Instagram has paved the way for relatively unknown musicians to get their music out into the world. From obscure but talented artists like British soul-pop siren Leyla Diamondi to rapidly rising stars like Brazilian guitarist Mateus Asato, you’ll be surprised at the level of musical talent just waiting to be discovered on Instagram.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that Instagram gives artists a direct way of communicating with their audience. It’s an artist-driven platform that cuts out the middlemen, allowing creators to more freely share personal and unfiltered content, behind-the-scenes peeks into their process, unfinished songs, and other stuff they want to preserve for online posterity. This is how Nashville-based neo-soul guitar virtuoso Melanie Faye experienced her first brush with Instagram fame.
“This song is a work in progress. Actually, I myself am a work in progress… Yeet.” That was @melaniefaye’s caption for the viral October 2016 post which first put her on the RnB/soul guitar map. With that humble disclaimer, Faye’s ‘work in progress’ is a perfect and soulful ‘90s RnB-inspired tune that’s just shy of a minute and leaves you wanting more.
Combined, the way she tied her afro with a headband and her reverb-driven harmonic licks allowed her to channel RnB voodoo god D’Angelo with the attitude of Jimi Hendrix. Fresh and yet somewhat familiar, Faye’s unfinished song is everything you want in a new tune that sounds like it’s straight out of RnB’s greatest era. After it was reposted by different musicians and eventually retreated by RnB queen and Love Galore singer SZA, Faye’s thousands of new followers discovered her wealth of online audio experiments.
In between songs and short tunes, Faye’s Instagram is also filled with deep but quick looks into her creative process. In a post dated November 2017, she showed off her new effects pedals: the MXR Reverb which Tonebox calls a hi-fi analog pedal with six different styles, an Echoplex delay, and a Green Rhino overdrive with precise tone-decibel control. Her caption reads, “Throw tips at a noob (newb?) who has never owned a pedalboard until a few weeks ago.”
Almost three years later, Faye’s NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert on August 2020 revealed how she has preferred the reverb and delay pedals, as well as how far she’s come with using the effects. Faye’s 15 minutes and 35 seconds of NPR Music fame is a jazzy, straight up groovy neo-soul set featuring her songs “Super Sad Always”, “It’s A Moot Point”, and “Eternally 12”.
Eternally 12 is actually a song that Faye originally recorded with Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco back in 2018. Shortly after, Pitchfork recalled how the pair released an instrumental version of the track. Today, Melanie Faye continues to be one of the most prominent and promising talents in contemporary RnB, jazz, and neo-soul. And it all started with going viral on Instagram. However you might feel about the social media platform and its influencers, there’s no doubt that in the case of Melanie Faye, Instagram has allowed a truly talented and devoted musician to start getting her fair share of the limelight.