FYIG Chats With Singer/Songwriter Merilette

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hey there! My name is Merilette. I’m an independent producer, singer, and songwriter from San Antonio, Texas. I make emotional synthpop music, ranging from soft and dreamy to heavy and loud.

You’ve been trained in classical violin from a young age. Is it safe to say a music career was always in your sights?

Absolutely! Violin was my first instrument, but as a child, I tried many others (thank you to my parents for letting me, as we were quite poor) including guitar, piano, and tuba. Violin was what I liked best out of those, but voice stood head and shoulders above all.

I’d find any opportunity to sing in front of other people and can vividly remember singing the theme song for The Phantom of the Opera – both the male and female parts – in third grade at my elementary school’s talent show. Fun story – I had first asked my father if I could sing “Misery” by Green Day at the talent show. He said no, and I could not understand why. I think about that and laugh pretty often.

By the time I was 13, I found myself making orchestral arrangements (sheet music) for video game music because I was frustrated at not being able to find it online. I think that sparked my love of arrangement and production. By 14, I was writing and performing pop music, playing at small local festivals and theaters, and finding any music competition in town that I could enter. I was hungry for it!

How would you describe your musical style?

Synthpop with a story! I put a lot of effort into carefully producing songs around the emotion of that story – every tiny hihat, pad synth, violin pluck, and transitioning sweep is put there and modulated to support the feeling I want listeners to get from the song. I try to challenge myself and write from different emotional standpoints, so some songs are quiet and thoughtful while others are aggressive and angry. Being varied, but cohesive is very important to me!

How have you evolved as an artist since your debut album?

Oh god, so many ways. I was 17 when I released my debut album, and like most people, that is the time of profound growth. My songs were a lot less developed, both lyrically and musically.

Like many teenagers, I wasn’t as introspective as I am now, and I carried some misplaced confidence. I also had never made an album before, and doing it independently means a lot of stress and overwhelm – I had less time to work on the music because I was simultaneously planning two big album release shows, a music video, merch design and manufacturing, music distribution, CD manufacturing, marketing, public relations, and social media strategy – all while working 30-40 hours a week to pay for it. I had to leave traditional high school and start taking classes online.

Because of all of this, there are certainly lyrical/musical choices I made that I look back on and cringe just a tiny bit at. I was also really burnt out after that album and didn’t release anything until now – almost five years later. I could call the reasons ‘mistakes’, but I prefer to see them as what they are – learning experiences. I took two years to learn my DAW (music creation program) inside and out. I wrote tons of songs. I started using fewer metaphors and writing more literally, like a diary. The most important thing I learned, however, is that I need to limit myself and keep my stress levels low. I’m so excited to evolve more!

What can you tell us about your latest single, “I’m Coming With You”?

Both the lyrics and the music came together within 30 minutes. I’ve never written a song that easily, but at the same time, “I’m Coming With You” was the most difficult song I’ve ever written.

I fell in love and got married a few years ago. After being hurt by so many men, I felt incredibly lucky to have found one that was everything I wanted – kind, introspective, open-minded, passionate about human rights, smart as a whip, but humble. He’s never minded my struggle with mental illness and trauma, and he’s always been supportive of me finding new ways to cope. Always supportive of my career. Our relationship is beyond gentle and understanding. We haven’t fought – not even once. I’ve never felt as loved as he makes me feel.

But he’s a lot older than me. When we first started dating, the concern with that was “What will people think?”. That slowly morphed into “What am I going to do when you’re gone?”.

I cried a lot while writing this song because it’s something that terrifies me. There’s a good chance that I will have to live without him for a while. My eyes just welled up writing that sentence. But this is what makes good music, so I’m really glad I put it into a song.

Do you have plans for a new EP or full-length album in the near future?

I do! I will be making an announcement within the next month and a half. I’m really excited and it’s hurting my soul a little bit to not tell you everything. Soon I will tell!

What’s next for your career?

New music! Lots of it! I’ll be getting back into performing live. Also, I’m going to do more production for other artists.

What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?

Make shitty music. Write shitty songs. Allow them to be shitty. Don’t be petrified by the idea of writing shitty songs, because everyone writes them. Get comfortable with it, because, otherwise, you won’t learn how to consistently write good songs.

Also – start analyzing songs you like. From all different genres. Listen really, really closely. Try to hear things you didn’t before. This is how I learned the most!

What’s your life like outside of music?

I have two Labrador retrievers, three rats, and a husband that I love dearly. I love dog training. I love plants and have over 100 houseplants in my bedroom. I’m currently growing a new houseplant business, so my life is pretty consistent in that I wake up, snuggle with the dog, work on music, take care of plants, sleep, repeat. I help out a few times a month at a friend’s studio in Austin, TX – but that’s music again, oops. My husband and I share a love of car culture and race our little 1999 Mazda Miata in autocross competitions! That is one of my most favorite things in the world – I forget about everything that is causing me stress when I’m throwing that car around a course.

Let the readers know where to find you online.

My website is: www.merilette.com

My Spotify artist page is: https://tinyurl.com/stynqbo

My Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/merilette

My Twitter page is: www.twitter.com/iammerilette

And my Instagram is: www.instagram.com/merilette