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Q&A With Mereki: Making Music for the Modern Fairy

Cover photo by Brian Daly courtesy of Big Hassle

 

Dreamy indie pop artist Mereki hails from Australia, but she has lived across the globe, spending time in Sweden, London, Melbourne, New York, and Los Angeles. Over time and seas, she began writing and releasing original music, collaborating with the likes of Justin Raisen (Charli XCX, Sky Ferreira), Dan Nigro (Olivia Rodrigo, Conan Gray, Caroline Polachek), and Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Vampire Weekend, Madonna, Adele) on various projects.


Photo by Lizzy Born

With lyricism and messaging dedicated to spirituality and mental health awareness, Mereki's music functions not only as her creative outlet, but also as a source of comfort for fans worldwide. She is a true creative entrepreneur, developing a record label, writing a children's book and a poetry collection, and building a photography portfolio–all while pursuing her musical artistry. Her pop-up event platform, Mereki's Clubhouse, emphasizes positivity and spotlights rising female talents. The effectiveness of the pop-up's "Be Kind" motto led to its reformation into a non-profit organization

Mereki's debut single "Blue Lake" immediately indicated her potential as a songwriter and performer. Her following releases garnered attention and her ever-expanding audience began to discover more sides to Mereki. LP Death Of A Cloud dropped on March 24, 2023. The full-length album embodies Mereki's ethereal, positive energy, and centers around processes of healing from loss and living every moment to the fullest. Mereki feels like a sonic sister to ethereal Norwegian pop star AURORA, with soft and entrancing vocals floating over feel-good indie pop arrangements.


Simply put, Death Of A Cloud is a no-skip album. Second track "Presence" combines lilting background vocal harmonies with bright piano to create a mid-tempo anthem. "Phone Call" inspires a gentle nostalgia for love of all kinds. The song's lyrics stand out as equally warm and heart wrenching, given the project's subject matter: "All I want is another phone call from you / Don't need much / Just to hear you breathin' / On the other end of the line / I'll catch you on the other side". The addition of strings to the end of this emotional ballad demonstrates Mereki's next-level attention to detail. As a whole, Death Of A Cloud highlights the artist's authentic emotional and musical growth, taking listeners on a journey of self-reflection and reconciliation.


We talked with Mereki about her inspirations, new album, and practices of meditation and presence. Read the interview below and check out Death Of A Cloud now. What do you want to see covered next on Enharmonic Magazine? Let us know.


 

How did you get started in music?

I’ve been singing since I was a baby. According to my mom, I was always humming a tune. As I got older, I started journaling; I’m a big writer and I wake up every morning and write at least three pages. I did choir and all of that at school, but I was a bit shy, so it wasn’t until I went to Uni that I joined my first band in Melbourne. When I moved to the States, I started doing a bunch of demos and pop songwriting. I toured as a vocalist for a couple of electronic acts and started to release my own music.


What were you listening to most growing up?

I listened to a real mixture of different genres. I loved the Beastie Boys, but I also loved Aqua and the Spice Girls. I loved a beautiful woman named Angelique Kidjo and I’d listen to one of her albums every night before bed. Then there was all the classic stuff that was on the radio all the time… It was a lot of Australian rock music. That was all the soundtrack to my upbringing: the church, INXS, Midnight Oil, and more.


Who are your biggest influences now?

Kate Bush is a huge, huge influence for me and so is Lana del Rey. I also really love Blur. I recently saw them play Wembley and was just reminded of how influential they are. Again, it's a bit of a mix, but I also like the Spice Girls a lot.


Describe your sound in three words.

Magical, spiritual, and fun.


Let’s delve into your songwriting. Where do you find your inspiration?

People always say this, but I feel like it’s true… Sometimes when you’re writing it’s not actually coming from you, but you’re channeling the art. It’s just falling from the sky into your mind, your heart, or your hand as you’re writing. I definitely feel that way about melodies because to me, those are really magical and appear out of nowhere for me when I’m singing. I’m also really influenced by conversations with friends or books I’m reading. I find nature and life in general to be endlessly inspiring. I’m never short of something to write about.


"It’s just falling from the sky into your mind, your heart, or your hand as you’re writing."

What are you reading right now?

At the moment, I’m reading Rick Rubin’s book, The Creative Way. I just finished The Artist’s Way, which is an older, sort of creative handbook. The two books actually say a lot of similar things. I recently heard a really cool snippet from Lauryn Hill about how you take a long time to make a record but are then expected to put another one out immediately or within the year (especially for very successful artists). Within a year, though, you can’t have lived enough life to create that full new piece of art. Both books I mentioned touch on that. Your creativity is your life, you know? Creativity is like your spirituality. I really believe that all of those things are totally intertwined and what I’m making creatively is a reflection of my life. Sometimes, you need time for that to be lived.


Which parts of a song do you usually write songs?

I write a lot, like I said, but I would say generally it’s not chords first. Usually, my songs either start with a poem or lyrics I’ve written. Other times, I’ll go for a walk in the forest and come back with a full chorus or verse melody that’s popped into my head. Sometimes those have lyrics that go along with them, as well, but it changes from song to song. I have a setup where I can just play with random chords and sing. I like the practice of playing whatever comes out on its own. It’s fun to occasionally throw caution to the wind and see what happens.


"It’s fun to occasionally throw caution to the wind and see what happens."

Tell us about your most recent album, Death Of A Cloud.

It was a long process. It began after my father passed away and I wrote one of the oldest songs on the record, called “Phone Call”. That was about grief and then from there, the project veered into this journey through grief and into self-realization. I really dove into the different modalities that helped me overcome that, including meditation and presence, and it became less about the grief of losing my father and more about this new way of living. Death Of A Cloud is about finding joy and comfort within everyday life.


What are some of the practices that you found in that process?

Meditation became very important for me early on. I found some moments of quiet each day that were dedicated to clearing my thoughts. The mind has a tendency to run rampant. Spending time in nature every day also really helped me and continues to do so. One of my favorite books is Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and he speaks about the power of now, which just focuses on being present. It sounds like a really simple concept, but anyone who practices presence knows that it’s not just a daily practice–it’s a forever practice. It’s really difficult, as a human being, to bring yourself back to each present moment. There’s only ever something wrong in the past or in the future, it’s not very often right now.


I also practice non-resistance, which is basically just accepting the full spectrum of emotions and feelings we have, regardless of what’s happening. It’s about allowing yourself to feel everything, even the darker shades of emotions, so that we can find more depth and meaning in joy.


"There’s only ever something wrong in the past or in the future, it’s not very often right now."

What is your favorite song on the album?

I always say that my favorite is “Lilies Of The Valley”, which is basically a fairy song in my mind. I don’t remember writing it at all… I have no idea where it came from or why, but when I perform it, it transports me to a magical place. It’s also one of the weirdest songs on the album.


What’s next for Mereki?

I have some shows in Europe coming up and I’m also working on album number two! It’s already well underway, so I’m really excited about that. I have a couple more visuals for some of the songs on my most recent record still to come out.


If you could go back in time to when you were starting your career and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say?

It would definitely be to listen to myself more. As human beings, we are told to externalize our power a lot. We’re told that someone else always knows better and I don’t believe that from my experience. If I quiet my mind and look within, that’s where all the really good stuff lives, the stuff that’s put me in unison with my authenticity, joy, and purpose.


Who are three more artists you’d like to see covered on Enharmonic Magazine next?

My friend Lael Neale would be a super cool artist to write about. I’m obsessed with all of her records. It would be amazing if you could get Kate Bush to come speak on here (*Kate Bush, if you’re watching…) I also love Jockstrap.


 



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