Meresha | Indie Music Monday interview
By Candice Anne Marshall
IMM – Hello Meresha! Welcome to Indie Music Monday! We have you hosted on our site for the week of April 24th, 2017. Can you tell us what your thoughts were when you found out?
Meresha: Amazing. I remember when I was starting out in music coming across Indie Music Bus. The artists featured seems like they were so far ahead of me. Fast forward a few years and I’m a featured artist. Just shows anything is possible if you work at it every day.
IMM – Let’s begin with some compliments – I am not usually drawn to digital pop music – but your vocals completely had me at first listen. I am very happy to have been introduced to your sound via Walter Hargrave at Indie Music Monday! What is the typical reaction you get from people hearing your sound for the first time?
Thanks Candice. That is very kind. While my music is usually digital electro-pop, I draw inspiration from a broad range of great music. Hopefully that comes through.
I’ve been compared sometimes to singers like Annie Lennox and artists like Björk, which are both great compliments. People say I have a more mature sound than they were expecting at first glance.
My upcoming EP includes some musicians who played with Beck, Stevie Nicks, Alanis Morrissette and others.
I’m working with the legendary Joe Chiccarelli who has a collection of Grammys. He’s putting the final touches on new songs right now working within the walls where the biggest albums of Prince, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin were recorded in L.A. Hope some of that magic will find its way onto my tunes.
IMM – How impressive to land on the Billboard Top 40 charts three times! What was that like for you?
The first time, my name was literally between Adele, Justin Bieber and One Direction on the chart. Can you imagine? Me – an Indie artist working hard without a label army. It was pretty unbelievable. When I got the report, I thought someone was pranking me.
Still, I’ve got a way to go. Do you know there was never an Indie artist number 1 on US Pop radio charts? It is really hard to break through all the label-supported talent.
IMM – May I ask how old you are presently? I feel you are an old soul and deeply spiritual and connected to your own individuality. Am I accurate in my assessment?
I’m 20. Some people say I’m not from this planet. That seems like a good thing. I do try to experience the world a bit differently. I love being outside, immersing myself in art of various kinds, reading great novels.
IMM – You call yourself an Artist, Vegan, and Alien Lover – What other characteristics or hobbies do you have?
I do a lot of sports – blading, paddle boarding, biking, running, etc. I also have an unrenewed Zumba instructor license. When I can, I travel in Europe and the US. Next on my list is Japan, though I don’t have anything scheduled yet.
IMM – Has music always been a part of your life? How did you navigate the waters toward this career path?
I wrote and recorded my first song when I was 12 (in a mall CD booth). It is still online – “Fool Don’t Be”. Since then, I have wanted to do music. I did a Kickstarter at 16 that helped me get that song and others out, and have not looked back since.
Hopefully I will get to the point where I can live from my art. In any case, I am learning as much as I can about music overall – the business, the theory, etc. so that I can at least try to work in music.
IMM – Who has been the most supportive of your career other than family?
My high school Performing Arts (and Spanish) teacher Mrs. Salivar. I changed High School Sophomore year. It was not an easy transition for me. As a vegan, artsy type I did not always fit in. Mrs. Salivar, though, immediately got me involved in the arts – dancing, singing, performing. Think I had 12 roles in the variety show my first year. She continues to help. She even helped improve the wording in my first song in Spanish “Juntos”.
IMM – I am in love with your most recent single ‘My Love Has Come’ – can you tell me which is your favorite recording and why?
That is a special one for sure, and the one that has been the most popular one so far. We shot the video for it in a stone-cold warehouse by the docks in Boston. Most of the time, I was in a thin dress often sitting on the concrete floor. The Director Teo made sure you don’t see it in the video, but I was shivering much of the day.
IMM – When you are songwriting, where do you go to for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from many sources – from nature, my travels, things I experience and things I observe. Books I read like those of Haruki Murakami also take me to new places, and awaken my imagination.
IMM – I saw that you performed alongside Adam Lambert and Third Eye Blind – what was that experience like?
That was amazing. It was my biggest show up to that point. With headliners like that, I had a built-in crowd. Since it was in Boca Raton, not too far away from where I went to High School, there were a lot of people too who I knew in the audience. Middle and High Schoolers from my school even organized a flash mob for my song “New Revolution” with some of them on stage. Didn’t want to steal the show from the other guys, but I think people will remember that night.
Was also great to meet the other musicians. Spent the most time with Adam and his band who were on after us, and had a dressing room across from ours. They are good people who put on a great show which I got to watch from behind the scenes. Seeing how the audience reacted from Adam’s perspective was very cool.
IMM – Let’s talk about your song ‘Juntos’ which released late last year. The lyrics are in your Spanish tongue correct? What can you tell us about the song and can we expect more Spanish music in your future recordings?
Right. “Juntos” is my first song in Spanish, but not my last. I’ve spent time in Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain and love Latin culture. Right now, I am looking with the right person to possibly sing a song with, or otherwise collaborate to take things to another dimension.
IMM – What has been the media response to your music in terms of Radio and Entertainment websites and blogs?
I’ve been blessed by getting the support of people like Walter who support Indie artists. I really appreciate that they take the time to write about us and share our music. It is all about getting your message out to as many people as you can.
As far as radio goes, I’ve gotten support from market-leading stations like WRMF and music people like Kid Kelly at Sirius XM. My music has been played on Indie, college and commercial stations. While streaming has taken off, radio remains a way many people discover new artists. It is very tough to break through on radio, but worth the effort.
IMM – Can you recall an interview that was most memorable to you and why?
I did an interview on live TV on Cape Cod a while back. I was still pumped after playing a live concert on the station. Not sure everything I said was coherent, but I do remember that I really enjoyed it.
IMM – What has the support been like among your peers?
What I notice is that artists tend to be very supportive of each other. There are a lot of us, and it is important to shout out when one of your fellow artists is doing amazing things. If all of us do it, the best will shine.
IMM – Do you have any other talents aside from your music career we don’t know about?
Besides Just Dance on the Xbox?
IMM – Can you tell us what a normal day in your life would be like? Many young people idolize Musicians but they don’t often know what goes on behind the scenes and how tough the music industry can be….
I work on my art every day. Besides trying to eat healthy and exercise, most of my day is filled with learning about music, playing the keyboard and training my voice. I write music when I can, and otherwise try to absorb new inspirations. I’m on a bunch of social media platforms and try to stay in touch with as many fans and supporters as I can every day. Really, there is more that you could do to advance your music every day than is humanly possible to do. Think the people who make it and build a career are working on those things all the time.
IMM – What kinds of pressures are there for you in keeping to a schedule in terms of your creative recording process and execution of your music to the masses?
While there is some pressure to keep creating new music, as an Indie you have freedoms which keeps this to a lower level. You can create whatever music you want and release it when you want, in whatever form you want. If something doesn’t work, you can take it down, or just try again. You won’t get kicked off the Label for failure. You are the label.
IMM – Are there any tour plans for the remainder of 2017? Any festivals you will be attending during the summer months?
Saturday night May 6, 7:15 PM I am playing on the main stage at SunFest. My set will be 30 minutes long, which is awesome. I’ll be premiering 2 new songs, playing some of my best, and playing 2 covers by Queen and the Weeknd. Since over 250,000 people usually attend SunFest, it is a big night.
Some other individual Festivals are in the works. Right now, I do not have a tour planned, but it would be great to open for a more established artist I respect at some point soon.
IMM – Where do you find your fanbase is the most concentrated in terms of countries?
It seems I have fans globally, even if it is still relatively early in my career. In the US obviously, because I am based here, but I’ve also been in contact with fans from almost every European country. Might help that I was born in Europe.
My Spanish songs “Juntos” was played on Spanish radio, and throughout Latin America. Many people there have asked that I come play live. Hopefully that will happen at some point.
Australian blogs have kindly written about me. A recent video of mine featured Japanese-style chibi Anime me, and I heard from a lot of supporters in Asia when that came out.
IMM – Which radio stations would you like to acknowledge in this interview and give a shout out to?
WRMF including Leo the music decider. Kevin Rolston from the KVJ morning show was key, together with Virginia and Jason. They all took a chance on me to play their No Snow Ball in front of thousands, and to play “My love has come” on their station before other big stations did. That type of support rarely happens for Indie artists anymore, and is very special.
IMM – In terms of your music videos – who is your ‘go-to’ team?
I have worked with David Rousseau on “New Revolution”. David worked with Shakira, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias and many others while being based out of Miami. Who knows, we may do a new video together….
IMM – Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?
I keep a notebook of ideas which I something go back to. New songs start in various places, sometimes with a melody or set of notes, sometimes with lyrics. There isn’t one way that they get created. Even when I record songs, I sometimes come back to them several times and rearrange them before they are ready.
IMM – What instrument do you create your music on?
I have a David Smith Prophet 12 Keyboard on which I do most of my composing. It’s not with me right now, so I am having some withdrawal symptoms. One of my bandmates has a great Moog, which might be something I have to test out too.
IMM – Can you tell us what tour life is like and which were your most memorable live performances?
I flew many miles once to see Paramore in the Chicago House of Blues. I arrived early, went to their restaurant hours before, and somehow managed to convince them to let me in the music hall with the first fans. I saw Hayley and the guys in the front row of the Mosh pit. It was amazing.
Last year, I co-Headlined a House of Blues show. I know that some of the people there came out especially to see me live. It’s now my job to create memories for them. That’s what keeps me going.
IMM – What does success mean to you?
Success is enjoying what you do. I’m working hard to make music that thing. The jury is still out on whether I can build a sustainable career and live from my music, but being able to stay on path would itself be a success.
IMM – Okay, final question Meresha – can you tell us five things you would like to see happen in terms of your career and growth as a Musician in the next 12 months?
- MTV music award
- Billboard Top 10 hit
- Global tour
- Collaboration with someone cool.
Yeah, I know, probably not going to happen, but if you can dream it, might happen.
The EP I have coming out soon is called “Enter the Dreamland” (Spoiler alert). With it, I’m inviting all earthlings to join me on my new journey. I hope many do.
Thank you Meresha!
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