We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Polinar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, what do you want people to remember about you?
Figuring out what I want my legacy to be was and is a loaded journey. I also believe that it is constantly evolving as one evolves as a person. There is a part of me that want people to not only remember my name or my accomplishments – but also hope that whatever I leave behind will truly mean something to them as well.
I’ve been writing songs since I was a teenager and singing many years before then – not because I wanted to pursue songwriting/music as a career initially. It was something that I just truly loved. And little did I know, it unlocked a door to freedom within my inner world. Music helped me blossom as a person that it organically became what it is now – a career. I followed my heart with all of its risks. It was scary and in many ways, still is. Hopefully, part of the legacy I want to impart is to inspire people to follow their hearts.
As far as my work, I always try to exude authenticity. And part of my dream is that the songs or music I leave behind will live and be enjoyed for generations to come.
During these past couple years of Covid pandemic, the world has lost many people. Some have lost family, friends, and as we all know, many beloved public figures as well. I lost my father suddenly in October 2020 and since then, I have looked at life much differently. The thought of legacy has entered my mind more often and heavily – a lot of self-reflection and world-reflection. Though often disorienting, the optimist left in me still believes that all this will be or is good for all of us. My dad left a wonderful impact in me and his family. He wasn’t a well-known celebrity or public figure – but I am who I am because of the legacy he left behind. He was a dreamer and I suppose I got that from him.
Legacy to me is exponentially more than accomplishing things these days. I want to be remembered as a loving person. I want to be remembered that in spite of life’s struggles, who not only persevered but came out triumphant. I hope this for everyone especially the ones I love.
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift away.”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am an independent singer-songwriter, musician. Majority of my fans have stumbled and discovered my work during the earlier days of Youtube. When I started posting my original songs, I didn’t really think much of it until I suddenly got a surge of fans – not in a viral fashion per se but more of finding a community. Asian and Asian-American communities have gathered around my music and it was only then that I realized that my work was more than just writing songs and singing them. It was then that I realized that I started to represent an under-represented demographic in media and for them to see themselves in me was bigger than me. There have been kids (many not kids anymore) who come up to me at shows or at the streets telling me they played guitar, sang my songs, wrote songs, because of me. I could never really wrap my head around that but what a complete honor for me to touch people’s lives in that capacity.
What makes my career pretty unique so far is that everything has been pretty organic. The people who I’ve gotten to work and became friends with were purely because we like each other. There’s just something so simple and pure about that. There’s no huge marketing or budget behind what I’ve done so far but somehow managed to release music, do shows, and have a relationship with my fans and colleagues.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d say go to show(s) at Hotel Cafe, Troubadour, or Teragram Ballroom, have dinner at a local joint, get Porto’s for dessert, and go for a walk at a beach for an evening walk. That to me is a pretty perfect thing to do within a day or a couple days – sometimes you can’t get it all in because of traffic.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to give a shoutout to David Ryan Harris, India.Arie, independent artist community, as well as the Asian-American music/artist community. They all have inspired me and lifted me up within my career so far. I can name plenty others but they have been pillars in my journey so far.
1) Laya Putri 2-5) Charles Michael Photography 6) Justin Higuchi