Melanie Martinez’s Musical Journey to Lollapalooza

Catherine A. Jones
 | March 25, 2024

The highly anticipated lineup for Chicago’s 2024 Lollapalooza festival has been released. And Melanie Martinez fans are thrilled. Martinez, the singer who embraces a “cottagecore” vibe, and is a Gen Z favorite, is casting her spell on the iconic Lollapalooza stage as a headliner.  It’s all part of Melanie Martinez’s musical journey.

But who exactly is Melanie Martinez, and what makes her performance at Lollapalooza so significant? … and what is “cottagecore” anyway?

Melanie Martinez’s Musical Journey

Melanie Adele Martinez, was born in Astoria, Queens, on April 28, 1995.

“She grew up in a Latin household with her mother, Mery, who is of Dominican descent, and her father, Jose, who is of Puerto Rican descent,” OMGStaffs writes. “Martinez has described herself as an emotional child who struggled to fully express herself in her family’s traditional household.”

Martinez discusses her childhood in a rare interview on the topic: “I think, like growing up … was like an interesting journey because I feel like people always expected me to … sound and look and act a certain way because I’m Latin.”

She gained international recognition when she joined NBC’s “The Voice” as a contestant in 2012. Her coach was fellow Latina singer Christina Aguilera.

She didn’t win the reality show, but gained international attention, was signed to Atlantic records, and is now admired as a singer, songwriter, visual artist, director, and fashion icon. And most of her fans are Gen Z.

“Teenage girls connect with the singer who dresses like a scary Victorian doll because she articulates the traumas of adolescence,” The Sunday Times writes in its article “Melanie Martinez is a phenomenon and nobody over 18 knows who she is.”

Melanie Martinez’s Viral Allure

Her distinctive two-toned hair and dreamlike aesthetic have become synonymous with her name.

“Martinez … has been hailed as a provocative singer, songwriter, and visual presence,” MarketWired writes.

The singer has over 14 million followers on Instagram. “Melanie’s artistry is on another level,” live_laugh_lana666 writes on the social media platform. And YouTubeMusic comments “a true masterpiece.”

Her music video for Dollhouse has over 381 million views on YouTube alone, with lyrics like these speak directly to her fans:

“Places, places
Get in your places
Throw on your dress and put on your doll faces
Everyone thinks that we’re perfect
Please don’t let them look through the curtains
Picture, picture, smile for the picture
Pose with your brother, won’t you be a good sister?
Everyone thinks that we’re perfect
Please don’t let them look through the curtains
I see things that nobody else sees
D-O-L-L-H-O-U-S-E, I see things that nobody else sees”

Martinez’s influence goes beyond lyrics.

“While her music and fashion sense has made her well known, she’s also ventured into the fragrance industry. In 2016, she launched Cry Baby Perfume Milk, which sold out and has gone for up to $2,000 on resale sites. In November, she released her second fragrance, Portals Parfums,” WWD writes.

The ‘Cry Baby’ Chronicles

Her debut studio album, “Cry Baby,” unveiled a world where innocence collides with darkness.

Certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), it features hits like “Pity Party,” “Soap,” and “Mrs. Potato Head.” Lyrics delve into raw emotions, mental health, and societal expectations.

Then she followed up “Cry Baby” in 2019 with her album “K-12.”

“The album proved a sensation upon its release, entering the Billboard 200 at #3 with further debuts at #1 on the Alternative album chart, and #1 on the Soundtrack album chart,” Pasadena Weekly explains.

She simultaneously premiered a 92-minute musical film, K-12 (The Film), on YouTube alongside the album. The free hour and 32 minute musical has over 113 million views to date.

The film, reminiscent of Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” and the anime series “Sailor Moon,” showcased Martinez’s directorial know-how.

In 2023, she released her new album Portals.

“PORTALS marks the 27-year-old NYC-born singer-songwriter-filmmaker’s first full-length release in nearly four years following her 2 billion-streaming, RIAA Gold-certified second album, K-12 … ,” the official website, MelanieMartinez, writes.

Cottagecore Aesthetic and Fan Culture

These days, the star performs while wearing a mask, introduced during her Portals album release and international concert tour promotion, fitting into her “cottagecore” aesthetic.

“Cottagecore is related to grandmacore, faeriecore, farmcore and goblincore; other nostalgia-ridden aesthetic communities that, paradoxically, thrive on many of the most popular internet platforms of the day,” The New York Times explains. “What these cores have in common is a desire to live in a world outside the one currently inhabited.”

Then again, social media platforms like Pinterest, call Martinez’s alternative fashion style “pastel goth.” Either way, her fans have embraced it, and even go to her concerts dressed up.

Last summer, she added her cottagecore magic to Lollapalooza by performing wearing her “Portals” mask.

Lollapalooza Spotlight

Founded in 1991, Lollapalooza, the annual four-day extravaganza, is set to once again turn Chicago’s Grant Park into a sonic wonderland. Over 170 musical acts are going to perform on about eight stages.

Hola calls it “one of the most highly anticipated music festivals of the year.”

It was announced that Martinez is one of the 4-day music festival’s headliners this year, along with SZA; Blink-182; Tyler, the Creator; The Killers; Future X; Metro Boomin; Hozier; Stray Kids; and Skrillex. It marks the first time Martinez is headlining, but it won’t be the first time the star graces a Lollapalooza stage. Last year, Martinez joined Lollapalooza in Brazil.

As a headliner, Martinez makes Latina history at the festival once again.

“Columbian singer Karol G made history … as the first ever female Latin headlining artist to perform at the festival,” the online outlet The Daily Illini explains.

Other Latinas who have performed on the Lollapalooza stage include Jessie Reyez, Ari Abdul, and Isabel LaRosa.

Get Your Tickets!

See Melanie Martinez headline this summer. Lollapalooza tickets are your golden passes to this musical utopia. Here’s how you can join the enchantment, according to the festival’s official site:

  1. 4-Day General Admission: Starting at $399, immerse yourself in four days of music, culinary delights, and unforgettable moments.
  2. GA+: For $745, upgrade to GA+ for access to lounges, air-conditioned restrooms, and live stream screens.
  3. VIP: Dive into VIP territory for $1670. On-field views, private lounges, and festival perks await.
  4. Platinum: The ultimate experience at $4375 includes front-row access, exclusive lounges, and complimentary drinks.

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