Cover shot by: Emil Riley
Festival season has arrived, with South by Southwest starting Friday and featuring former Vice President Joe Biden and big time comedians, musicians and filmmakers among others. South by Southwest, or SXSW for short, has an overwhelming number of Fort Worth natives this year from gospel singers to indie rock bands. Fort Worth Magazine had the chance to speak with R&B/soul singer Melissa Polinar about her experience growing up in Fort Worth and how she acquired a spot in the Austin festival.
So tell me a little about yourself. How long have you been performing?
I've been performing for about 8-10 years now, although I knew I loved music and performing live, but I didn't know I could do it, or would have it in me, to do it full-time. It wasn't until I was 18 when I got signed as a songwriter under Warner/Chappell. That was the time when my eyes were opened and put my work in the music industry from then on. YouTube also helped my career when it was a less saturated scene. I've built up my fan base and supporters there, and all the social media things happened later. Being an independent artist these days is a possible thing – a lot of work, but can be done. I suppose I've underestimated my passion for it that it has taken me this far. I love music and I'm grateful that I get to do what I love.
Tell me about your experience in Fort Worth. Any fond memories?
I always remembered having my junior high school trips to the Fort Worth Stock Show, and I love visiting Sundance Square. It has changed a lot, in great ways, compared to when I was a kid. I have fond memories going to the Bass Hall to watch performances as well. I've always loved the laid back vibe of the city. I sang pretty much all my life – from church to school events in Fort Worth, and Fort Worth was part of my formative years as a musician.
Live shot by: Emil Riley
How did the SxSW show happen?
For the past couple years, I've been in Los Angeles extensively doing music there, and I've been in contact with industry folks. There's a movement of Asian-American in the mainstream media and arts lately, and one organization [that] is propelling this movement is a group called Kollaboration. They support artists and anyone who is involved in music, TV, film by creating a community of Asian-American artists. We, as a subgroup, are underrepresented in mainstream media and underrepresented also in the sense of accuracy, so Kollaboration has the opportunity to host an official Asian-American SXSW showcase, the first of its kind, and I'm honored to be representing among the few chosen.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
I'm looking forward to making more music and releasing more songs to the world. Hopefully I get to check off more things on my bucket list by collaborating with artists and musicians that I respect, traveling the world, and other surprises along the way. My latest EP called Rise At Eventide, which I recorded last year, will be released worldwide in its entirety in 2017.
If you want to keep up with Polinar, you can follow her Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page.