear your music, to enjoy it and relate to it. But when I get an award because they love it so much, I go into my feelings and I become overwhelmed. I’m very happy but also a little sad because it’s taken so long to be seen. I am very honoured to be recognized with any kind of award.”


HNMAG “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

MELANIE “Still doing music and back on stage. I’ve got a lot of music ideas and it always seems to come before the lyrics. I’ve always been a singer at heart, as well as a creator at heart. I like to manipulate a song and sing it my own way and deliver it my own way within reason. I’ve been a singer all my life and I always thought, when I grow up, someone would be handing me songs. It didn’t happen, so I’ve realized that I have to write these songs myself (laughing). To tell a story seemed like so much pressure, but the more I do it, the better I get at it. This album is called, ‘Where I’m At’.”


Melanie showed me the album cover and it was fabulous. There is an incredible photo of her on the front and back of the cover on a red background. Inside the sleeve is a clear vinyl LP. It is so unique and special; it really embraces Melanie’s journey and celebrates her success with the aesthetics of the stunning album package. I want to order one before they’re all gone, as it’s a limited print.

HNMAG “What’s your biggest fear?”

MELANIE “Worms! (Laughing) When I was a little girl, I ran over one on my tricycle. I was going down a hill and ran over it by accident. After I ran over it, both my back tires started shaking and I got so scared I ran home – I was traumatized. My babysitter would also do gardening and would chase me with worms on a pitchfork. That’s scary – no wonder I’m scared of worms, right? (laughing). Outside of little creatures, my biggest fear is standing on stage and not knowing what I’m going to do.”


From my impression, I don’t see Melanie being short on words or vocals but I know nerves can also paralyze a person. Bruno Mars, if you’re out there reading this, please reach out to Melanie Durrant for your next collaboration – she’ll make you famous! Melanie’s vocals are top shelf, they’re soulful and they are the instrument you can’t do without.




Twitter: @melaniedurrant

Instagram: @melaniedurrant 

Facebook: @melaniedurrantmusic 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Melochew2/videos 

Website: https://melaniedurrant.com/


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