By Candice Anne Marshall
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview Florida-based three-time Billboard top 40 charting Artist and voting member in the Grammy process (as part of The Recording Academy) Meresha on the Indie Music Monday platform. Last Friday she launched her new EP ‘Enter The Dreamland’ and has already received rave reviews from fans and media globally. Popularity aside, Meresha has impressed me with her ability to remain grounded, focused, and consistent both personally and professionally.There are no airs about this young lady -whether she is performing in front of thousands of her fans or just chilling on the beach meditating, she continues to remain personable and authentic. This is apparent on all of her social media and in her art. Even in the wake of her success on the Billboard charts previous (let’s not count the fact that she was placed between Adele and Justin Bieber right off the hop!), she continues to strive for excellence (and continuing to remain authentic) with her new content, and ‘Enter The Dreamland’ is the result.
When we breakdown the five-song EP, each track can best be described as a sacred work of art. Nothing about Meresha’s art is of the ‘cookie cutter’ sort we hear these days and the production work from multi-Grammy Award Winner Joe Chiccarelli (whose work includes Elton John, Beck, Christina Perri, Glenn Frey to name a few) supports my statement.
Here’s a break-down of ‘ENTER THE DREAMLAND’:
Enter The Dreamland – is ethereal, lush, and vibrant. Modern sound and gentle vocals make this a powerful piece that should be heard loud and on your best speaker system. And probably at night. It’s like capturing a unicorn in a jar – magical and combustible.
Stardust – Take a trip into outer space with this number. Essentially, Meresha considers herself an Alien and this is most definitely the club sound of the summer. It is fast, fun, and throbs in the veins.
Jungle Potion – is a follow up from Stardust with some sensational instrumental pieces woven throughout. Not my most favorite number but still a quality track.
Violet Night – Now THIS is the sweet spot on the album in my opinion. This song pulls from Meresha’s Spanish roots lyrically and instrumentally while still making this something fresh. I believe it was LIGHTS who I discovered in 2008 when they began making their debut into the Canadian music scene and this single reminds me of that ‘Drive My Soul’ vibe. Side note: Lights has over a million active fans and followers globally – Meresha is already well on her way there. I predict big things from this track in the future of Meresha’s career.
Lights Out – The final song on this track is sensual in its composition lyrically and vocally. In our interview (below) Meresha said that she will leave interpretation to the listener on this song, but for this listener, this is a sexy little number that leaves this album on a positive note.
More please, Meresha!
SMC SPOTLIGHT Exclusive Interview | MERESHA ‘Enter The Dreamland’
SMC – Hello Meresha! Welcome to Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC)! I have previously interviewed you on Indie Music Monday but for the sake of our readers here on SMC, can you please tell us a little about yourself: where you are from, your age, what got you started in music?
Meresha – Hi Candice. Thanks for asking me back!
I’m a (musical) artist, vegan & alien luver. I was born in Europe and am now US East Coast-based. Some suspect I’m actually an alien, but I don’t comment on rumors.
I wrote my first song when I was 12, and recorded it about 8 years ago in a CD booth in South Florida.
SMC – Your new album ‘Enter The Dreamland’ is just stunning! I especially like the song ‘Violet Night’. There are a lot of ethereal influences woven throughout the lyrics and even in the instrumentation. Can you tell us why this theme?
Meresha – Sometimes you have to open your eyes to see the beauty around you. We get so wrapped up in the everyday that we often miss it. As I write:
“I have found the puzzle piece
it is right in front of me”
this was always meant to be
our eyes open galaxies”
SMC – You just launched (June 11th, 2017) your video for ‘Enter The Dreamland’. Can you tell us who the creative team was behind this video?
Meresha – For this video, I worked once again with David Rousseau and his team. He was the Director of my “New Revolution” video. David has done a lot of amazing work including videos with billions of views for acts like PitBull, Magic!, Enrique Iglesias and Shakira. Despite all his success, he is really down to earth and very practical in getting great footage. His team was amazing managing a shoot in 2 stunning locations 90 minutes away from each other, all in one (very long) day.
SMC – “Lights Out” is also another beautiful song – I feel this is going to be one of those power songs that make it big off an album. What is the song about?
Meresha – Thanks! “Lights Out” was the last song I wrote for the album. I’ll leave interpretation of the song to the listener. Some might hear something sensual, others something spiritual, while others something else. This can change too depending on when you are listening.
SMC – Which is your favorite song off this album and why?
Meresha – I’ve lived with all 5 songs for a while. Some I originally wrote over a year ago, and kept working on them. Hard to pick a favorite, though I guess you always love most the last thing you did, like “Lights Out”. Mainly, though, I’m just excited that I can finally share my work with the world.
SMC – Your album art is gorgeous! I did see that you like to involve your fans in the decision-making process on your album art – can you tell us what the best advice was and how it helped you make a final decision?
Meresha – Picking album art is hard. In this case, there were probably over 100 different ideas and mock-ups. I had ideas submitted from different people. I shared the base picture and let them manipulate it, or have it inspire some original art. A few hundred fans gave detailed comments and helped steer me on the final choice. I’m really glad you like it, but it really was a team effort. The whole team deserves any credit.
SMC –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?
Meresha – I’ve heard people say that my music was deeper and more interesting than they were expecting. Guess that is a good thing.
SMC – How impressive to land on the Billboard Top 40 charts three times! Can you tell us where you were and how you reacted when you landed on it the first time?
Meresha – I did not really believe it when I got the first reports. I entered the charts the first time right in between Adele and Justin Bieber. That’s something that is really hard for an Indie artist to do. Label artists have armies supporting them. I guess the secret is to have some guerilla tactics. I sent every single station that could play my music a handwritten individual note and a CD that looked like a vinyl 45, and asked for their support. Maybe the personal touch and a bit of being different helped get their attention. In any case, I was grateful so many stations took the risk to play the music of a new Indie artist.
SMC – Who has been the most supportive of your career other than family?
Meresha – 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”.
SMC – When you are songwriting, where do you go to for inspiration?
Meresha – 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.
SMC – You have performed alongside Adam Lambert and Third Eye Blind – what was that experience like?
Meresha – 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. It was a memorable night.
Meresha – 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.
SMC – Let’s talk about your song ‘Juntos’ which released late last year – the lyrics are in Spanish correct? I definitely hear Latin influences in this new album.
Meresha – Right. “Juntos” is my first song in Spanish, but not my last. I’ve spent time in Costa Rica, Cuba, Spain & Mexico and love Latin culture. Maybe I’ll do a duet at some point with a Latin artist. Some of the sounds from my travels in Latin countries and the Caribbean can be heard on the EP, especially in songs like “Jungle Potion”.
SMC – What has been the media response to your music in terms of Radio and Entertainment websites and blogs? Have there been any other Media platforms who have lined up an interview or promotion to coincide with your release?
Meresha – I’ve been blessed by getting the support of media 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. Some journalists that wrote about me before are covering the “Enter the Dreamland” launch. New sites are covering me too for the first time (like yours), which is very cool.
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.
SMC – Can you recall an interview that was most memorable to you and why?
Meresha – 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.
SMC – What has the support been like among your peers?
Meresha – 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 and shine a light on them. If all of us do it, the best will be found.
SMC – Can you list at least 5 talents/hobbies aside from your music career we don’t know about?
Meresha – Besides Just Dance on the Xbox? I love languages – have studied 6 and can say I speak 3. Travel is a passion. I’ve been across parts of Europe and Latin America. Asia is next on my list. Whenever I can, I do different sports like running, paddle boarding, blading, etc.
SMC – 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….
Meresha – I work on my art every day. Most of my day is filled with learning about music, playing instruments and Deejay-ing. 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.
SMC – 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?
Meresha – 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.
SMC – Are there any tour plans for the remainder of 2017? Any festivals you will be attending during the summer months?
Meresha – I played SunFest last month, which was amazing. Some video from that is on Meresha.com. Probably 40,000 heard me debut “Enter the Dreamland” and “Stardust” together with 6 other songs.
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.
SMC – Where do you find your fanbase is the most concentrated in terms of countries?
Meresha – My launch June 23 is global, though right now I’m focusing on the US and Canada. I’ve been as high at #6 on the iTunes Pop Album pre-order chart in the States in the last days. This week, we are also presenting “Enter the Dreamland” to Canadian radio. It will be my first time going for radio play there. Will be interesting to see if my music resonates there.
I do have fans internationally including quite a few in Latin America, Japan/Asia, Australia and Europe. I hope to be able to tour there some time soon.
SMC – Which radio stations would you like to acknowledge in this interview and give a shout out to?
Meresha – WRMF is a hometown station in Florida that took a chance on me. Not only did they play my song “My love has come” on air among the first stations in the US, but they also invited me to play their big yearly No Snow Ball with 1000s of attendees. To get that kind of support as an Indie artist is amazing.
SMC – Can you tell us a bit about your songwriting process?
Meresha – 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.
SMC – What instrument do you create your music on?
Meresha – I have a David Smith Prophet ’12 Keyboard on which I do most of my composing. I’m also working on creating a live show with just me and my Prophet.
SMC – Can you tell us what tour life is like and which were your most memorable live performances?
Meresha – 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 specially to see me live. It’s now my job to create memories for them. That’s what keeps me going.
SunFest last month will certainly be one that I remember for a long time. Getting such a huge crowd to hear my music, some for the first time, and partying to it was great.
SMC – What does success mean to you?
Meresha – 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 the path would itself be a success.
SMC – Okay, final question Meresha – can you tell us five things you would like to see happen in terms of your new album release and its success in the next 3-6 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, you can do it.
Come join me on the adventure!
Meresha’s Social Media Links (click to view)