You may remember Melanie Martinez as the fresh-faced 16-year-old on the third season of The Voice, sitting on Team Adam. Young Martinez auditioned with an unforgettable rendition of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” with only an acoustic guitar in her arms and a tambourine between her feet.
A lot has changed in five years, as the now 21-year-old has made her own lane in pop music. Her 2015 debut album Cry Baby banged out creepy-pop songs such as “Dollhouse” and “Carasoul,” which were used in commercials for American Horror Story: Freak Show. She has a huge social media following with nearly 2 million Instagram followers, yet many people don’t seem to know much about her or her music.
Martinez recently had a breakfast date at an ice cream parlour with Noisey‘s Niloufar Haidari, giving us all #BestFriendGoals with her talks about tattoos, directing her own videos and her signature locks. You didn’t think Sia came up with the look, did you?
After this interview, we realized Martinez is exactly the best friend we’ve always wanted. Here are all the reasons why.
In a world were minimalism and neutral-coloured clothing reign, Martinez prefers to be bright and colourful in her baby doll dresses and elaborate, doll-like makeup. “I feel like the way that I dress and my aesthetic is exactly who I am on the inside,” she told Wonderland.
Not only did she get up on a stage and preform in front of The Voice audience and millions of viewers at home, but she made her own career blossom with her fearless attitude. After creating and premiering her first self-made music video for “Dollhouse,” Martinez walked into Atlantic Records, with her dismantled doll necklace and black-blue hair, and gave it to them. They were so impressed with the alt-pop princess, they signed her right on the spot. Who wouldn’t be down to be best friends with her just so we could raid her closet and be a doll in one of her music videos?
Martinez is the queen of DIY—she directs her own music videos, designs her album art and writes or co-writes her music. She always finds a way to include complex themes and lyrics that deal with problems in her and her fan’s lives.
Cry Baby had an overall theme of childhood innocence through the cover art, toy-inspired sound bites in the music and colourful music videos. But when you listen to the album, the lyrics and music have a dark undertone that gives the whole project an Alice in Wonderland vibe.
To create a contrast between the light childhood aesthetics, Martinez tries to include dark adult themes to her music. From coming to terms with your own insecurities in “Mrs. Potato Head” to being shy about expressing your love to a guy in “Soap,” Martinez lyrics relate to all young adults trying to come into their own while still holding onto childhood naivety. Everyone wants a best friend who can understand them on a deeper level.
Martinez says she has over 30 tattoos all over her body, her favourite one being the gum ball machine that she got on her abdomen. A few other cute, cartoon-like tattoos she has includes an ice cream truck on the inside of her upper left arm, a blue balloon animal dog and a brown teddy bear. Her first tattoo was a pastel carousel horse on her forearm in 2014. Who wouldn’t be down to get cute, matching gum ball best friend tattoos with her?
Cruella de Vil inspired Martinez’s half-and-half hair. “When I was 16 I bleached half of it blonde, and that was because my mum wouldn’t let me bleach it. I was watching 101 Dalmatians,” she said. Director Tim Burton is also one of her inspirations, which she explains in her “Draw My Life” video: “If I had to play a movie character, it would defiantly be from a Tim Burton film. It would have to be creepy. I just love him.”
Just one glance at her Instagram, you can see her love for collecting vintage dolls and toys, which she describes as a “cute, colourful mess.” No sleepovers at your house, Melanie, but we’re still down to watch every Tim Burton film in chronological order with you.