Interview with Meresha
By: Dennis M. Kelly
Dennis: Good evening Meresha, how are you?
Meresha: Doing great. Thanks! Working on some new tunes ahead of some travels.
Dennis: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, I greatly appreciate it! So, let’s go back to where it all began for you and music, shall we? What was the spark that lit your pop music flame that catapulted you to your scorching career today?
Meresha: I was really inspired by seeing some amazing artists I saw live, such as Paramore and The Black Eyed Peas. They owned the stage and performed exciting music. They inspired me to write my first song when I was 12. A revised version of it is still out there – “Fool Don’t Be”.
Dennis: What was your family life like? Did you have a supportive family once you knew a career in music was your destiny?
Meresha: My family has always been supportive of my music, from that first song. My parents moved back with me and my sister from Europe to the US, partially at least to help me have better access to the music world here.
Dennis: What instruments do you play; when did you learn to play them and did you receive formal training?
Meresha: I play the keys, on which I usually compose. I also play guitar and drums. I originally played all in a School of Rock Led Zeppelin show some years ago.
Dennis: How about your amazing vocals, did you receive any training for your incredibly beautiful and power voice of yours?
Meresha: Thanks! I have been lucky to have some great vocal coaches, both in Europe and the US. Even the biggest stars can get better, and can work to protect their voices from damage, by working with a qualified coach.
Dennis: What have been the most useful lessons you learned so far?
Meresha: Ron Anderson is a vocal coach of the stars – from Selena Gomez, Alicia Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paramore to Tom Cruise (for the movie “Rock of Ages”). Besides LA, Ron also lives in Florida part of the year near where I lived and I had a chance to work with him. He taught me techniques to train your voice, much like an Olympian trains their muscles. I still use his exercises to warm up before singing.
Dennis: What is it about pop music that makes your soul sing?
Meresha: I love making music that connects with people. Sometimes the music itself connects with the soul, sometimes the lyrics. When both come together, it can be magic.
Dennis: Tell me about your songwriting process, what is your approach to creating your masterpieces?
Meresha: Still working on that first masterpiece I guess… but in any case, my process is not linear. Sometimes songs start with lyrics, sometimes with a melody. I keep a notebook with ideas, some of which get more concrete much later. Finished songs also often go through various versions until they sound just right.
Dennis: Are you self-managed?
Meresha: I do have some help with management of some of my activities, but I certainly don’t have the support that a major label artist might have. It’s a constant grind for all musicians, but especially for Indies. It is a lot more work than people realize.
Dennis: What have been some of the most challenging aspects to your music career?
Meresha: Reaching a bigger audience. Last year, I played live for 40,000 at SunFest, which was amazing. It’s rare, though, to get exposure to so many people at one time though. Most of the time, it is connecting one-by-one.
Dennis: How involved were you in the direction of your music videos?
Meresha: Quite a bit. A few I’ve put together myself with various footage. For the bigger productions, like “New Revolution”, “My love has come” or “Enter the Dreamland”, I worked with the Directors on the overall storyline and gave them input in terms of colors & images that fit with the song for me.
Dennis: Your first video, ‘Fool Don’t Be’ is just over 4 years old now… how has your video producing process evolved for you?
Meresha: That video was shot by school friend of mine who was very artistic. Some of my videos are still shot like that. For the 3 I mentioned, above though, the crew for the video shoot was up to 10 people or more. It becomes a very big operation, especially as things need to be coordinated in a way to shoot all within the same day. Luckily, so far, the weather has cooperated.
Dennis: You seem very comfortable in your live performances, did you overcome your stage fright easily?
Meresha: I don’t think any artist ever fully gets over stage fright, but it is true that I feel pretty free to express myself in front of a big audience. It’s a rush. The energy that comes from the crowd really gets me going.
Dennis: What has been one of the most memorable performances you’ve done so far?
Meresha: SunFest, which I mentioned before, was a great experience. Coming out on the stage and seeing people as far as I could see on all sides was amazing. A bunch of them had come specifically to see me, which was very cool, in addition to wanting to see other festival acts.
Dennis: Tell me about your recording process on your EPs, from home studio to professional studio. Who have you worked with and where do you feel you’ve achieved the best results?
Meresha: I usually record the full first versions of songs myself, usually at home. Very often I then record the final vocals with a vocal engineer in a studio. It makes getting just the right take easier. I’ve done this a few times at Power Station, which is owned by Tony Bongoivi (Jon Bon Jovi is his cousin). Tony produced the Star Wars Cantina song and bunches of famous tunes, though I work directly with Paul, one of his engineers.
For the “Enter the Dreamland” EP, we also added additional sounds to some of the songs at Sunset Sound studios in LA with Grammy winner Joe Chiccarelli, who helped on the final mixing too.
Dennis: You’ve had some remixes of your music and definitely your music is perfect for remixes do you have any personal favorites? Have you ever considered doing your own remix of someone else’s song?
Meresha: There are a lot of great remixes of my songs out there making it hard to pick just one, though some of the best ones are on my Spotify page. I have run remix competitions a few times, so there are literally 100s of remixes out there – either on the contest sites, SoundCloud or YouTube.
Dennis: How much time do you personally spend on social media? Do you have any favorite social sites and which has proven the most productive in your career?
Meresha: I’m on social media pretty much every day, either posting or reacting to people’s posts. A lot of time goes into private conversations, that you don’t see, but which have helped me connect with a bunch of people.
Dennis: Would you happen to have a music tip of something you’ve learned that you could pass on to up and coming musicians that could help them?
Meresha: Make music you love. There are things like great writing, solid hooks, great production, etc. that can take a good idea and make it amazing, but in the end it is not worth it if you are not making music you love yourself.
Dennis: Your ‘Enter the Dreamland’ EP came out last year, what do you have lined up for 2018?
Meresha: I’ve got a few songs almost ready. They might evolve in the next weeks into a new EP, though I suspect I’ll release at least one of them as a single first. Probably I’ll have at least 1 new video out too.
Dennis: What would you say your ‘five year plan’ is for your career; what would you like to see yourself achieve and what steps do you think you could take now to make them reality?
Meresha: It would be great to be able to play out live to fans internationally. I’m blessed to have support from a bunch of countries from here in the US to Brazil to the UK and even places like Japan. To make it happen, I need to get enough people to connect with some of my new music so that are excited about coming out to see me. The hardest part, as usual, will be to get the word out.
Dennis: Changing things up a bit now, if you could change one thing about our country right now, what would it be?
Meresha: That’s a loaded question as there are a lot of things that are troubling. I guess the main thing, though, is that I would hope that people can show more respect to each other again. It’s fine to have a different opinion, or be from a different background, but we should always treat each other with respect.
Dennis: What would you say would be the biggest; most life changing moment you’ve had in your life was and just how did it change you?
Meresha: Moving to the US, getting a program to produce music and putting out my first tunes commercially through a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter. It might not seem so big now, but going through the whole process taught me a lot and gave me the confidence to believe I could make great music. Sometimes, you just have to start.
Dennis: What other, non-musical goals would you like to see yourself accomplish?
Meresha: Should success in music or elsewhere allow it, would love to devote time to give back to my community. Not sure how exactly now, though do hope I’ll be blessed to be able to do it.
Dennis: Well, on that note, I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to chat with me and I sincerely wish you all the best with your career, you’re incredibly talented and I look forward to seeing more great things from you in the near future!
Biography: Meresha is an indie singer, multi-instrumentalist, DJ and Producer. With a deep, wide-ranging soulful voice and a quirky sonic vision, Meresha hit Billboard Top 40 charts 3 times with songs like “New Revolution” and “My Love Has Come”, working with the promoter that broke Prince. She’s been the #1 Indie artist on US radio for a month. Billboard named her the #3 upcoming global artist in July (Next Big Sound).
Meresha’s current well-reviewed EP “Enter the Dreamland” was composed by Meresha and polished together with multi-Grammy winner Joe Chiccarelli in Sunset Sound studios in Hollywood. Paul Kronk at Power Station engineered. Grammy-nominee Emily Lazar lead mastering. The album entered the Billboard Heatseeker chart and was Top 10 on iTunes and Amazon charts. She debuted the EP live for 40,000 at SunFest, Florida’s largest seaside festival, on the main stage/main night. Industry standard AllMusic named “Enter the Dreamland” one of the Top 2o Pop Albums on 2017 globally.