How To Be… A Singer: Melat

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Ethiopian-American Singer (and previous Hair Story gal on our site) Mélat talks music, staying inspired in a world full of criticism, and how dying her hair helped bring her out of her shell.


Name: Mélat

Location: Austin, Texas

Profession: Songstress (Singer/Songwriter)


How did you get started?


I had always wanted to sing but never really knew how to pursue it. When I met my music partner, Pha. He convinced me to sing for him and helped me believe in my gift. Before then I never really had the confidence to show anyone my voice. I haven’t stopped singing since.

What’s an average day like?

I wake up to my phone and take a quick look at what’s on social media. Then hop onto the computer and get some work done (interviews, emails, etc…). Take a little break to grab some breakfast with my coffee 😉

I spend a lot of time creating.  At this stage in my career there’s not much help, so I have to be very hands-on with everything. I do my best to take at least 30 minutes a day to watch Hulu or play a video game before heading to dreamland so I don’t get burned out.

Why do you do it?

I do it to help and to inspire. I want to help those in need mentally, emotionally, and/ or socially. I want to inspire those who have lost sight of their purpose to seek it out. I want to help the hardest working person want to keep going when they get tired. When life gets you down, I want to help you remember it’s all good and even if it feels like it’s at its worst, things can only go up from there. The universe will balance out. Music is my gift and I want to share it, not only to build a platform to speak to the world, but to help and uplift.

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Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:

Everything is constantly evolving. Music, fashion, people you know, people you don’t know, social media…everything. So it’s really easy to feel like you’re on top one day, doing all the things you’ve imagined and then like you aren’t shit the next. Also, I’ve dealt with confidence issues since I can remember, so especially with things like social media these days, that little demon likes to try and reappear from time to time to hold me back. But I’m so proud and confident in who I am today. From my big blonde curly hair to my music, I defeat my fears and realize a little more of my dream each day.

Your greatest achievement so far?

It has to be connecting with people that I would’ve never known otherwise. I’ve received messages saying that my music saved a life, that it moved people to tears as soon as they heard it, that it’s been a great companion on a road trip and so much more. Those are my greatest achievements.

What might be next for you?

There is so much to look forward to… We’ve got some amazing collaborations with amazing artists on the way. We’ve got shows on shows in places I’ve never performed and, brand-wise, we are expanding everything.  We’ll be raising awareness about the music and the message like crazy coming up in the near future.


What are your top 5 go-to hair tips?

  1. CONDITIONER! If I’ve forgotten products and don’t have time to go grab anything at the store, this is my styling product for the day. I’ll even use it when I have other curl products in. I learned it from my god-sister a long while back and it’s the best, most convenient trick for super soft, curly hair.
  2. Always have hair ties. I keep a pack in my purse and a couple in my pockets. Help a girlfriend out and still have some left over when you need to pull the curls back to change that flat tire.
  3. French braids are your friend. I recently started French braiding my hair while wet after washing and putting in product. After it’s dried, let ‘em loose. The result always gets compliments and it didn’t take anything other than my two hands and some patience. Also be sure to start the braids small and close to the front of your face so when you undo them, the most visible parts of the waves are to the root.
  4. “Ombre Curls” (my made up name for it). After applying product, put your wet hair up with the roots tight and the bun loose to get a more progressive curl pattern, kind of like ombre but with curls. Undo the bun after it’s dried a little and then let down to air dry the rest to get your natural curl patterns.
  5. Use a detangling product! I didn’t believe it until I accidentally bought some product that I love, Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler, and it really works miracles.

Fun Fact: I’ve received hateful messages and lovely messages about this hair. There are so many opinions as to why my hair is the way it is now, and I think this is the perfect place to address it.

I never wore my hair out and curly until this past year. I’d always straighten it or tie it back, at least partially. I was never too concerned about what my hair looked like as long as it looked “normal.” It’s actually been quite the liberating experience to have my hair blonde and curling the way it wants to.

My natural black [hair] is amazing and will always be who I am, but the color for me is more than a trend or fashion statement, it symbolizes me leaving that little shy girl who used to get picked on behind. For so long I tried to hide in the back and be some non-existent version of “normal” that I made up in my head. I did my best to blend in so no one would notice me, so no one would talk about me, pick on me.  Where I grew up, I looked different.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself. From the second I decided to go blonde I realized it was more than just a hair color but it was me forcing myself to step to the front.

I always loved to sing and entertain but would never put myself out there because of fear of what people may say or do. Now with this hair and these curls I can’t hide regardless of how hard I try and that’s ok because I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to stand out and show people my mind and my ideas without fear. I want to express myself and to inspire others to do the same. So here I am today, loving my hair to the fullest. I’m not trying to be anything but myself and my unruly hair helps me be perfect in all my imperfections for the entire world to see.

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Ellen Haile
Ellen Haile

My hair falls between the 4A to 4C category, so I’m always looking for the best manageable styles. I live for big, stretched hair, so I often keep it blow dried and call it a day.

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