Meresha is a force to be reckoned with. As the first artist to debut an EP on start-up Tsu, the eighteen year old singer,songwriter and producer is onto something, and listeners are definitely taking notice. Meresha's new EP, New Revolution, which dropped on April 7th has been making waves, and we had the chance to chat with Meresha about the new EP, the pros and cons of being a young indie artist and what the next chapter in her story is looking like. You can check out the entire interview, as well as Meresha's recently released video for "You" below.
Interview by Shannon Shumaker
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself for any of our readers who aren’t familiar?
I’m a composer and performer of what you might call eclecto-pop. Accessible electronic music, though sometimes eccentric.
When was it that you first realized that you wanted to pursue music as a career? What or who do you feel inspired you to do so?
During summer vacation, when I was 12, I recorded my first song “Fool Don’t Be” in a CD recording booth in a mall near Miami. People loved it, and encouraged me to develop further in music. Have been working on that since. Going to a series of Paramore concerts when they were just getting big also showed me in 3D what I wanted to do.
Being only eighteen, what do you think is the biggest struggle you come across as a young indie musician?
Indie is a big word. People might not realize how much is involved in that. I’m still learning many (all?) parts of it. It means not only creating, recording and performing music. It’s also about having a website, being on a range of social media sites, keeping in contact with fans through email, selling albums, managing publishing rights, finding people to work and collaborate with, putting together ideas and recording videos. All while not going crazy or broke. It is one of the hardest professions. Few are successful enough in to sustain themselves just from their music.
On the flip side, what advantages do you feel your age and experiences give you compared to others?
I can still experiment and fail. Sure I do want to make everything at the highest quality possible, but if not everyone likes a given song, I can work on the next one. Being indie has the plus side that you don’t have a “boss” telling you which songs to record, when, how, with whom, etc.
If you could give one piece of advice for young people who want to pursue music, what would it be?
It’s a journey. Sure a few people get lucky and are quickly famous. Most, though, are under-the-radar for years until fans discover them. Keep perfecting your art. Work with vocal coaches (yes, the biggest stars have them too) and music teachers. Get to know the business and marketing side of music too as much as you can. Learn how to really connect with people online. There are not many schools that prepare you for all aspects of being successful in contemporary music, so it’s a bit more about designing your own development path.
Can you tell us a little bit about your new EP, New Revolution? What did you want to be able to accomplish with it?
I wanted to put out an enduring set of songs that could be played anywhere in the world and connect with people interested in my kind of music. All 4 of the songs are being played on the radio in different places. The ballad “You” and the upbeat “New Revolution” are getting the most air-time, though its funny because some people seem to love the more quirky “Lemonade City” or “August” instead.
What were your influences for the EP, both musically and content-wise?
Recently I’ve been listening more to electronic artists like James Blake, FKA Twigs, Aphex Twin, Disclosure, Purity Ring or Banks. I love an eclectic mix of artists, and try to create songs of enduring quality.
New Revolution was also the first EP to debut on Tsu - what about Tsu made you want to go that route? How has it been beneficial to the release of New Revolution?
Tsu makes sense to me as a social media site. I was one of the first 30,000 users (3 million signed up since). Tsu pays out 90% of its ad revenue to users. Since the users are the ones creating and posting the content, that seems a lot better to me than earning 0 on other sites where the site owner keeps all. The tsu team from the CEO down were hugely supportive of my launch. I recorded 6 videos with them in 90 minutes that I used for promotion. I did 30 daily quizzes that a lot of people participated in. We supported a couple of charities that are active on tsu using social media earnings (cool, right?). The release itself was exclusive to tsu, a week before public launch. I sold digital and limited edition signed versions, and got a lot of general support from tsu users on the site and in their other social media activity. I got probably 20,000 likes across my main sponsored tsu posts and 100,000s of views total. Never heard of an artist getting support from a social media platform before like that. Like my song “New Revolution”, Tsu seems like a new revolution in social media, where content creators finally get a fair deal.
Looking toward the future, what would you like to be able to accomplish with your music? What would you like listeners to be able to take away?
It is really hard to be successful as a musician these days. People don’t buy CDs or even music. Streaming and video royalties are tiny for most artists. My main goal is to be able to spend full time on my music, so that I can create and perform tunes that add something to people’s lives. Hope to bring a live show to fans as soon as possible.
Do you have any other big plans for 2015?
Am looking forward to spending some weeks in Europe in the summer. I was born there but haven’t been back for 3 years since moving to the US. In between, will try to perform when I can, possibly make a few videos and maybe a single or two. Have a few new songs I’m working on, and you never know when a great tune might come to you. Stay tuned.