She transforms love letters into music and turns her dreams into reality. If there's one girl who knows how to funnel her personal experiences into creative music content, it's Meiko. We had the pleasure of interviewing the rising singer-songwriter, and we can confirm that her personality is just as bright and shiny as her songs.
Born and raised in the small town of Roberta, Georgia, Meiko set out on her own to Southern California at the age of 18 to make a name for herself in the music industry. Not only did she accomplish this, but her hit single "Stuck On You" topped the music charts in Japan and allowed her to go on tour there. Meiko is a star just waiting to be discovered—and you can quote us on that. Read on to learn more about her music inspirations, her fascination with Japan, her essentials for songwriting and her plans for the future.
Q: How did it feel to start getting recognized for your music talent?
Meiko: It was incredibly exciting! As a kid, it was always my dream to perform in front of audiences all over the world. Going on an international tour felt like a dream come true.
Q: How did your music get so popular in Japan?
Meiko: I was signed to Fantasy Records/Concord Records in late 2011, and when I first met with my label, they asked me what I wanted out of my career. I told them that the one thing I wanted most was to put out a record in Japan. They promised to make that happen. Shortly after, Concord Records teamed up with their sister label, Universal Japan, to promote and release my album, "The Bright Side." Japan ended up loving the album and my single, "Stuck On You," rose to No. 1 on the radio.
Soon after that, I embarked on an international tour and performed for audiences all over the world. I'm one-quarter Japanese, so touring in Japan was really meaningful for me. It was the first time I had ever been to Japan. It was such a special experience and the No. 1 thing I wanted to do on my bucket list.
Q: Who or what has influenced your music?
Meiko: I've always listened to strong female songwriters. Growing up, Patty Griffin and Edie Brickell were two of my favourite singers who shaped my music and outlook on life.
But the strongest influences on my music are my own personal experiences. Instead of getting caught up in the sadness of breakups and betrayal, I write letters to my ex-lovers. Then I convert them into lyrics without ever sending them. This way, I can express the feelings I'm not able to say to people through song. It's a truly cathartic experience.
Q: Can you describe your songwriting process?
Meiko: When I need to focus on my music, my go-to spot is my living room floor. I sit down with my Gibson guitar, a glass of wine and a felt tip pen, and then write down all my music on thick 8 x 10 inch card stock printer paper. I can just sit there and nerd out on my guitar for hours.
Q: What do you want your fans to take away from your music?
Meiko: I want them to feel what I personally take away from music—a deep connection that somehow explains what I'm not able to describe myself. I'd like to help my fans sort through their emotions and give them something that resonates with them.
Q: Which music video was your favourite to create?
Meiko: I would say "Boys with Girlfriends" because it was the first music video I ever made. It was awesome to be chased by a giant bear in a dress around LA. And it was hilarious to see innocent bystanders staring at us and wondering what we were doing. That was definitely the most fun I've ever had making a music video.
Music videos should be creative. The last thing I want is a boring shot of me in front of the camera with my guitar. I like when my music videos have a comedic storyline and reflect my humour and personality.
"Boys With Girlfriends"
Q: What's your favourite venue for performing?
Meiko: I love the Hotel Café in Hollywood. That venue holds a special place in my heart because I used to work there as a waitress, and it's where I really started my career. I have a strong connection to it, and even recorded a live album there that was a compilation of all my best songs.
Q: As a music artist, do you have any good luck rituals before performing?
Meiko: My pre-concert ritual is pretty typical. But I love food, so any time I play in a different city, I always try and find out where the best local food is. Then I'll go and sit by myself, eat a fantastic dinner and collect my thoughts before going back to the venue and playing a show. They say you're not supposed to eat cheese before you sing, but that's not stopping me!
Q: Are you familiar with High-Resolution Audio?
Meiko: Yes, and I appreciate the fact that there's a market that allows people to listen to music as it was intended. Sound quality is extremely important to music artists. You work on this art piece, and you make it as great as you can. When people can't listen to the full dimensions of your music, it loses its luster.
Q: Can your fans expect a new album soon?
Meiko: Yeah! I'm working on a new record, and I'm eager to record some new songs and a few old songs I've written and have been waiting to record. Since becoming an independent artist, I have a lot more creative freedom that I'm excited to tap into. I plan on releasing my new music album in the spring or summer of 2016.