Lindgren and Melanie
Photo courtesy of Lindgren and Melanie Fontana
Quarantine Diaries: Lindgren And Melanie Fontana Are Hosting An Open House, Cooking Blue Apron & Watching "Cake Wars"
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, songwriter/producer Lindgren and his wife, singer/songwriter Melanie Fontana—who collectively have worked with names like BTS, Dua Lipa, Britney Spears, Halsey and more—share their joint Quarantine Diary.
Friday, May 15
Lindgren: I get rudely awakened by a hungry cat trying to scratch her way through my bedroom door. Melanie gets up to feed the little monster, so obviously I go back to sleep. I am no use to the world at this ungodly hour.
Melanie: Hello! I’m up! Throughout these quarantine times, my body has been truly terrible at sleeping. 9:30 a.m. is pretty much the latest my brain will let me go, even if I go to bed at 4 a.m. (which is what I did last night). My cat Vanderbilt is scratching like crazy at our bedroom door. Time to open the can and start the fish factory for her. I get myself a fresh, steamy cup of coffee from our Jura coffee maker. I peek out the back door window to see if it’s sunny; it is! I let Vandy out. She starts pouncing on invisible predators as I sit in the morning’s breezy silence of our backyard.
Lindgren: This time the awakening is sweet. I being served fresh coffee with oat milk by my lovely wife who hands me my phone and kisses my forehead. The cat is now snuggly and ready for a nap in my lap while I slowly boot up my brain that apparently still runs on Microsoft Windows 98; slow to start but then very steady and reliable. I check my emails, delete the spam and respond to the ones from the home country (Germany) as they are already on their way home from their offices. Next up is iMessage. (God, I hate group chats.) A looming red double digit number lets me know that I’m fashionably late to a morning plotting party with our manager, Justin Garza. Once I’m all caught up on the ‘DREAMTEAM’ chat group I begrudgingly get out of bed at 11:50 (nobody should have to live like this).
Melanie: I leave my laziness on a poolside lounger to head back inside the house make a fresh cup of coffee for Lindgren. I use my pointer knuckle to gently tap on the bedroom door and I pad barefoot into our still shadowy room to deliver Lin his (late) morning brain fuel. I want bagels. Bad. We have some in the freezer, for sure.
Lindgren: After a second coffee and a pastrami bagel, I finally feel human. Humans go to work, right? But there’s nothing to do just yet... other than... Oh yeah, we’re showing the apartment today! Over the last two weeks we’ve been renovating our newly aquired rental property in Hollywood and today a potential tenant wants to see it. Am I done with everything? Of course not. So I pack my tools, glove and mask up and get in the car.
Time to "car test" the songs from this week. I’ve been missing this ritual throughout this time of adjusting to this new normal. We play the songs we wrote and produced, judge the writing, arrangement and mix on the car’s Bose system and sing along. "Pull uuuuup!" yells my wife.
Melanie: Crap. I’m late! I’m supposed to be doing an "account takeover" of my manager’s company’s Instagram account, The Dream Adopters. Wish I was doing something a bit more musical today to show his followers, but eh, guess that’s life! Actually, today is a pretty cool day for some songs we already wrote and produced. We have a double release day! Bonnie x Clyde are releasing a REALLY unique song we worked on called "Atypical." At 9 a.m. Jessica Andrea will be putting out her long-awaiting single "Love Like This," a tune Lindgren, Jess and I poured our hearts into!
We are now at our investment property in Hollywood to give a quick "6-foot-masked-tour" to some potential tenants. I am currently and magically juggling ripping down old light fixtures, answering questions on my takeover, vacuuming and then eventually heading down to the lobby to let in our interested party. Please, lord, don’t try to talk us down in rent price. This place is f**king adorable and it's fully furnished with the comfiest and cutest furniture. Honestly, anyone would be lucky to wake up to these breathtaking Runyon Canyon/Downtown views. Someone stop me from renting out my own house so I can live here (like the city kid I am at heart!).
Lindgren: Phew, just in time the new clock is hung, the bedroom barn door finally level (my poor German OCD had been tingling since the day I put it up crooked) and all the dust is swept up. Time for the Open House.
Lindgren: Jessica Andrea texts "Come Outside." We step outside to find our masked friend on the front lawn and an ice cold six pack of Mango White Claw on the porch. Time to celebrate the upcoming release of "Love Like This," a song the three of us wrote for her project. It’s gorgeous. I hope it does well. Six feet apart and fully masked, we chat about potential promo moves and boys. Ain’t no hang with Jess without boy talk. ;-)
Melanie: Back home from Hollywood and JESSICA ANDREA IS A QUEEN. She just stopped over to drop off a $100 The Palm Coffee Bar gift card as well as a box of mango White Claws. Now that’s how we like to celebrate release days, baby! Jess, Lindgren and I sit six feet apart on my front lawn to talk a bit of "release strategy" in regards to "Love Like This" coming out in like... four hours. The song is really dreamy. It’s a pop experience. I hope it does as well as I think it will! Masks on, we continue to chat about how quarantine can be such a bummer for artists, who can no longer just head out there and do live performance promo for the foreseeable future. We speculate for a while over how it’s going to be even in the near future. Who friggin knows.
Lindgren: Time to be the music power couple for a bit. So we make some Daily Harvest smoothies and head into our respective studios to finish up some work. Melanie works on a track from our friends Daytrip and I go over notes from the band Public on a song we’ve been fine-tuning. With this magnifiscent weather outside it’s hard not to leave the studio patio door open and give the good people of Burbank a free concert. But I must resist the urge.
Melanie: Lindgren heads into our A Room studio to wrap up editing vocals on a song he’s been feverishly poring over these last few days with the band Public (signed to Island) and I head into the B Room studio to melodyne vocals on an unfinished song I started working on with Daytrip last week. They always send me such unrivaled, inspiring tracks, I have to make sure what I send back to them is up to par. I love this song. It’s called "Blame Me."
Lindgren: It’s been a couple minutes since Daytrip’s 808 bass made the wall between our studios shake. That can only mean one of two things: Melanie is either petting Vanderbilt or has started cooking. Damn, I’m hungry. Blue Apron’s orange glazed meat Chinese balls are on the menu.
Melanie: Lindgren and I live for our Blue Apron meal cooking kits. Tonight, orange glazed meatballs is on the menu. Holy crap. Sandiest head of bok choy I have ever seen. Washing this thing for at least two minutes before I can even think of prepping it. Other than writing songs and home-renovation/interior design, cooking is my third passion. As I’m thin-slicing three large freshly washed carrots, I start to miss the cooking classes that Lindgren had got me for Christmas a couple years ago. Those were fun. We should do that again! On a serious note, I always dream of owning a small, very well decorated café that serves small plates, coffee, wine and beer. Goals, am I right?!
Melanie: We crash Jess Andrea’s Instagram live. There were talks of Shia Lebouf and new songs on the way.
Lindgren: Time for a quiet walk through the neighborhood. Wow, I don’t even need a sweater tonight. Nice job, California. Oops, how did we make it all the way down to Whole Foods on Olive? Shall we turn around? "I miss Vanderbilt," says Melanie. Homeward then!
Melanie: Taking long, late-night walks is a newfound happy addition to our life. Somehow, floating atop a lively conversation about real estate and industry politics, we walk all the way to Whole Foods on Olive Ave. How the hell did we get all the way over here???
Melanie: Laying on our massively oversized, gray tweed couch. This thing could tame a wild boar, I’m convinced. Time for reruns of "Cake Wars"! Sometimes you just have to watch something silly to stop the gears in your brain from turning so rapidly. I have to put my phone down now, because if I look at this screen for too long, I’ll be up wired till 6 a.m.! Goodnight, you weird and beautiful world.
Lindgren: After "Penny Dreadful" and a couple "Cake Wars" reruns, Melanie and Vanderbilt—my cats, as I endearingly call them—have succumbed to the sleep-inducing gravity of our couch. Time to switch over to "The West Wing."
Lindgren: The edible is hitting like a truck. What did Josh say? What did CJ do? I can’t follow anymore. I wake Melanie up with a kiss on the forehead and whisper "bedtime."
"Good night, Veebee," she says to the snoring ball of cuteness.
All photos courtesy of Lindgren And Melanie Fontana
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