A lot has changed since Meiko released her self-titled debut album in 2007. Then signed to MySpace Records, the singer put an album that in her words was “chill” and a bit dark. After touring for two years, the singer took a brief break before working on her follow-up. After taking the good part of a year to write what became The Bright Side, she was ready to head back into the studio to record. This time around, her head was in a better place
“I’ve been working on it for about two years,” the singer said in her southern drawl. “In between, I fell in love. I was inspired by that and wrote a bunch of happier songs. I also wanted to play around with beats, which was inspired by listening to southern hip-hop and electronic programming.
Needless to say, her sound is much more upbeat and experimental than on her debut. Some acoustic elements remain, the singer decided to take more chances, which allowed her to grow as a songwriter. The maturity in her sounds is something that Meiko noticed while she was recording and writing.
“I could see the changes not only in my songwriting, but in who I am as a person,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot about shitty relationships and learned to be more positive and to appreciate things more.
For the first time in a while, she’s happy. Sometimes happiness can take away from a songwriter’s ability to connect with an audience, just ask Bruce Springsteen about Human Touch, Lucky Town and his past two albums. However, in this case, happy is a good thing. On the album, she’s had the creative freedom to express her wellbeing in her music. She recorded 17 songs, of which 11 made the album.
Alleviated from the pressures of working with label that was affiliated with a major helped Meiko, who says she’s not the best when it comes to making decisions. Being able to flush things out over a longer period gave allowed her to fully think about how she wanted a song to sound and to work with different arrangements. Not having a time constraint was advantageous to her getting what she wanted out of each particular song.
Having grown up in a small town in the middle of Georgia (Roberta, pop. 808) Meiko channeled her boredom into actively performing in front of people. “I would get out of school and be so bored that I’d sit with myself and write songs,” she recalled. “Eventually I learned how to play guitar and it was the perfect environment for an awkward middle schooler.”
Before she heads down to SXSW later this week, the Georgia-native played two sold-out shows at the Living Room in New York City. Her sets are an even split of new and old songs. Why the even split?
“As a music listener, I wouldn’t want to see my favorite artist play a bunch of new shit that I don’t recognize,” she pointed out. “That’s why I like to make my sets that way.”
The reception to the new material has been excellent. Seeing what people response to her new material has allowed her to figure out what songs from the new album work best live. The songs have been so well received that fans have already taken to YouTube to post their own versions of the songs.
As the May 15 release date rapidly approaches, the singer has a lot on her agenda. In addition to promotional appearances and radio spots, she plans on hitting the road for at least the next year. Even with this flurry of activity, Meiko is pretty confident that she’ll be able to have her third album out sooner than later.
“Hopefully it won’t take as long for me to record my next album as it did for this,” she said. “I’m just excited for people to hear these songs.”