Jay Mel
Gig Seeker Pro

Jay Mel

Youngstown, Ohio, United States | SELF

Youngstown, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop




"Local singer uses his talent to support troops"

By Jon Moffett

The hip-hop artist made a music video at a Youngstown church.

YOUNGSTOWN — You don’t have to support the war in Iraq to support the soldiers fighting. That’s the message in the latest song by local hip-hop artist Jason Melidona, known by fans and peers as Jay Mel.

The song is called “This Letter” and is an unbiased view of the war in Iraq from the perspective of a soldier, Melidona said. The song was inspired by conversations with his friend who fought in Iraq, he noted.

“One of my best friends was in Iraq,” Melidona said. “When he got back home he just sat down and laid everything out. He just explained to me everything.”

The 24-year-old Niles native helped transform the Trinity United Methodist Church on Front Street into a Hollywood-esque video shoot. Melidona, along with manager David O’Connor, are working on a music video for the song.

Steve Sparling, pastor of Trinity church, acknowledged that he gave the group permission because of the values and message of the song.

“I listened to the lyrics first, just to make sure everything was alright, and they were good,” the Rev. Mr. Sparling said. “They had good values in them, and it had a good message to it. We might have as many different opinions within the church on what we ought to do or ought not to do, or where we ought to be and not ought to be, but the thing is we want to be with and for the people who are there.”

O’Connor added that Melidona’s message is to challenge the public to show support for “those men and women fighting for our own freedom.”

“We’re trying to send a message to the public and to our troops that what they do is appreciated,” O’Connor said. “[The song] is nonbiased, so Jason is not saying he’s for the war or against the war. We’re not taking a stance; we’re just trying to show the soldiers’ perspective and send a message to everybody that they need to appreciate what the soldiers do for our country.”

Melidona (2003) and O’Connor (’02) both graduated from Howland High School.

Melidona said he’s been interested in hip-hop and the music industry since he was little. Some of his favorite artists include Ludacris, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne. Although these artists have had an impact on his life, Melidona credits his parents for “keeping him on the straight and narrow.”

Melidona and O’Connor said various recording labels have expressed an interest in Jay Mel. Melidona said a “large fan base” is one thing the labels look for when signing clients.

Melidona hopes the video will be ready in the coming months and would be featured on his Web site. For more information on Jay Mel, visit jaymel.com. - The Youngstown Vindicator


Sound Vision EP
Who Is Jay Mel Free Download



Jay Mel isn’t afraid to take risks.

The Youngstown, OH rapper bends, breaks, and burns the rules every time he steps into the vocal booth or on stage. With songs like “In and Out”, he slides infectious pop hooks over cleverly catchy verses. His refrains are radio-ready while his raps possess an undeniable grit and gusto. Instead of resorting to the same tired vernacular, he makes a conscious effort not to cuss. Rather than penning more jams about partying, his son serves as his biggest musical inspiration. Now, audiences worldwide are going to have his name bumping in and out of their speakers.

Even though he began rapping at 15, Jay officially embraced his gift in 2010. A local radio station, Jamz 101.9, held a contest for “Best Local Rapper”. Jay submitted a blazing cut called “Envy” and won by a landslide. As his prize for winning, the station flew him to New York for a meeting with Island Def Jam. That meeting quickly inspired the creation of his first official mixtape Who Is Jay Mel? The mixtape caught a flurry of local attention due to fresh, fiery sound that wasn’t exactly pop or hip hop—it was simply Jay Mel.

Jay describes that style best. "I want to make chilled-out, good time music,” he says. “I try to write memorable hooks, while adding a little more grime to the verses. Pop hip-hop is the most casual way to present it."

His pop hip-hop hybrid comes to life during “In and Out” from Who Is Jay Mel? The track rises with sharp, slick quips before snapping into a massive chorus. One original song, “She Won’t Leave Me”, functions as his “song for the ladies”, and it’ll make more than a few girls fall in love. Meanwhile, “Live It Up” is something of a declaration of fun for Jay with its sunny, carefree bounce. "When I found the beat, I wrote the song in an hour,” he reveals. “It's something people can get into and feel that they're a part of. Once it starts, it keeps you going."

Jay keeps going too. Rather than relying on one producer, he scours the Internet for different beats and producers in order to create a different track every time. Also, when he’s looking for inspiration, he doesn’t have to look any farther than his family. He goes on, “My son is my direction in terms of what I’m doing with my life and what my music leans towards. I make music we can both be proud of together.”

Armed with his mixtape in Spring 2010, he began booking local shows all over his home state, carving out a fervent fan base because of his incendiary and unpredictable performances. He’s shared the stage with B.o.B in addition to other national acts. He also built a memorable performance style. "I like to interact and entertain. The interaction with people is what I love the most.”

Ultimately, Jay is going to interact in a big way once his forthcoming debut drops. He’s never going to cease evolving and challenging the status quo either. He concludes, “I have my fun, party side. I have my struggle side. I would just love for fans to relate. I’d love to see the music change their attitude or feeling. Most of all, I’d love for people to be able to listen to a song and pull something from it that applies to their own lives.”

So, after all is said and done, Who Is Jay Mel? He’s your new favorite rapper…—Rick Florino