“It is hopefully music that will make you feel happy, peaceful and content.” she says.
Her latest record, Everything Will Be Alright, comes out November 15 on her own imprint, Kli Records.
Meyer was born in Santiago, Chile and was enrolled in a classical music conservatory at age five. She studied piano and later the guitar. At 18 she won a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. She took a degree in three and a half years. She produced her debut, Common Ground, during that time.
The school has produced numerous performers of all varieties. How does a formal music education help a pop singer/songwriter?
“I would say that in my own experience I learned most not from what I got out of the classrooms, which in itself was absolutely much more than I could have ever imagined, but rather what I was able to experience by having the opportunity to befriend and play with so many talented musicians from around the world,” says Meyer. “Being able as well to devote such a solid amount of time, a few years that is full time, solely to exploring music in various shapes, ways and forms is a rare privilege that I was able to enjoy, and it was possible for me to take in this experience unhindered and uninterrupted, completely open and ready to learn as much I could from every opportunity that I encountered.”
Following her time at Berklee Meyer says she had to take time to let what she learned sink in; she also says she needed to forget what she had learned to be able to make pop music again. There is a downside to such an education and choosing such a profession. She questioned her choice of being a musician frequently.
“I spent many years at war with myself trying to figure out whether this is what I was supposed to be doing or not. Still today there are days when I say to myself ‘oh my goodness, why can't I be more normal, why couldn't I just be ok with a normal life, a 9-5 regular job and staying in one place?’ But the truth is that I don't think this is a profession you can actually choose, I think it is more a profession that you are kind of handed over,” says Meyer. “I rarely think of it in terms of ‘why did I choose this’ anymore. I have accepted that this is my path in this life, my journey and my job and I am happy and grateful to have the opportunity to what I love for a living. I won't lie to you and tell you that it is not challenging at times, or that at times I wish I could have ‘chosen’ something more normal, but I know that it is who I am and that this is what I am supposed to be doing, and I don't let myself take it any further than that.”
Everything Will Be Alright is out now, click on the cover to download the single, Fire, free.
“Out of both situations I prefer the latter one, the main reason being that if I have to write FOR a film I am writing not for myself, but to please a whole lot of people, the director, the audience, the crew, the cast, the editor, etc. There are too many eyes, too many ears and in my personal experience it disrupts the honesty of writing, or at least it does for me,” she says. “When I write, I like to be in a place of solitude, where there are no judges, and I can write in full honesty, totally naked, completely open and revealing. Whether someone will ever get to hear that song is another matter, but I don't really want to be thinking of a scene, or a director's opinion when I am writing a song.”
Meyer says she would rather write a song because the song “needs” to be written and she can be its channel into the world rather than having to write something to please other people. She would rather write what moves her than for a check. She isn’t against writing specifically for a project, however.
“Not that I have anything against that method at all, for some people it works and they are amazing at it, but it is just not the way that I like to do it, or the one that makes me the happiest.” she says.
“So the songs were very honest, and open like I was saying before and I wasn't writing to please anyone in particular when writing them. I was just writing songs that I really wanted to write.” says Meyer.
But then she realized, like it or not, music was a big part of her and her life. She knew she was going to be going to bed at 5 a.m. with songs in her head.
“I also had a baby and realized that either way I was going to have to make a living doing something, and that if that something was going take me away from my beautiful baby, I needed to make sure the time I was putting into work, was time well spent. So I embraced music as my career, my path, and my job and never questioned it again,” she says. “I started looking for a producer to help me record these new songs, but couldn't find anyone that felt right, so I began recording my songs at home by myself while looking for someone to mix them. Then through a friend and fellow artist Laura Jansen, I met Bill Lefler, who I initially reached out to, to see if he could mix some of what I had been working on, but to my own astonishment during our conversation the words ‘I am looking for a producer’ came out of my mouth.”
Meyer sent Lefler the demos and he liked them and the two decided to work together. It turned out to be smooth sailing, according to Meyer, after that.
“I have done this too many times before and I knew that I would know in the first 10 seconds in the studio with him, whether this was going to be great, or whether this was going to be really bad, because for me with music and my work there are no in betweens,” she says. “We clicked and it was easy and it flowed, and I knew that I wanted this to be an LP, but that it would have to wait.”
As an independent artist, with her own label, she has considerations artists who work with large companies do not have (but also freedoms they might not have).
“I own my own label and we finance everything ourselves so I knew that to make it happen I would basically have to spend the next year or so working the EP the most I could, planting seeds and cementing the foundation that we needed to get this going to a certain point, so that we could get back in to the studio and finish the album,” says Meyer. “That was, thank G'd, a great year, at the end of which we regrouped in the studio to finish what we had started. During this year I was also continuously writing material for what in my mind would be the completion of the EP. Fire was the last song I wrote for the record, only a few weeks before we went into the studio.”
“He gets me and gets who I am and what I am about and I feel safe when working with him because I know that there are no egos involved. We both want the same thing,” says Meyer. “We both want to make the best work we can make, be honest and make the songs the best songs they can be. It's not about him as a producer, or me as an artist, it's about the music that we are making together and doing the best work that we can.”
When working on a song, Meyer’s focus changes. Sometimes she relies on her engineer. Other times she wants a very specific sound. It all depends on the song and who she happens to be working with.
“Craig Frank our engineer is truly incredible to work with. He is amazingly patient, nurturing and kind and puts an incredible amount of attention into every detail, to the millimeter of a mic placement. He also gets it really quickly. He understands what we have in mind in a second,” says Meyer. “We just have really great communication, and he is just so talented, that I don't feel the need to be so picky, because his own pickiness puts me at ease. However I do have very specific ideas sometimes of what I want for a particular song, a particular sound, a particular filter, or how I want one instrument to be processed and if that is the case I will make it known, but again, Craig and Bill both get it so fast that I don't really need to push it too hard because we all know what we are trying to accomplish and are working together towards a collective idea.”
“I lived in Boston for four years. I know how cruel the east coast winters can be. We toured the east coast last spring and when we were at the airport someone said; ‘Why are you taking those huge jackets? It's March!’ And I said ‘Yes, it is March, but it's Boston!’ It was 29ºF when we landed. So, east coast definitely, yes! Once things start heating back up we'll be ready to rock out the east coast for the summer!”