story / JORDAN BLAKEMAN
video / ROBIEE ZIEGLER
“Good girls do bad things sometimes,” Meiko begins in her latest endeavor ‘Dear You,’ a record where she is easily one of the culprits she sings of. Her third album is crafted from letters she never sent with the words she wished to say – and here is where she finally lets it all out: the frustration, the longing, and a bit of snark for good measure. Beware: the lyrics can easily get stuck in your head for days, repeatedly sneaking their way in when you least expect it with their simple yet catchy hooks. Meiko’s words are relatable, carrying emotions and scenarios plenty of us have been through and experienced. “I’ve been waiting here all this time for you to be mine, be mine,” she sings in the first single on the album. Ladygunn caught up with the singer-songwriter for an exclusive interview and acoustic set of the single “Be Mine” which can be found on iTunes and Amazon.
What was the inspiration behind ‘Dear You’?
‘Dear You’ started off being letters to people I never sent. I am a passive-aggressive singer-songwriter sometimes so I like to write letters to people who piss me off or love letters or all kinds of different letters. A lot of times I turn those letters into songs. It’s basically a very confessional record of things that I’ve never really said or confronted.
What is your musical history?
Pretty much I went to one semester of college and I didn’t like it so I moved here and started playing music, started playing open mic nights, and eventually made a record with the sound guy at one of the places that I played called The Hotel Cafe. A lot of songs on that record got placed on Grey’s Anatomy and a lot of cool things started happening after that.
Can you tell us a little bit about Roberta?
Roberta is the town in Georgia where I’m from and it’s a really weird little town pretty much in the middle of the state. Not much is going on there. I think the population is 808. There’s a Piggly-Wiggly and a couple of stop lights. You’ve got to make your own excitement there.
What was it like collaborating with Jimmy Messer?
It was really cool. He’s a good friend of mine. He’s kind of a surfer guy so he’s always chill and nothing stresses him out. It was a really pleasant experience going into the studio and really just jamming with a friend and coming up with a song and recording it. It was a no pressure recording process.
Will you be going on tour for this album?
Later this year I’m going to China for tour. I’ve never been there before. I’ve only been to Japan in Asia so I’m really excited to go there. I love dumplings and dim sum and xiaolongbao, all of that good stuff. I’m really excited to play my shows but also to go on a food tour.
What was your first relationship like?
I was sixteen and completely head over heels in love with a 19 year old. He never had a job and then finally he did get a job at Hooters as a fry cook. Eventually he cheated on me with a Hooters girl and that’s probably what sparked more songwriting and guitar playing and lonely times for me to sit and practice. So thank you. Thank you Chris.
What was it like working on this record compared to your previous albums?
I think just working with Jimmy alone. For the most part the record was just me and him playing all the instruments and stuff. I think it was just easy. It wasn’t stressful at all. We’d go in and have a coffee. We were recording around a lot of different ramen places so every time for lunch we’d go to a different ramen place. It was like camp. It wasn’t a stressful experience at all. It was really enjoyable. Sometimes when you make a record there’s so much stress especially when you’re with a record label. They’re like we want you to record this or that and there’s always someone over your shoulder suggesting things and stuff. This record was very easy and didn’t have all that.
What is your songwriting process like? Where do you like to write?
Most of the time when I write songs it’s on my living room floor. Sometimes I drink wine… a lot of times I drink wine when I write. I just sit there alone with a notebook and my guitar. It’s never scheduled. Some people are like, “when, what time of day do you like to write?” It’s kind of whenever I feel like it and luckily it’s more often than not.
What was your first song like and what was it about?
It was called “I Hate Hooter Girls.” [Laughs.] It was a very high school angsty, angry girl with a guitar song.
What does it feel like having your release party near your home?
I’m really excited to play the Bootleg [Theater] because I live really close to there. I’ve been living in Silverlake for a really long time since I’ve been in LA. I usually play The Hotel Cafe which I love so much but it’s exciting to switch it up a little bit. I’ve never played there before, I’ve actually never played in Silverlake before which is weird because I live in that area so I’m excited about it.
What are your friends like? Do you have a lot of musician friends, non-musician friends?
I do have a lot of musician friends just because that’s my world but I have a couple of other friends… I enjoy and I’m inspired by having music involved friends but it’s nice to have someone else who has no idea what’s going on so it’s not all this talk about what gear you’re buying and stuff. I have one friend, she works at a spa. She’s really cool and sometimes she lets me go in and get a discount.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you look up to?
My biggest musical influence is probably Sade. I love her so much. I love the way she’s ran her career. I love her music, I love her soulfulness. I just like everything about it. My favorite thing about her is she can disappear and come back and have a number one record. That is dreamgirl, ideal situation.
What has been one of the coolest fan experiences you’ve experienced?
On probably my second or third tour I was in Chicago and I was playing my songs and I forgot some words. Some people started singing them and then most of the audience started singing along with the song. It made me tear up. It was one of those moments where I was like holy crap. These people actually know my stuff! They’re not seeing me for the first time or they’re not hearing me for the first time. That was definitely a huge moment for me and it’s on video!
What advice would you give to young musicians?
Probably practice every day, play as many shows as you can, and don’t be a dick to the sound guy.