“The Best Place to be in the Whole Wide World”
October 5, 2022
“It’s amazing to be able to give someone the opportunity to make the art that they have inside them.”
IDEATE site specialist and musician/producer Josh Meakim is talking about his collaborations with Melvin Goldstein, an IDEATE participant and a South Philadelphia-based rapper with 25 years of musical experience. Melvin and Josh have been working together for four years.
In that time, Melvin has established himself as a local musician of note under the name MelGeezy. He’s made four albums over the last three years. His music is currently available on sites such as Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp, and his songs have been streamed over 24,000 times. He even had one track gain popularity on TikTok in China. He also manufactures his own t-shirts and albums and sells them online and in his community.
Melvin says that when he and Josh began working together, “we just started making hits from there, making good music. And we started making so much good music that we got people’s attention on the internet.” He further explained, “we have great chemistry. He understands my concerns. He understands when I’m not happy. He brings me back into it when I come to his studio. It’s the best place to be in the whole wide world.”
Josh notes that he can tell how much Melvin has changed during their time together. “I like to think that there’s an increase in the value that people have in themselves after they work with us at IDEATE for a while. Melvin’s grown more confident. His ability as an artist has grown quite a bit. And he teaches me a lot too. He is a voracious listener of music. He’s always bringing in new stuff that I’ve never heard.”
Melvin and Josh often build the music with keyboards and drum machines. Instead of sampling pre-existing songs, they’ll devise something new inspired by a classic by Marvin Gaye, for example. Through this process, Melvin has developed skills working with different instruments and other tools of a recording studio. When it comes to lyrics, Melvin often raps freestyle, meaning he improvises at the microphone.
“Melvin always knows what he wants. He’ll comes to me with a song and say, ‘I love this beat.’ I just try to find a way to capture the energy of the thing that he likes, and then create a new piece of music. We like to do that together and try to find opportunities to learn things in the process, like how to operate a piece of gear. And now he’s programming drum machines and using a modular synthesizer. It’s great. He’s getting an opportunity that normally wouldn’t be available to him,” Josh says.
There is no doubt in Melvin’s mind that IDEATE and RHD have had a positive effect on his life. “They motivate me. Thanks to IDEATE, I’ve learned how to be more open to people. I have an easier time saying how I feel and being relaxed. I’m also in a better state of mind because of the staff at my group home and my family.”
“Be grateful of what your situation is,” Melvin advises. “Don’t look at other people’s situation and say they can’t make it either. Because when one person is making it, we all made it. “
To learn more about Melvin, click the video below.