Arts, Arts Features

Piperis Finds a Way to Stand Out Through Her Songwriting

Melina Piperis is shaped by a deep love of music. 

The youngest of four in her artistic family, Piperis said she found a way to stand out through poetic expression in her songwriting. 

“Being an artist is about finding the best way you can communicate your perspective and your emotions,” Piperis, MCAS ’26, said. “And I think everyone has the ability to do that in their own way. For me, it was songwriting and music.”   

Piperis released her first song, “Amethyst,” on Nov. 17 and is on track to release her five-track EP this spring. 

“This particular song is more of a stream-of-consciousness style of writing, so there is not a strict chorus and bridge and stuff,” Piperis said. “It’s kind of just rambling in a way which I really like because I think it’s accurate of my reaction to the story that I’m telling.”

The unorganized structure of “Amethyst,” the title track of the EP, emphasizes the storytelling within her lyrics. Piperis said the song captures how she became better acquainted with herself through meeting new people. The music is uplifting and her soft vocals build throughout the song, likely making listeners want to hear the rest of the story. 

Piperis said she grew up in a musical household in Omaha, Neb. Omaha influenced her musical upbringing, as Piperis said it is the former indie music capital of the world. 

“It’s just generally a very supportive city for local music and art, which definitely impacted me pursuing it in the first place,” Piperis said. 

Piperis said both of her parents played piano and placed an emphasis on their children becoming involved in the musical world. She mentioned that her first musical experience was when she began learning piano at 5 years old. From there, she pursued dance until she was 12 years old and tried something new: classical vocal training. 

Piperis said she took singing lessons with Anne Marie Kenny, a classical vocal coach who was familiar with her family because she taught Piperis’ brother. Piperis said Kenny quickly became a source of inspiration and support in her life. 

“She taught me everything I know about singing, but she also has taught me so much in terms of just passion for the arts, and, you know, incorporating that into every part of your life,” Piperis said. 

Piperis said when she began writing original songs at the age of 15, Kenny was the first person to hear any demos. 

“I have been teaching for over 20 years, and all kinds of singers, including singer-songwriters who bring me their stuff,” Kenny said. “Melina’s stands out because [of] her lyrics.”

Piperis said she grew up listening to Greek music but was introduced to another world of music when her older brother bought her The Beatles’ White Album on vinyl one Christmas. Piperis said she was inspired by the band’s storytelling and songwriting.

“I remember hearing [the White Album] for the first time,” Piperis said. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is crazy.’ And it was a whole other kind of music. I had never heard such unfiltered lyrics and storytelling before.”

Piperis said she attempted to bring this element of raw storytelling to her own music when she began writing her EP in high school.

“Honestly, I think the songs I’ve heard of hers could stand alone as poetry,” Kenny said.

Piperis and Kenny both remarked on the vulnerability of songwriting, giving listeners a glimpse into her life. Piperis said the songs on her EP center around the themes of coming of age and getting to know yourself through relationships with other people. 

The lyrics, which are the heart of Piperis’ records, often came first in the production of her music, she said. Piperis said she would bring her lyrics, often accompanied by an acoustic guitar, into the studio of her producer, Ben Brodin. 

“I’ve made a lot of … artists’ first records and they’re usually, you know, still finding their footing,” Brodin said. “I think, in contrast to that, Melina had a more specific aesthetic in mind for her songs. And she’s quite a confident singer, as well.”

Brodin said he produced Piperis’ older brother’s albums, so he was familiar with Piperis when she reached out to him to record her first EP. They recorded over the course of a week in his home studio. Piperis said Brodin was a large influence on her sound as he recorded all of the instruments on her track. 

“The recording process, it just, like, just brought so much new life into these songs, and I feel much more connected to them now,” Piperis said. 

According to Piperis, Brodin said two things that stuck with her and impacted the way she looks at her music. The first emphasized the importance of balancing fun and professionalism when recording music. 

“The first day he said that we want to have fun and this is gonna be a fun process, but there is nothing more serious than bringing art into existence,” Piperis said. “He talks about how it’s a very serious thing to create art and just remembering the fact that you’re immortalizing yourself through that.”

The second, Piperis said, influenced the way in which she experiences her own music and views the release of her songs to listeners. Brodin told her in the recording studio that she must only think about her music and not the reactions. Brodin said that if she only pays attention to how the music is received, she is no longer making art but a product.

Piperis said she already feels like the EP is a success because of how proud she is of it. 

“I made it, I’m proud of it, and it’s already a success,” Piperis said. “And that’s not going to be defined by whatever happens after I release it because I already made something I’m proud of and that is more than enough for me.”

November 27, 2023