Those familiar with Meiko’s music might be a little surprised by the songs on Dear You. For her sophomore record, the Georgia-cum-California songstress took a hard right from the sunny, strummy tunes she delivered on her debut. In its place, Meiko gives us a peek at her darker, more sharp-tongued side. Taking its cues from the singer’s old relationships and heartbreaks — and, yes, a collection of unsent love letters — Dear You is an effective collage of spite and hope, humility and empowerment. Pushed along by her newfound love of electronics and synthesizers, the songs are also a little tenser and undeniably more complex than anything Meiko has done to date. This Tuesday, December 9, the singer brings Dear You to SOhO Restaurant & Music Club at 8 p.m. Below, we catch up with her via email from China to discuss the album’s inspiration and future collaborations. For tickets, call (805) 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
As far as non-music life stuff goes, was there a specific event that got you writing these songs? I was traveling a lot and was generally in a happy place. A lot of the songs from Dear You were written about people in my past. That’s where the gritty stuff really lies anyway — and that’s the kind of record I wanted to make ― sort of a recap of old loves and learning lessons.
I know a lot of the record’s lyrics began as letters, which seems like a really good way to organize your emotions before blurting something out you don’t necessarily mean. Can you think of one experience where writing something down kept you from losing your cool? There are lots of experiences! People call it being passive-aggressive, but I think of it as a means to keep myself from overreacting in real life. A lot of times, writing is a way for me to freak out. Once I’m done with a song, I usually move on.
Conversely, can you think of a situation where you wish you had written something down, rather than acting in the heat of the moment? Ha! Yes, I’m a very passionate person. I’ve been in lots of heated arguments, but I figured out that writing my feelings out on paper helps me to organize what I’m actually dealing with in my head and communicate it in a calmer manner.
Some artists tend to shy away from writing hyper-personal stuff into their songs. Do you ever get self-conscious about sharing too much? Never. I love connecting with the audience, and I love even more that people can usually relate.
In terms of inspiration, what records/artists had a formative impact on you coming up? Portishead’s Dummy; Patty Griffin’s Living with Ghosts; Edie Brickel’s Ghost of a Dog; Frente!’s Marvin the Album.
What’s the one album that you’ve listened to the most in your adult life? Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue.
If you could work on music with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? I’d love to make a record with Jamie xx.