As a child, “Tease Queen” Melody Sweets performed choreographed numbers for her neighborhood, dancing to the hits of Salt ‘n’ Pepa, and later moved to New York City to form her own band. It was there that the producers of Caesars Palace‘s Absinthe saw her on stage and invited her to become part of the show. Four years later, the show is still one of the edgiest in Las Vegas; Sweets plays the role of the Green Fairy. She recently released her debut album, “Burlesque in Black.”
What does sexy mean to you?
Confidence. I don’t think there is sexy without confidence.
What do you think is sexy about Vegas?
I think the freedom here, the fact that people come here to have a good time; they lose a lot of their inhibitions and let go. That also takes confidence to do. You come here and take on a different persona, go into party mode. I think freedom is sexy.
What is your perfect summer day in Las Vegas?
Hanging out by my pool with a cocktail in my hand with all my friends over—have house parties!
Do you like to shop in Vegas?
Yes. It’s a problem.
Where do you like to shop?
(Laughing) I’ll shop anywhere. I’m a big shopper of shoes.
You have a lot of choices here.
There’s too many choices—I have to lock myself away sometimes.
Had you been to Vegas before you came here with Absinthe?
Yes, the one and only time was Sept. 11. I was here with 30 friends for my friend’s birthday that weekend, and it was surreal, because we ended up being stuck here because all of the flights were grounded. Being from New York, I had lived only about 10 blocks away from the World Trade Center at that time. It was terrifying. When we finally left Las Vegas, I didn’t come back until Absinthe, so it was so interesting to see what a different energy there was.
How much of an adjustment was it moving here from New York?
It’s a completely different animal here. When I first came here, I only had this idea of Vegas that the media tells you, and your experience of Vegas when you only come here for a weekend and you stay in the casinos and you’re partying. You don’t think about life here. When I moved here, I had those ideas about it, and I didn’t like it —I hid in my hotel room for the first week! But after getting to know the area and other artists in town, I quickly learned to love this place. Now, you can’t get rid of me!
Could you give us a glimpse of what it’s like behind the scenes at “Absinthe”?
That’s where the show really is. It’s so much fun because you have such characters. We’re from all over the world, so there’s this interesting mix of people from different cultures. Everyone’s humor is different, and there are a lot of pranks that are pulled. Most of all, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a circus!
Do you choose your own numbers for the show?
Yes, the songs that I sing are my own, and that’s been an honor for me.
What were you like as a child? Were you interested in performing and singing?
Yes. I was a little tyrant. I used to gather my neighbors down the street and make them do my dance choreography. If they would mess up the choreography, I would stop the act and I’d let them know they weren’t doing it right! I remember dancing to Salt ‘n’ Pepa. I would go around tand invite the neighborhood to our front yard and put dances on. I was doing that when I was eight years old.
When did you get involved in the music scene?
I was forbidden to sing when I was younger, so when I was older I moved to New York [from Southern California]. It was this whole new world. I ended up singing at my friend’s party; she said she loved my voice, and put me in a cover band in her nightclub, and I quickly realized I loved it and that I wanted to continue to sing. Then, another friend had a Halloween burlesque show and asked me to be a part of it, and I said “as long as I can sing.” I just had so much fun and loved it and was continually asked to perform, and here I am!
Did it take you long to get comfortable with burlesque?
I was comfortable right away. I didn’t think about the burlesque element of it. I wasn’t worried about people judging my physical appearance. It was so much more personal to me if someone didn’t like my performance as a singer.
Do you like to travel?
I don’t travel often because I love it so much here, but I do when I can—I just went to Portugal and Rome for a month and it’s just so good to get out of town and have a bit of a culture shock.
When you go somewhere new, what’s the first thing you do to make it feel like home?
I kind of just eat and drink my way through the country. That’s my favorite thing to do—just to have a plane ticket there, plane ticket back home and have no rules or limitations. Just go. Get lost.
What do you take with you when you travel?
Lots of shoes. I don’t wear all of them, but you can never have enough shoes!
What’s your favorite guilty indulgence?