Melanie Meunier: Teenage Sensation
by Shelby C. Berry
Millie Meunier played her first note on a piano at age five. The New Albany, Indiana native, grew up in music, but it wasn’t until she was 12 years old and heard bluegrass musician Billy Nett play for the first time that she fell in love with the genre.
“I watched him play, and I just fell in love,” Millie laughed. “I instantly knew that I wanted to do that.”
Millie was honored with the opportunity to be mentored on fiddle by Billy himself. She began performing locally and across her state while gradually learning how to play other instruments. At 16 years old, Millie can play six instruments: fiddle, piano, viola, banjo, guitar, and mandolin.
“But the fiddle is probably still my favorite,” she said. “I still perform it the most.”
As a high school student still involved in sports and other activities, it can be a bit hard for Millie to take the time to focus on herself and her music. So last year, during the pandemic lockdown, Millie took the time to create and record her first album from her bedroom.
“Before I released that album, several people asked me to create one at my shows,” joked Millie. “I laughed it off because I never had time. But with virtual school and no sports, I was able to record all of my parts in my bedroom at home.”
But recording an album wasn’t the biggest accomplishment Millie made last spring. She produced a music video for her radio-TV class featuring five instruments she plays.
She played, produced, and edited the video as a dedication to Earl Scruggs’ production of Foggy Mountain Breakdown for this assignment to make a feel-good video.
Millie began getting uplifting feedback from all around the world about her video that has now been viewed over 4 million times on Floyd Central High School’s YouTube channel as well as her own.
“I never expected anything like this when I turned in my video for a school project,” said Millie humbly. “It didn’t get a ton of views at first, but then, all of a sudden, it started getting tons of views out of nowhere! It’s so cool these many people have been able to enjoy my music.”
Canceled Jamborees still distress the music industry as it moves forward to find a way out of the pandemic. However, Millie plays locally with the Hank Rose Trio, and they have enjoyed joining the world of live performing once again.
“I am performing live almost every weekend right now, mostly with the band but also a few solo shows as well,” said Millie.
As one of the newest members of Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars (TBS), joining this September, she looks forward to the connections and opportunities that TBS and its leaders bring her.
After finding the TBS community on Facebook, Millie’s mom encouraged her to join to give her an opportunity for a community amongst other young bluegrass musicians since there aren’t many in her hometown.
“I’ve never really played with any other musicians my age. It will be really fun to connect with more people my age to take about their musical journey and jam together,” said Millie.
In September, Millie received five nominations at the 7th Annual Josie Music Awards, dedicated to independent and up-and-coming artists and songwriters in all genres. With these nominations, she also won Musician of the Year for 2021.
“Whenever I submitted recordings to the Josie Music Awards, I didn’t really expect to get an award for anything, but I figured I would at least try to see what happened,” said Millie. “I was just happy to have been nominated for anything in the first place, so when I actually won something, that was very surprising and was a great honor!”
As Millie makes plans for her future, she hopes to attend college to major in video production and minor in music.
“I always want music to be a part of my life. I enjoy making music videos, though! Working on movies or post-production would be cool, too,” said Millie.
Today, Millie is recording her very first Christmas album to be released Christmas 2022. You can find her online on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at Millie Meunier Music.