Melanie Martinez’s sophomore album K-12 dropped Friday after its premiere in New York on Thursday night at the AMC at Times Square.
The fantasy/horror movie musical includes music videos for each song off K-12. They’re strung together in the story of Martinez’s Cry Baby alter ego exiting her troubled home only to find an equally troubling world outside at school.
The New York premiere included a post-film Q&A with the cast, and pre-film red carpet. We got the chance to speak with Melanie on the carpet about the film and its main character Cry Baby.
The Knockturnal: Based on your past work, this film seems to share similar concept and aesthetic, but why a film this time? It almost feels like Cry Baby could have been a film as well.
Melanie Martinez: This was my first time writing a feature film obviously, and during the Cry Baby era, I was still growing into myself and I was still learning how to even write a music video and a shot list and all these different things were learning curves for me. I had to really learn as I went along with it and push myself to take a leap of faith with it. There were a lot of moments where I was very fearful, like maybe I can’t do this, maybe I don’t know exactly what I’m doing. As a young female artist, it’s hard because a lot of people don’t expect you to want to direct, so I had really push to do that early on during the Cry Baby era. I had to just keep showing them I know exactly what it is that I want to execute with my art and my music and eventually they trusted me enough to give me the opportunity to be able to create this film.
The Knockturnal: What are some of your film inspirations? Do you have any movies or directors that come to mind?
Melanie Martinez: I love Tim Burton. I love Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, movies like that. But I also love the Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, this movie Alice by this surrealist director. His name is Jan Svankmajer. He’s incredible. His work is really magical and fun.
The Knockturnal: Kind of like your work! I have a bit of an involved question – what function does the character of Cry Baby serve for you?
Melanie Martinez: I think that she is a great way for me to express myself in a creative challenging way where – I feel like it’s kind of easy to just write a pop song about how I feel or about my love life or whatever but it’s so much more of a challenge to create a story and think about other characters and how they relate to that character and expanding that world. That’s why making a film was so important for me because it pushed me to grow as an artist in so many different ways, as a dancer, as a writer, as a director, as a costume director, all these different things that are so new for me and I’m just grateful to have been able to do it and finish it.
The Knockturnal: How do you see Cry Baby changing or evolving? Do you think she’ll ever disappear?
Melanie Martinez: She’s gonna be evolving and transforming as a being. Her growth isn’t going to be as literal. She’s not gonna go to college, you know, it’s not going to be like that. But she’s definitely going to transform and evolve, but I can’t say anything or else it’ll be a spoiler.
The Knockturnal: Lastly, I was curious about the casting for this movie. A lot of this is young rising talent. Were you involved in that process?
Melanie Martinez: Definitely. I was involved in every process regarding this movie *laughs*. It was really cool because when I was writing out different characters I was thinking about their astrology charts and what their sun, moon, and rising could potentially be and how that would relate to another character and how their dialogue intersects because of that, things like that, character study things. It was funny because for example, when I wrote the character Fleur, I imagined Fleur as a Pisces and the girl that I casted as Fleur is a Pisces. Cool things like that happened which feel like little miracles. It’s just really magical.