Interview: Melanie Martinez Talks “Play Date” & Quarantine
A slow-burn hit is one thing, going viral with a song first released in 2015 is something else entirely. However, that’s the situation Melanie Martinez finds herself in with “Play Date.” The punchy pop anthem, which started life as a bonus track on the digital edition of Cry Baby, exploded out of the blue in April after being embraced by TikTok users. “Play Date” has now amassed more than 80 million streams on Spotify, while the audio video is nearing 40 million views on YouTube. At this rate, a belated birth on the Billboard Hot 100 is looking very likely.
Earlier this week, I reached out to Melanie about the song’s surprise success and she was kind enough to answer a couple of questions. The 25-year-old revealed that she only found out about the revival of “Play Date” recently and opened up about making her own TikTok video. The K-12 visionary also talked about quarantine activities, planning a homemade “Play Date” visual (!) and her gratitude that the track is connecting with so many people. Catch up with the singer/songwriter in our Q&A below.
How are you coping with quarantine and the general mayhem of 2020?
I’m meditating more, dancing, staying off my phone, going swimming, writing music, painting, eating weed brownies and enjoying time with my boyfriend. Because I’m sort of a workaholic, it’s been really important to just have time outside of work to do fun activities that help me recharge and stay present.
When did you find out that “Play Date” was starting to go viral?
A few days before my 25th birthday! It was a really special present from the universe.
Were you surprised that a song from 2015 suddenly took off?
Incredibly surprised, but also so grateful [that] people are connecting with the song on this level. It’s exciting to see people discovering the Crybaby album for the first time and watching others resonate with it all over again.
“Play Date” is one of your few songs without a visual… will you fix that?
I’m actually writing a music video right now and then going to gather the things necessary to make it and shoot it at home.
Did you enjoy making your own TikTok video for “Play Date”?
Yeah I think TikTok is rad. It’s just another outlet to express yourself creatively. Mainly, what I appreciate about the app is that it gives many artists the opportunity to have their music reach people in organic ways that don’t involve being force fed music. People gravitate towards whatever they feel naturally compels them and if more people are on that frequency it elevates the song to reach an audience of people that would be impossible to reach otherwise.
Will “Play Date” be reissued as a single if it keeps taking off?
I want to continue to expand this song’s reach but I don’t know if I’ll necessarily re-release it as a single because it very much lives on the Crybaby album already.
What do you remember recording “Play Date” way back when?
I was in New York in a studio in midtown smoking weed and I wrote it pretty quickly. Jennifer Decilveo co-wrote it with me and I just remember us screaming that chorus with excitement. I felt it was a precise and complete expression of the feeling of wanting more than just a superficial connection with someone. Seeking an authentic, pure and genuine connection. It makes sense to me that during this time of isolation that people are resonating with a song that is about wanting to connect with others.