We recently had the opportunity to sit down with South Florida based (Warsaw born) singer, Meresha. Through this interview, we hope you learn a bit more about Meresha, as we did!
Indie Minded: You’re really young. How old are you and when did you realize that you were going to pursue music as a career?
Meresha: I saw the Black Eyed Peas in Warsaw some years ago. Not long after I saw Paramore at Jones Beach near New York. Both were amazing. I was hooked and knew this is what I had to do. I’m still a teen, but have been at it about 6 years.
IM: Was there an exact moment that you can recall when you knew this was it?
M: It was a few years later after I had already been working on my music. I sang Queen’s Somebody to Love in Warsaw’s largest musical theater with probably 50 dancers behind me and maybe a thousand people in the audience. The thrill of performing with other artists and interacting with the audience was something I had to have more of.
IM: You have a mature sound both musically and vocally. What do you attribute that to?
M: I’ve alway been into great music and hopefully some of that rubs off. Queen, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and others are in my vinyl and CD collection. I’ve had some great coaches who helped me develop my voice without hurting myself. I was lucky to train a few times with the Ron Anderson who worked with a huge range of folks from Hayley Williams and Alicia Keys to Tom Cruise and Adam Levine on their singing.
IM: Your performance of Alicia Keys “Fallin” is great and really puts your raw talent on display. How do you choose which songs to cover and are there any in particular that you’d like to cover in the future?
M: I try to cover challenging songs I like. Lately I’ve been digging through electronic artists I might cover. I recently covered Latch (Sam Smith with Disclosure).
IM: You’ve played as part of a band and now as a solo artist. Which do you prefer and why?
M: Playing in a band is great, but so far I have created my own music myself. Performing it live, though, is a challenge as there are sometimes more than a dozens instruments on the songs. A full live band creates a really dynamic and exciting sound and usually adds some unexpected twists.
IM: What are the challenges that you face as a young indie artist and do you see benefits to remaining independent?
M: You can do a lot of things as an independent – write, record, distribute, promote online, etc. The key challenge is getting noticed among the thousands of talented musicians, and then staying on the radar. The Majors make access to some things easier, like TV (e.g., playing the Tonight Show) and major publications. It seems the differences between being indie and signed are getting smaller, though. If you can afford them, experts are available for PR, lining up gigs, etc. The key questions now when working with Majors is what they can offer, how much focus they’ll give you and what you have to give away in return. Don’t sign your whole career away!
IM: Let’s talk about your new work. Your latest single is called Vida and you also released Acid Bass recently. What is your creative process like and how would you describe your style and influences?
M: Some of my songs start as a lyric and some as a melody on a keyboard. Once the songs have some shape, I add the other instruments one-by-one in my home “studio”. Vida and Acid Bass are both electronic-based dance songs. My tastes are for eccentric songs in many genres. I expect you’ll hear a range of electronic, rock, pop, r&b, rap, etc. over time. Right now, I’m a big fan of artists like Disclosure, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus and James Blake. There’s a lot to learn from legends like Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant too.
IM: If you could collaborate with any one musician or songwriter living or dead, who would it be and why?
M: Would be amazing to have Freddie and Hayley Williams (of Paramore) on the stage at the same time with me. Theater, energy and me… Would you come?
IM: What are you working on for the rest of the year? I read that you may release an EP. Is that still the plan?
M: I am working on several new songs. Hopefully I’ll have them ready in the next few months and will release them as an EP, probably in physical as well as digital versions.
IM: You previously ran a successful Kickstarter campaign. Would you consider another one?
M: The Kickstarter campaign was great. It was amazing to have support from literally around the world. I’d be happy to do another Kickstarter campaign, but probably in some time. I’m not sure fans want to be asked directly for support too often.
IM: Looking to next year, tell us what we can look forward to seeing from you in 2015.
M: I’ve been working song by song lately and probably will continue that. Every month or two, I would expect to put out either one of my own songs or a cool cover. I do expect to perform live in the US (and maybe a bit in Europe) in 2015.
IM: We like to end with this–if we looked at your iPod, what would we find as your guilty pleasure or some artist you might be embarrassed to admit you listen to?
M: Did you see my Miley Cyrus poster?