Burlesque star reveals the goods on new album
Life is pretty sweet right now for burlesque star and singer Melody Sweets. She has a starring role in one of Las Vegas’ hottest shows, Absinthe at Caesars Palace, and she’s just dropped her debut album, Burlesque in the Black. Sweets, whose singing idols include Billie Holiday and burlesque star Dirty Martini, recently donated proceeds from her album release party to Las Vegas’ Burlesque Hall of Fame museum. To find out more about the raven-haired beauty, Kiko Miyasato sat down with Sweets as she gave us a peek inside her world.
Q: Congratulations on your new album. Fill us in on it.
A: It’s called Burlesque in the Black. “In the black” means to turn a profit, and I called it that because burlesque fell into my lap; people kept booking me and I ended up doing it as a full-time career. I never thought it would take me where I am now… So, this album is a compilation of songs for the stage; each song has a story to it, a burlesque act. Each song has been written with a different theme or sound in mind. There’s a common thread, but one has more country musicians, one is more digital sounding… It was fun for me because I got to work with all different types of musicians.
Q: How involved were you in the production of the album?
A: I co-wrote most of the songs with drummer Mike Williams. Then we brought in other musicians. Most of the time the band we brought in was my band, The Candy Shop Boys; they’re also based out of New York.
Q: Any particular song that you hold dear?
A: That’s a tough one! I’m so attached to all of them. But I’ll say I’m excited about “Up All Night.” It’s one of the later songs that we did and I was able to get in the Dap-Kings horn section—they were Amy Winehouse’s band. I think it’s a little more raw and organic than some of the other songs that have a lot of electronic stuff going on. This song is in-your-face.
Q: Are you incorporating more songs from your album into Absinthe?
A: All three songs I sing in Absinthe right now are on my album. I think in a couple months I might be putting in “Up All Night” and switching my middle song out, which is “Voodoo.” We’ll see how it goes!
Q: Why have you chosen burlesque as one of your art forms?
A: Originally I just did it for fun. But with burlesque, I can create from the ground up—I can create the concept and costumes; I can hire dancers and make a whole scene and that’s what really drew me in, that I can play all these different characters and wear all this sparkling glitter!
Q: Why do you think it’s important to keep museums like Vegas’ Burlesque Hall of Fame open?
A: It’s empowering for women that other women can see that these women were not afraid of their bodies. They’re not afraid of who they are and they are not afraid to put on a show—they’re showgirls. I’d like to keep the art form going because these women really put themselves out there and exposed themselves, so to speak, and I think it’s empowering.