Southside born and raised, she creates hip hop to inspire and encourage youth.
By Katelyn Skye Bennett
To Me’lo the Generation Hero, music is a means of inspiration. This 22 year old hip hop artist from Chicago wants fans to know that “anything is possible.” In fact, that’s the title of her first single, which she dropped earlier this August.
Me’lo stands for Manifesting Elevation Loving Optimistically, though originally it was her way of saying she (me) was from the Southside (lo). Her given name is Demeisha Banks, but she introduces herself as Me’lo and is growing into her role as a recording artist. She’s been performing and growing as an artist for the past handful of years.
“A lot of music that’s on the media is manipulating, and the music is so repetitive with negativity…They getting ‘em in the teen phase and adolescence, and they driving this pharmaseutical drugs, money, sex, women. That’s where I came from as well, but I wanna let them know that there’s another way out,” Me’lo said. To differentiate her content, she calls herself an inspirational hip hop artist.
Back in high school, she used the YOUmedia suite at the Harold Washington Library to place tracks on Soundcloud, since the lab’s recording equipment and craft supplies are free for teens in Chicago. “Anything Is Possible” was engineered by Soundscape Studios, and Mystery Street Recording Company is working on her upcoming EP titled Elevation.
Me’lo recently graduated from a six-month Emcee Skool program run by Phenom, where she and a cohort of ladies were taught about Bronzeville, learned the science behind hip hop and turntables, and learned about the Crips and Bloods collaboration in New York. The program’s goal is to spread peace.
Having dropped out of high school, Me’lo is proud to have finished this emcee program. She is also pursuing a bachelor’s in business and works as a chef. Her life hasn’t been easy — her 16 year old brother was shot and killed in 2017, and she’s spent time living on the streets — but Me’lo has risen above those circumstances and is now working to provide inspirational hip hop for others who need to hear positive messages.
Me’lo’s influences are expansive, from Tupac to Duke Ellington, Queen Latifa to Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye to Shakespeare. She said she likes the soul-funk oldies from the 70’s and hip hop for their sound, she looks up to Jesus “cause he did it to perfection on this earth,” she appreciates Chance the Rapper for his activism, and she loves both her parents.
Though Me’lo previously worked as a passionate activist, she has switched her focus to music. Everyone has a part to play in spreading justice and peace, and her impact comes as a music artist and influencer now. She’s been educated and equipped to do the work and is excited to build her fan base.
Me’lo is down to earth. She is also thoughtful and kind, wanting to help others in any way possible. Her mission statement is “to empower people to do anything they put their minds to,” hence her single “Anything Is Possible” and its accompanying Insta challenge to share one’s accomplishments.
Photo credit goes to Asai Mariah Vallot Photography.