The Gold Standard: Bateau

Bateau is an Austin, Texas based Trip-Hop/RnB/Hip-Hop singer-songwriter who at the age of 19 decided to pursue a music career after The John Lennon Tour Bus made a stop in San Antonio, Texas and gave her an opportunity to professionally film, produce, and record a music video for her original song  “Runaway” in March of 2013. Early the next year, in January 2014, she released the single “Put Down The Bottle” on YouTube which quickly attracted a following. Although she initially started to generate a buzz in the Texas indie folk scene singing under the stage name Melina Evalyn, she felt restricted by the genre and increasingly uncomfortable with the squeaky clean image that she felt pressured to maintain for her career.

Melina took a break from everything in 2015 and for three months took up a job waitressing to save money for a move to California. Even though she felt emotionally drained and hadn’t performed for months she couldn’t help but wonder if her fans would accept the underground Hip-Hop sound that inspired her to write to music in the first place as a teenager in Houston, Texas. Unable to leave music behind for good, Melina quietly recorded and released the single “Gold“ as Bateau and officially retired her old stage name Melina Evalyn on Facebook.

On September 20th Bateau released her self-titled debut album "Bateau" and it's FIRE. We had the opportunity to connect with her and ask a few questions about her sound, the album, and more.  

How would you describe your musical style and sound? B: My musical style is Trip Hop with Hip Hop undertones. My style of singing is atmospheric and light in contrast to the dark and ominous beats. My lyrical style honest and direct, as well as heavily influenced by pop and indie-folk writing traits.

Do you have a favorite song on your recently released debut album "Bateau"?  B: My favorite song on the album would have to be Money Honey. The song is honest and harsh, while touching on dark matters that most people don’t like talking about it. It is also one of the most energetic songs on the album.

Would you say that the various places you have lived have contributed to who you are as an artist lyrically and concept wise? B: Most definitely. I have lived in three different cities in the past five years, as well as traveled very frequently. The things I have learned from other states and countries influence my style by giving me a wide range of perspective. The album has a sense of wanderlust due to my travels, and most of my songs are influenced by my longing to go back to California. 

I'm really feeling your song/video for 'Gold', especially the utilization of the Active Child sample. How did they come about?  B: Thank you! Gold was the very beginning of Bateau. At the time, I was doing my singer-songwriter bubblegum pop. A friend of mine made beats, and had a bunch of discarded ones he was not using. I asked him for one just so I could try out singing over it, since I have always been a huge fan of soul and hip hop. I was not even aware it was an Active Child sample until much later. I was basically driving to Houston when he sent it, and I wrote the hook over the three-hour drive. I just listened over and over again until I had the hook. I never even wrote the lyrics down, and it all happened really fast. After that, I sent it to my friend Walter in San Antonio, who laid down some verses. It was mostly for a fun experiment, but took off more than I anticipated. 

"Bateau" by Bateau (stream below)

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