By Solby Lim GLAAD.org | September 23, 2021
On September 21, artist Mel Lennon released his debut EP titled, OVERthinking out LOUD across music streaming platforms. Lennon is a rapper, producer, and singer-songwriter, having released the singles “iSLANDhoppin” and “Night Ends” in 2021 and collaborated with other LGBTQ+ artists. A genre-bending artist, Lennon weaves together elements of pop and lyric-focused hip-hop in his first album.
Mel Lennon participated in a GLAAD Media Institute course in Atlanta in 2018, and has been applying the skills of identifying his target audience, reaching the movable middle, and keeping messaging centered on his objectives. He’s been using his music and art to speak out for LGBTQ people, even as he works to make a name for himself. He shared a video with GLAAD, encouraging his fellow LGBTQ Americans (and Georgians) to vote during the 2020 election cycle.
OVERthinking out LOUD features 8 songs: “WERK,” “BreakUpWithYou,” “The Make Up Song,” “OVERthinking out LOUD,” “It Ain’t Over (Interlude),” UNDERSTAND ME HUH.” “MOVES,” and “iSLANDhoppin – EP Version.” Lennon released a music video for “WERK” in anticipation of his EP on September 6, which was also self-directed and produced.
Lennon flexes his multi-dimensional talents as a rapper, actor, and dancer getting down to business in his official music video for “WERK”:
GLAAD had the opportunity to chat with the rising artist about staying true to himself and his creative choices in his exciting debut.
1. Congratulations on your debut EP release! How are you feeling about your successful release and what led you to creating OVERthinking out LOUD?
Haha! Thank you so much for calling it a successful release! Also that statement is the perfect segue to answering your question. I am a pro at second guessing myself and minimizing myself for others especially when I feel like I’m not at the measure of success I think I ought to be in order to be rightfully self confident. I also made OVERthinking out LOUD when I was first getting into my first relationship EVER and being with someone else can make you really look at and examine yourself and your insecurities and I would voice them constantly and I had to look at myself and ask why and what that was actually doing for myself. If you travel through the EP (in order) you kind of witness the growth of a more confident and self assured man. I have been making music since I was 6 and so to still not be further along in my career as I have hoped all these years of course takes a toll, but in the end, minimizing and doubting ourselves serves no greater purpose and when we check that, we can grow and keep growing into our best selves.
2. How has it been important for you to use your art and music platforms to speak out for LGBTQ people?
My ultimate goal in making music was always to find those out there who felt like I felt, which is that there were no pop songs that talked about how I was feeling. All the complicated feelings. Being LGBTQ makes them even MORE complicated as a world sends a message of hate to you constantly. Family members. Countries! Religions! It’s all so overwhelming and music is such a beautiful, therapeutic blessing and I felt that first and foremost that’s what my music should be for queer, especially queer black kids. But also there’s messages for allies and those who aren’t sure about being an ally. There’s nothing to be not sure about. We are human! We go through the same stuff everyone else does! Denying us empathy and human rights is more than wrong, it’s inhumane, and damnit I’m gonna talk about it.
3. Your album is entirely self-produced, and your music videos feature you not just as a musical artist but also as an actor and dancer. What does your EP reflect about you as an artist, and what do you hope listeners will take away from your debut album?
I really want to be like a Timbaland. Not just a super producer and songwriter (and hitmaker) for others, but also I want to create whole albums and worlds for people and I just wanted to show that I could do that so I can start getting some clients girl. I need to eat and did I mention about my first relationship EVER earlier? We need his and his Tesla’s. But also I want people to hear and see me as a solo artist. And as far as the other passions; I kind of see myself as a Donald Glover. I have SO many TV show and film ideas and have been acting and dancing since middle school and want to show, perfect and present those sides of me as well. — I’ve always felt that perhaps I should hide in the back and prop others up and that hopefully through that maybe they’ll give back, but also F that. I want to make space for myself and be an inspiration for each and every one of us to also make space for our fully realized selves. Period.