Meiko has been a favorite of NEXT for quite awhile (2007). In fact, if you listen to NEXT, you would have known about Meiko well before her voice was on TV shows from Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill, to The Vampire Diaries.
Meiko has recorded her own versions of favorites from her past. Her latest is called “Playing Favorites” (click on link to listen however you like to listen). She covers The Cranberries, Otis Redding, Erykah Badu, Duran Duran, Blind Melon and even Rick James (and others), now out on Chesky Records.
Wow does anyone remember my Snapple Next Concert Series on The Peak?
A NEXT concert with Meiko in 2007.
Below, are Meiko’s responses to the interview questions I sent over.
You are in Germany now…how is it going? And how’s the little one?
It’s great!! I’m really loving it here! The food is the main thing I’m
having to adjust to. I lived in LA for so long that I got so spoiled
with THE BEST burritos and sushi and pizza and really everything. I
have less of a choice here but the sausages are pretty delicious. They
have that going for them!
Also – my son is thriving here! He’s 2 now and starting to speak both
languages. It’s adorable.
When did you start writing music—and what or who were your early
passions and influences? Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I started writing poems in my journal around 10 and writing music
started about 12. I listened to a lot of Cranberries and Sade (I have
a cool sister that worked at the mall and would always introduce me to
the good stuff). The first song I wrote was a sad song titled “Why”.
My mom skipped town around this time in my life and although it was a
real bummer, it was a turning point in my life that made me realize I
could create beauty out of tragedy.
What do you usually start with when working on a new piece? I know
this is a loaded question as every song is different…
I usually start off with guitar chords and I sing a melody around it.
Then I say whatever’s at the top of my head. It’s a pretty cathartic
What are your favorite songs…the ones that just flow out of you or
the ones you need to work it…they take forever sometimes years…go
through edit after edit…re start after re-start. (also could you
name a song from each…an easy flow out of you song and a hard one)
The easiest song I ever wrote was “Stuck On You”. I was newly in love
and basically just blurted out this love song. So happy that it ended
up being about the man I married! It would suck to have to sing a love
song about another dude all the time. Ha!
I guess the one that took the most time was a song I have called “For
the Road”. I wrote half when I was moving to LA around 2001 and I
never finished it until 2015 when I left LA to move to Nashville. It
was such an accomplishment!
You joked the last time I saw you live that someone told you “you
sound so much better live”…why do you think that is? Do you agree?
I think there’s so much that goes into a live performance and people
really connect. It’s hard to make that come across on a record, but
get it. I think that there are 2 types of listeners. One that likes
the tiny mistakes and flow of a live performance and one that likes
the slickness of a studio album. I think I’ve learned to just do 2
separate things when I release something. Make them all happy 🙂
What’s your view on the value of music today?
The value of music is immeasurable. The effect you can have on a
person when the right words are said in the right way. It’s really
beautiful. I learned this was possible when I started listening to
Sade. Her voice has such a therapeutic quality to it. I feel her pain
but I also feel like she’s telling me it’s gonna be okay. I knew at 12
that music had a healing power and that it was something I wanted to
do, help people. I recently got a message from a NICU nurse saying
that it was a known thing on her floor to play my first record for the
babies who were inconsolable and it helped them to calm down
immediately. As soon as I read these words I knew that I needed to
focus more on this idea.
I know you have songs about boyfriends…do you know if you are the
subject of any songs?
Ha! I know a few songs that I’m the subject of.. It’s an honor and
probably why I’ve never dated a songwriter because luckily these songs
are not angry ones.
Let’s play a bit of a game…when (any time in history) and where
would you like to have lived as a musician?
Can I be boring and say I really like NOW? I feel like as a music
listener the 1960s would have been cool but as an artist, I think now
is an incredible time to create and then hide away if you want to, for
a couple of years. In other generations, I don’t think it would have
been that easy and the pressure maybe would’ve been greater.
I’m going to say a song…you tell me something about it. Something
funny in the studio…how you wrote it…or maybe about the video…or
playing it live
“Back in the Game”
I wrote this with my friends Wally Gagel and Erica Driskill of
Blondefire. We had planned to write together and when I got to the
studio they had this guitar idea. I immediately started imagining a
girl in a bar who was newly single, dancing drunkenly by the jukebox
so we wrote her a song.
“Reasons to Love you”
This was actually a sad song, but so many people interpret it as a
love song and use it in their weddings! I wrote it because my
boyfriend at the time was being a total D-bag. We lived together and
some nights he just wouldn’t come home. These are the nights I wrote
some of my best songs.
I’ve always been a little embarrassed by this one because I sound so
bitter… But it was a moment in time that I guess I just needed to get
out of my system. I can tell with songs like these just how much I’ve
grown as woman in my writing. it’s a nice indicator.
“Go to Hell”
It’s about my mom because she left to be ‘closer to God’. She thought
that it was okay to leave her family because she was searching for the
“truth” and decoding the bible… I wrote this because the way she
described heaven to me was like a VIP lounge at a club, so I thought
I’d play up to the idea in a song. I sang the entire thing in the hole
of my guitar, that’s how the vocals are so distorted.
This was a cover that I was asked to do by my record label at the
time, since they also had Paul McCartney’s catalog. It was fun to sing
and I recorded it with my good friend Tony Reyes who produced it!
“Stuck on You”
This is the song that got to #1 on the radio in Japan for 12 weeks. It
was amazing! I was flying there a lot at the time and thought I was
gonna reach super star status, but people were pretty unconcerned
about me being there. I figured it was because I wasn’t as animated as
a lot of the pop stars. I even bought big eye contacts and wore socks
with high heels to up my game, but not much really came from it. I did
however, reconnect with a lot of long lost Japanese family from my
Grandmother’s side and that is everything I could ever want!
Meiko has a NEXT notable song of the month earlier this year too. Week 626
More Meiko on NEXT (there’s a lot)