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Melody Thornton

Melody Thornton has quite the growing CV.

Ever since rising to superstardom as one-sixth of the girl group The Pussycat Dolls in 2005, Thornton has been enjoying life in the fast lane. With chart-topping hits like Don’t Cha, Buttons, and Stickwitu, the group would bag themselves a Grammy Award nomination, sell out back-to-back world tours, and shift over 50 million records globally, making them one of the most successful girl groups in history. Since parting ways from Pussycat Dolls [PCD] in 2010, Thornton has embarked on a solo career as an independent artist, releasing a mixtape, P.O.Y.B.L, in 2012 and an EP, Lioness Eyes, in 2020. Her talents as a singer would continue to be showcased on high-profile shows such as  Popstar to Operastar and The Masked Singer Australia, which she won last year. In 2017, Thornton starred in the musical adaption of The Bodyguard in China, portraying the main role of Rachel Marron. Six years later, she is reprising the same role. This time, however, she’s taking the production across the UK and Ireland, where she is currently performing in theatres up and down the country.

In our exclusive interview with the entertainer, 1883’s Fabio Magnocavallo met up with Thornton on the set of the photoshoot to discuss The Bodyguard, her PCD days, and where she hopes to take her solo music next.

 

Wearing: Dress by Silvia Astore // Earrings by Club L // Shoes by Ego

 

You have recently been in rehearsals, preparing to reprise the role of Rachel Marron in the musical for The Bodyguard. How has that been?

It’s been good! I want it to be a different experience this time. I did the show in China in 2017 and the crowd was different, the environment was different. And there’s so many technical things, like the pollution in general and what that does to you. I was getting my hair done and the hairspray made me feel conscious of all those things. I think it’s gonna be a big sing but but I’m happy and excited about it.

 

How different is the China version to the one you will be taking across the UK?

There are little differences I think in every production. They’ve done a lot of productions. I think that I’m lucky to have a lot of the same people that were there from the very, very beginning. So Frank Thompson who directed, and a woman called Thea who I never met and Karen. It’s just like a family of people who’ve been together since I wanna say about 2012. So coming in kind of later in the game, my experience is my experience. It’s different, but I just know what I want to achieve myself. I want it to be as inspiring and as seamless as possible, you know? Since it’s a big sing, you don’t want people to be like, “Oh, she was yelling the whole time.”

 

With there being so many big songs to perform, is there one that is more of a challenge than others?

It’s my favorite song to perform, but I think the one that is the most challenging is “Queen of the Night.” I don’t think people know that side of Whitney, you know? I mean, unless you’re like a Whitney Whitney fan or you’re like a Bodyguard fan, that was very different from her as a ballader. Of course, all of the ballads are hard, but it’s fun. It’s a good challenge, something that I need.

 

I know that you’re a massive Whitney stan, therefore, I wanna know, what is your favourite album from her?

I didn’t have enough sense as a child to know that when she came out with I’m Your Baby Tonight, that that was putting her foot down and being like, I wanna work with Babyface, I want to do R&B. You know. So, I think I love that album probably the most. She also started singing differently too with a little bit more attitude in what we know her best for. She was a Leo, so it’s not like she was a complete pushover, you know? But, of course, also The Bodyguard soundtrack. I think that’s like the bible of soundtracks.

 

Wearing: Dress by Silvia Astore // Earrings by Ateliersó // Shoes by House of CB

 

Wearing: Dress by Nadine Merabi // Earrings by Hoops and Chains // Shoes by Lamara 

 

As a solo artist, you have released two projects independently. Firstly, in 2010, you put out a mixtape titled P.O.Y.B.L, and then an EP, Lioness Eyes, in 2020. What was it like going down the independent route after being used to such a big machine?

I think it was scary at first because I felt like I was dropping down a lot. But, I think people who respect an artists will understand and it’s true. It has been probably the best thing for me. I always kind of knew what the industry saw me as, and I didn’t see myself that way. I knew I wasn’t gonna get any support releasing music. I mean, I would’ve loved it, but I think it would’ve had to have been something completely different, which I don’t know that I would be, but nobody wants to waste their life.

 

You transitioned from a member of the Pussycat Dolls to a solo artist right after you all parted ways in 2010. Was that always the plan for you?

I think that the entire time I was in the group, my focus was the label, not the group. I grew up in athletes, so whatever team you’re on, it’s about winning over and over again as a part of that team. And then you graduate, therefore, nothing to me was unworkable. It was for the moment. My focus was the label. Even though I respect and I’m so grateful for the opportunity, Universal wasn’t the right place for me. I think Sony would’ve been a better place for like a singer, you know? That’s not where I was, so yeah, it was hard. My focus actually was more my mental health after the group because I was like really hanging on. I was really hanging in there the whole time that I was in the group. I think that everything happened the way it was supposed to, which was I needed a break.

 

Since 2010, you have never returned to the group. Did you know when you all went your separate ways that it was the very end for you?

It’s funny, I did. Back then I was, I was like, “Okay, and that’s that.” And then I had friends that were like, “Oh, you shouldn’t say that because you never know.” Now that I’m older, I do say you never know, but I still feel like there was no room for me there ever, you know? I was just kind of like, this train is still moving and it’s as if everyone had a seat and I was standing the whole time like. I still kind of feel that way as if there’s no room for me. There was never any room for me to be there and that’s not a sad thing, it’s just is what it is. Maybe that’s just my perspective, but yeah.

 

Wearing: Jumpsuit by Nadine Merabi // Gloves by Handsome Stockholm //  Earrings by Weekday // Shoes by Ego

 

Wearing: Dress by Silvia Astore // Earrings by Ateliersó // Shoes by House of CB

 

Was it a hard decision choosing not to go ahead with the reunion in 2019?

Yeah, it was hard. That was a hard time because I was open to it. I have no idea what’s gonna happen in the future. All I know is what I’m doing right now, which is The Bodyguard. I’m still a student, I’ll always be a student. And what I wanna be is happy. It’s a tough thing because everything I say about it, it goes the wrong way. I can say peanut butter and jelly, it’s like she said almond butter, you know what I mean? It’s exhausting and I don’t wanna hurt anybody. I’m happy for everybody. Go work, go do your thing.

 

If you had to pick your favourite moment when with the group, what would it be?

I’ve said this before because it’s genuinely my favourite. I don’t drink anymore but I think it was the first time we all went and did something together. We all got dressed up and then we all got drunk and we were running around our hotel in Paris and someone accidentally poked a painting. We had to put paper behind it and use lipstick. It was so much fun, I think somebody’s heel broke off or maybe that was another place. We just raged, it was amazing.

 

Your last solo project came out in 2020. Are you currently working on new material?

I’m always working on new music. I’m wanting to just learn more. There’s no one direction, you know? But I think I do that because I’m Black and I’m Mexican and if there’s someone telling you that have to do something a certain way, then I purposely will do something completely different. I guess the way I look at my music is, I think some people wanna be famous, I would really appreciate if I’m celebrated when I am gone. The death of a great artist now is completely different than it was when I was younger.  I don’t know what’s gonna happen when my physical body goes, but hopefully people will appreciate that this is actually my language, this was my vibe.

 

What direction are you hoping your upcoming music will go into? Do you have a certain vision?

I kind of am always just trying to tell a story and then I try and weave everything together. I like common threads. I hate when it’s a bunch of jumbled up stuff and you’re like, it’s a nice record, but I don’t understand what it’s about. Usher’s Confessions just made so much sense from beginning to end. I hope that being on tour will really help because then I’m in different places all the time. That usually inspires me to write, being in different places, or like hearing a phrase that I don’t hear every day. Being in and amongst different cultures is always helpful.

 

Wearing: Jumpsuit by Nadine Merabi // Gloves by Handsome Stockholm //  Earrings by Weekday // Shoes by Ego
Wearing: Dress by Nadine Merabi // Earrings by Hoops and Chains // Shoes by Lamara

 

You recently won The Masked Singer In Australia. Sum up that whole experience because I’ve spoken to other people who have taken part and I know there’s so much that goes on that nobody else sees.

I think that my musical theater experience was very helpful because I focused on making my costume a character and singing like myself in the way when it’s like it sounded like me the whole time. We always put visual and sonics together and sometimes, some people just have that voice. You hear Christina Aguilera and you know it’s Christina Aguilera. Then there are different people that show you different facets of their voice and you’re like, oh, I didn’t know you could sound like that. I tried not to do that and just make my costume a character. That was really helpful.

 

What influenced you to do the show? Was it because it was an opportunity for viewers to focus on the voice?

That’s exactly what it was. it was great because I didn’t have to wear makeup every day, it was lovely. I don’t wanna give too much away but if anyone is thinking of doing it and wanting to be inspired, do it!

 

Finally, what is something in your career that you haven’t been able to do yet that you hope to achieve in the upcoming years?

I try and always incorporate singing because I feel like that’s the reason why I became a part of the industry. I would act in a film without singing and I would 100 percent would act in a TV show without singing too because acting is really important to me as well. But, I do always try and keep the singing in there because it’s like, I don’t know, sometimes people abandon the thing that makes them special. I don’t want anybody to get confused.

I would like to reach more people as well. I got into that group and I think there’s a part of me that I’m still trying to find again, the fire that I had. I’m getting really close but I think when I get in touch with that spirit more, it’s going to really propel me forward. I think we celebrate artists like Amy Winehouse for just being 100 percent herself. Even if it wasn’t the best sides, you know, I think you have to have the courage to be yourself. There’s so many artists trying to manipulate, then it’s like if you start doing that, you lose yourself. Everybody in music should be honest so that when you’re not here to tell the story, it’s already there.

 

You can buy tickets to watch Melody in The Bodyguard [The Musical] by clicking here. Follow Melody Thornton @melodythornton

 

Interview Fabio Magnocavallo

Photography Jack Alexander

Styling Morgan Hall 

Makeup  Louise Hall using Nars

Hair Sandra Hahnel using Color Wow, GHD, and Gee Hair

Styling assistant Alana Newton

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