The concept of duality emerged in their work as they began confronting their individual identities—the girls are basically opposites in nature and temperament yet are connected by that inexplicable emotional bond shared by twins. In addition, the concept of” home” and questions related to a sense of belonging come to the forefront as they deal with their biracial East Indian/European background. While away at school on the East Coast, Michelle honed her songwriting producing a solo EP, “La Luna” and in a subsequent flurry of creativity, wrote the bulk of FLAGS AND BOXES—mostly during her last semester. Michelle would send the rough versions of the tunes to Melissa for her input; Melissa made melodic suggestions and found spots for her to vocally complement her sister’s lead voice. The two decided to sing together because of their natural chemistry, the way their similar voices blend and the instinctive, seamless communication that had always been part of their musical lives. Thematically, Michelle’s compositions on the debut album deal with universal subjects of self-discovery, interpersonal relationships and of developing an individual voice.
Separating for extended lengths of time while they attended different colleges on the East Coast helped them establish separate identities—differences that are apparent when they perform which lends an exciting artistic tension to their accomplished show. “Every song on FLAGS AND BOXES represents a time when I've used my voice. Each song is an instance where I've ‘planted my flag’ and each obstacle is another box that is trying to restrict and restrain me,” says Michelle. “Looking back, I realize how much these songs were struggling to say what I have been feeling all along. They’re the only places I can say what I’m thinking and feeling without caring what anyone else thinks.” Melissa adds: “The years apart were good for us because we needed to develop our own identities.
Everyone thought of us collectively, and compared us to each other--she’s the smart one, she’s the funny one and all that. We needed to become our own people. But we’re excited to be back together and working on this music. We each bring a cool perspective to the mix.
We instinctively know what will sound good and what will work.” MACEDO worked with several key people in making FLAGS AND BOXES: producer Kush Mody (Serial Buddies), engineer Nils Montan @ WERS in Boston, co-engineer Andrew Oedel @ Connecticut College and mixer Justin Gerrish (MGMT, Vampire Weekend). The album was mastered by Fred Kevorkian (Regina Spektor). While the songs are driven by Michelle’s artful acoustic piano, MACEDO’s sound integrates French horn, Wurlitzer, grand piano, electric bass, guitar, violin, cello and organ creating a rich and unique palette. The first single to radio is the full band edit of “Caught” produced by Khris Kellow (Christina Aguilera), mixed by Mario Luccy (RealSongs) and mastered by Randy Sharp (Dixie Chicks). “In so many ways,” Michelle says, “I feel like I am caught between two worlds of identity, not fitting into anything.
Sometimes I feel like people's assumptions are all that I am. As an identical twin, my identity has always been relevant to somebody else. We were rarely able to be individuals. We grew up to complement each other.
Also, being bi-racial, we have never felt like we fit in one place or one particular side of the family. I strive in my songs to emotionally confront myself in a very honest way; this album is about allowing myself to feel what I am. I’ve spent my whole life being trapped in a box and silenced. This album is me finally raising my voice, my unapologetic voice.” While Michelle and Melissa grow together as musical partners, each has also found success in endeavors apart from one another.
While enrolled at Emerson College, Michelle co-founded its Random Arts Delegation, featuring assorted notable performing artists. She also performed with Southern California’s activist (AMAR) collective and composed scores for the independent film “As They Fade,” directed by Jenna Lyng, and a television pilot called “Age Appropriate,” which she also starred in, that was nominated for “Best Pilot” at the Independent Television Festival in Los Angeles. Melissa, meanwhile, devoted a summer to study music in Argentina. Stateside, she worked toward her own BA at Columbia University's Barnard College in New York City.
While attending, she performed Off Broadway, playing the title character in the New York premiere of “After Miss Julie,” adapted by Patrick Marber, in which she played Miss Julie. She also starred in Bertolt Brecht’s “St. Joan of the Stockyards,” where she performed a song composed specifically for her by Jason Hart. In addition to recording and performing as MACEDO, Michelle and Melissa wrote and performed a song for the film “Serial Buddies,” starring Christopher Lloyd, Kathie Lee Gifford, Artie Lange and narrated by Henry Winkler, and most recently they co-host shows for “AfterBuzz TV,” the largest new media platform on the web that does after-shows for fans' favorite TV developed by Maria Menounos (Today Show, Extra correspondent). Maria has been very vocal about her love of MACEDO listing them as her favorite LA band.
Melissa is a volunteer at RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) and Michelle is an advocate for gay rights and active in the HRC (Human Rights Campaign). Both are dedicated to human rights. Named one of the city’s most popular artists by Deli Magazine, MACEDO have been performing regular gigs around town including Hotel Café, Lineage Performing Arts Center in Pasadena, Tribal Café in Echo Park, On the Rox, House of Blues and the Viper Room. Michelle has been honored at the Malibu Music Awards and her songs have been broadcast on numerous radio stations (including Los Angeles’ Star 98.7) and on Delta Airlines, Yahoo! Music, Spotify and Pandora.
Armed with a full album of distinguished songs, MACEDO is focused, as the album title implies, on planting their flag on the indie music scene. They’re doing it with an eclectic style that gracefully and organically transcends easy genre identification or metaphorical “box.” Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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