The 17-year-old breaking into the music industry – without Tik Tok

A 17-year-old who has played, mixed and produced every part of his latest album says he has broken into the music scene without social media.

Milo Claes, of The Avenue, Orpington, who goes by the artist name Meelo, plays drums, guitar, bass and keys in his latest album of alternative pop tracks, Late Night SMS, which featured on Radio One’s BBC Introducing last week, which showcases new musical talent.

Mr Claes, who is a student at The Brit School, a performing and creative arts school in The Crescent, Croydon, said: “Going into music so young is risky. Everyone and their dog wants to be a musician at the moment.

“Hearing my song on the radio was a dream come true moment. I was so excited I was jumping up and down. I had to pinch myself.” 

Mr Claes working on his music (Picture: Hari Coles)

The South London Press reported on Mr Claes in 2018 when he won a place at the Italia Conti acting academy at 10-years-old, after auditioning against hundreds of young hopefuls.

In the last five years, he was accepted at The Brit School, released three singles and a debut album of 13 tracks.

He said: “The Brit School is a real hub for creative people, everyone is constantly making things – someone can draw your album cover for your music. It’s like heaven for me.”

Last month he released his latest single, I’d Rather, with a music video which has already racked up 2,200 streams on YouTube.

He said: “I’ve always dreamed of making a music video, and putting it into reality felt insane.

“Me and my friend cobbled together enough money to rent a camera for two days. 

“It was chaos and madness and it was so fun.”

Photo taken during the filming of the music video for ‘I’d rather’ (Picture: Jake Neale)

Mr Claes grew up in a generation in which social media has come to dominate the music industry, with TikTok is changing the way hits are made, how music is promoted, and how the world discovers it.

Virtually unknown artists can now reach millions of viewers overnight with a single release.

Mr Claes said: “How to become viral is one of the first things you think about when you’re getting into music now.

“It’s still kind of crazy to me because even when I was younger it wasn’t like this.

“I don’t really do that. I use word of mouth and hope that the song is good enough that is gets shared around naturally.

“Having a one hit wonder is actually a fear of mine. The success dies off as quick as it comes on.”

The cover for Mr Claes’ recent single, ‘I’d rather’ (Picture: Dylan Lawler)

From the age of seven, Mr Claes had lessons in piano and then guitar. Later on he taught himself the bass and drums.

He said: “Since I was really young I have been interested in anything that makes noise.

“I got a Yamaha keyboard when I was seven, and that was the best thing for me.

“As I got older I started recording things and then putting them together, layering my vocals over the top. That’s what was fun to me. I loved it.”

Mr Claes said his parents have been very supportive in his career so far.

He said: “Especially my mum, she’s such an emotional person. I love that about her. She’s the beacon in my life.

“She was elated when I got played on the radio. I’m so lucky to have support from them both.”

Mr Claes has already taken to the stage at South London venues including Hootananny’s in Brixton and Off the Cuff in Herne Hill. Looking to the future, he is hoping to go on tour and will be releasing another album next year.

Pictured top: Milo Claes (Picture: Jackson Laing)

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