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Unsigned singer MeMe Detroit talks ahead of Midlands gigs

By Leigh Sanders | Entertainment | Published:

How She Runs is the name of her forthcoming single, and it’s an apt depiction of where her career is going.

Maria is the lead singer of MeMe Detroit

For MeMe Detroit isn’t just the frontwoman of a deliciously gritty band of big sounds. She acts, she DJs, and she runs her own record label too.

MeMe Detroit is a stage name for Maria Rodriguez, a musician and actress in her late-20s (she wouldn’t be more specific) from Birmingham who has been grunging up the Midlands music scene with her band.

With a dirty sound that oozes the thickest of distortions over the top of their frenzied riffs, it’s like stepping into a time machine and waking up slap bang in the middle of America in the 90s.

It’s shaping up to be a busy summer for the rock trio who can count support slots to Dead Sea Skulls, Piano Wire, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Asylums under their belt. She has backing too. In a recent online vote to pick a main stage performer for the popular Camden Rocks Festival in London she was voted into the ‘final 50’ round of the competition – from 20,000 who entered.

How She Runs will come out on Friday, July 28, and she’s lined up a release show at Birmingham’s popular Actress & Bishop on Ludgate Hill – in association with her SoulRock Central Records label and the ever-impressive Birmingham Promoters.

“It was originally a track I wrote for an independent film called My Saviour,” she says. “They said they wanted an 80s-style track. I said I would give it a go and it actually came out quite good.

“It’s kind of Flock Of Seagulls meets Depeche Mode but there is still a MeMe tint to it. It is melodic and catchy but there is still a lot of grit in there.

“It was also recorded in Birmingham – at Park Studios.”

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There’s also talk of another single release later in the year, plus an appearance at Worcester Music Festival on September 17 to gear up for. So there can’t be room for much else in her many-faceted schedule, right? Wrong!

“We are planning touring,” she corrects us. “It’s just getting the funding in place. That’s always the problem. We are looking at maybe touring up north and then a tour down south and try and keep building it from there.”

And as well as running her own band there are her business interests to consider, too. SoulRock Central Records describes itself as ‘the home of everything cool’ and aims to put on arts, music, clubnight and dance events to support up-and-coming talent.

“I’m pretty much running the record label on my own,” she says. “There are people around me as I build it up but it is basically just me. Sometimes it’s kind of ‘ARGH’ as we are in the early stages, but in an exciting way.

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“It started off as just an events company but as it has expanded it’s also become a record label.”

So as she has the means to produce and release everything herself, can we expect more future records from MeMe Detroit? Live To Love You’ll Love To Live came last year and offered a more low-fi introduction to their sound. She is adamant more is on the horizon. I put my heart and soul into everything I do, I do nothing by halves,” she adds.

“I have got another EP release towards the end of the year, probably a soft release. We’ll see how that goes and then do a lot more, turn it into a record.”

So what about her ventures into the other arts? DJing will always be competing with gigging for her nighttime adventures, though she can always do one followed by the other of course. But what about the daytime? All this talk of music hasn’t taken her eye off her other pursuits.

“I do stage acting and I do film acting, gritty dramas really,” she says of her other income source.

“I tend to do more dramas than comedy. Scripted comedy can be fun, but I am not very quick on my feet,” she laughs. “I have just done some work on a film with Woody Harrelson. It was only a very small part but it was in his film Lost In London.”

Lost In London was an interesting project for Woody. His directorial debut, it was filmed at 2am on a Friday morning in London and screened – live – into 500 cinemas in the USA. It was shot in one single take, lasting 100 minutes, using a cast of 30 in 14 separate locations.

It must have been intense.

Maria laughs: “We had a week to rehearse and then it was streamed out live in one take – no pressure. It was very briefly but I was on screen with him.”

We’ll have to look out for her then. As should you – at the Actress & Bishop in July and any other gigs the band – Maria, drummer Barney Such from Nuneaton and bassist Lewis Smith, also from Birmingham – announce.

“Since I was young I have always dreamt of this,” Maria adds. “It’s my passion and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I want to take my acting and music as far as we can go. Go for it as massive as we can.”

As the Camden Rocks vote shows, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

So as she has the means to produce and release everything herself, can we expect more future records from MeMe Detroit? Live To Love You’ll Love To Live came last year and offered a more low-fi introduction to their sound. She is adamant more is on the horizon. I put my heart and soul into everything I do, I do nothing by halves,” she adds.

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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