Nothing Will Ever Be The Death Of You If You Don’t Let It

By Melanie Krahmer

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Melanie Krahmer. I’m the lead singer, drummer, and a songwriter for the band SIRSY. (I also throw in some flute, melodica, and keyboard bass too). I live in Upstate NY with my husband, Rich, who is also my bandmate and best friend, and who makes me laugh daily. I’m a vegetarian, a survivor, a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I have pet fish. I like hiking, reading, dancing, and dessert (and not necessarily in that order!)

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
At night, I pretend it’s winter to help me fall asleep.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nothing will ever be the death of you if you don’t let it. My mom gave me that advice when I was a little girl. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find your fire. Just know it’s there and it’s what really counts. I wrote a song called “Death of Me” on our latest record inspired by this very advice!

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Your world will be so much bigger than you can imagine if you let yourself be open to new experiences and try to push through the fear. Just do it one step at a time and always move forward. (Oh, and break up with that guy. He’s a jerk!)

What is your greatest fear?
I’m a two time cancer survivor. My greatest fear is getting it a third time and not surviving. When that surfaces, I take a deep breath — and I remind myself that’s why it’s important to REALLY live each day the best I can, to tell people I love them, and to be grateful for this life.

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
My parents have always encouraged my love of music and the arts. My husband calls himself my biggest fan. So, I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of support. But being in the music business means you have to learn to accept lots of feedback. It’s part of the job. You perform for audiences who ‘rate you’ with applause and there are critics who write about your art. I’ve been fortunate to receive lots of positive feedback. But the truth is that not everyone will like you. It’s just not possible. All you can do is be open. If the feedback is constructive, you learn from it. If it’s not, you try to let it go and not let it make you start to doubt yourself. It’s not easy, but if you’re true to yourself, and trying to be your best self, then you’re always going to be okay.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
You are amazing! There is no one else in the universe that can be YOU better than YOU. We are always our own worst critics. Give yourself the same understanding and love that you would give to a friend. You deserve it.

Have you always had confidence in yourself?
No. I struggle with self doubt on a daily basis. But I take a deep breath, and I take a step forward, and I try to have the courage to do my thing, regardless. You have to practice self love and self confidence just like you practice any other skill. And remember, we are all a work in progress.

What do you love most about yourself?
I don’t love people half way. I give them everything I’ve got.

Photo by Chet Seidel

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity? What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Fighting cancer twice was a big hurdle for me. It showed me just how strong I can be even when I feel afraid and lost. The first time I had cancer I was very private about it until I was well. I didn’t want people coming to see the band because they felt sorry for me. I always want people to come to see us because they love the music and because they get something from the music that makes their life a little better, even if it’s just for a few hours. After I was well again, we wrote a song called “Brave and Kind” about my fight with cancer. It really resonated with our fans and it taught me that letting them see me, even at my most vulnerable, is okay. It’s human. And we’re all human and trying to do the best we can. So many fans told me this song helped them through difficult times in their lives. (It’s even inspired dozens of SIRSY tattoos!) So, the second time I had cancer, I let them all know what was going on. (We had to cancel a 4 month tour, so there wasn’t even an option to keep it quiet.) We learned that by letting them fight alongside us, it brought us all closer together. They started a ‘gofundme’ to help us pay our bills. Musician friends all over the U.S. threw benefit concerts for us. It was an amazing showing of love from our community. And with them by our side, it made us stronger and it made me want to fight even harder. We released a song called “Like a Drum”. It’s about fighting as hard as you can to live the life you love, and to do it out loud. It’s about finding your way back to yourself through that joyful celebration. When we play it live we ask everyone to sing and celebrate life with us. And we all make a joyful noise together!

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
In school, I was a straight ‘A’ student and a nerd! I graduated with honors from college with a major in Psychology and English in the Pre-Law program. I never really wanted to be a lawyer. It was just what was expected of me because I was a good student. I didn’t want to let everyone down. I sat for my LSATS and in the middle of the test I had this moment of clarity. I decided on the spot that I didn’t want that life. So, I walked out in the middle of the test and started to live the life I wanted.

Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career? 
I always loved music, singing, and performing. I just didn’t know you could do it as a career when I was going to college. I never craved fame or fortune. I didn’t know that you could make a living making music without all that superficial junk. I love that I get to do that as my job and that it allows me to connect with people on a really deep and meaningful level.

Were you scared to start the process?
Yes! But often the hardest and scariest thing is the right thing. I’m so glad I took a leap of faith. Life is short. So, you have to do what brings you joy.

If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing?
Making music is what makes me tick. I can’t imagine a life where I’m not doing that! So, even if it wasn’t my job it would still be a huge part of my life. If I had to do something else, I think I would be a therapist. (I do have that degree in psychology and I worked as a counselor for a short time.) I think that could be a very fulfilling life because I could help others.

What is something on your bucket list?
So far, SIRSY has toured in the US and Canada. We’ve played in 49 of the 50 states — we just need Alaska. We haven’t toured overseas either. So, I’d love to play in both Alaska and overseas!

What is your favorite thing about where you live?
We tour for a living. It’s an amazing life that lets us see so many places and meet so many wonderful people. We drive an average of about 60,000 miles per year and we play about 250 shows per year. So, we’re not home a lot. It’s really special to be home because we can see our family and friends, plant a garden, and take lots of walks around our neighborhood. It’s the little things!

What is your favorite meal?
I eat a kale salad every day.  No, really. I actually really love kale.  But if we’re talking my ‘pie in the sky’ guilty pleasure meal… it would be my husband’s homemade pizza with ice cream for dessert! 

Who is your biggest role model? Why?
I really admire my husband and my mom. My husband doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. He goes his own way and greets each day and each new experience with a sense of adventure. He inspires me to do the same! My mom is the strongest person I know. She’s a fighter. Her strength and resilience are an inspiration. Both of them have taught me how to love fiercely and with your whole heart.

Melanie Krahmer

 

Melanie Krahmer is a member of SIRSY — a rock, pop, and soul duo from Upstate NY.

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