Jamaican teenage pre-med student debuts ‘Kay’

Jamaican singer Mel Mariah. Mel Mariah
Jamaican singer Mel Mariah.
Mel Mariah

Melody Landell-Bailey, aka Mel Mariah, considered a super talented 18-year-old pre-medical student, who was born in New Rochelle to Jamaican parents, Kenneth Bailey and Maria Landell-Bailey, is enjoying musical success with her debut single, “Kay.”

“Kay” was recently added to the playlist of Supa Jamz radio, WLLY 103.7 FM and 99.5HD2 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“I’m happy whenever anybody is moved enough by my work to share it on their platform, but it’s especially exciting to have my song added to Supa Jamz’ playlistK,” Mel told Caribbean Life over the weekend.

“My music will always ultimately be up to the interpretation of the listener, but Supa Jamz has given me the opportunity to share my personal interpretation as well,” she added. “So, I’m very grateful, and I feel that my music is in the right hands.”

According to Tony Turner, the Jamaican-born owner of Images, LLC, an   entertainment promotion company, based in Poughkeepsie, upstate New York, Mel, who is the youngest of four siblings, was raised in Mount Vernon, and spent her pre-collegiate years at Westchester Area school and Northeastern Academy, two private Seventh-Day Adventist schools in New Rochelle and Manhattan, respectively.

“Influenced by the pulsating sounds of reggae, which was a staple at her home growing up, music has become a driving force in her life,” Turner said. “She has also developed a special love for old and contemporary gospel music and hip hop, which she shares with her siblings and friends.”

During her freshman year of high school, Turner said Mel was accepted into her school’s choir.

“This gave her the opportunity to perform classical pieces to audiences across the country and abroad,” he said. “Though she was only there for a short while, she credits the teachings of her choir director, Antonie Brady, for sharpening her musical ear in ways that were helpful in singing and producing.”

In September 2019, a then 17-year-old was accepted at La Sierra University, a private Seventh-Day Adventist school in Riverside, Ca., where she pursues a dual major in biomedical science and music performance, Turner said.

Now, back home in New York, taking online college courses because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Turner said she has used the opportunity to record a few songs on wax.

On Jan. 16, Mel dropped “Kay,” which was written, recorded and self-produced, and is available on all streaming platforms.

“My first priority has always been school, because I’ve always been a bit of an academic at heart, and school gives me the opportunity to learn about new things,” Mel said. “I also have a deep passion and respect for music and how powerful it can be.

“I guess you can say I’d like to use school to learn and music to teach what I’ve learned” she added.

When time allows, Mel said she continues to write and produce new tracks that she hopes will take her musical career to the next level.

Asked about an artist she would be excited to collaborate with, Mel identified Steve Lacy, stating that he is “an artist who produces his own music and who has produced music for other very popular artists in such a way that it’s perfect for both their image and his.

“I’d love to work with someone who is that versatile and self-sufficient,” she said.

More from Around NYC