Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Meyli. Together we discussed their musical influences, their sound, their first LP “The digital age”, and much more.
Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
Hi, Mustard! Thanks for having me and granting me the opportunity to speak with you, it’s an honor. I’m doing pretty great, and I hope it’s the same for you!
You grew up listening to classical music along with the Top 40s hits of the early 2000s. Was it this music that helped inspire you want to create music of your own?
Funnily enough, it’s a little bit of a yes and a no. Seeing artists like Hannah Montana, Britney Spears, and Nelly Furtado when I was younger really piqued my interest into becoming a musician, and I was in love with the idea of being some sort of mega popstar. I grew up pretty involved in my church’s choir, and attended private school up until my sophomore year of high school, so most of the music I grew up singing were hymns and classical choral songs. I also played clarinet in my middle school band and took part in scholastic competitions pertaining to music memory.
My interest in production grew when I was introduced to the EDM scene in 2015. Seeing producers that weren’t men really inspired me to start making my own music. There’s a huge space for us in the production world–women and non-binary people alike–that is sorely lacking occupants. This really pushed 16-year-old me into cultivating and honing my production skills.
Who (or what) influences you?
God, this changes all the time. The biggest influences right off the bat have to be Tinashe, Sophie, Charli XCX, FKA Twigs, Kate Bush, Björk, and Alison Wonderland. Film scores as of right now have been especially intriguing to me, as has Kilo Kish, Araya, and Sudan Archives. I also find a lot of inspiration in my personal life. I have a very colorful love life and intriguing background that is ripe with inspiration. I rarely run out of ideas, and I’m always writing & producing music.
You write, produce, and mix all your own music. Do you remember the first beat or song you wrote? For those looking to do the same what advice would you give them?
I’ve been songwriting since I was about 12 years old, and I actually have the first song I ever wrote written in an old diary. It’s obviously not very good, but it’s cute to look back at the past.
As for beats, I started producing when I was 16 years old–for reference, I’m 22 now. I downloaded a free beat making app that I can’t remember the name of and was making these god-awful orchestral and drum & bass tracks. One of them is still online, I think.
I guess my best advice to anyone wanting to start making everything themselves is to just go for it. Download Garageband or some other free music software, and start playing with all the loops and instruments. Have fun with it! Don’t be frustrated when the first song you make isn’t mind-blowingly amazing. People almost never start out perfect at the beginning. At the end of day, music is personal. If you like what you make, who cares what other people think? Your artistry will shine through and resonate with the right people, but make sure you’re not ONLY engaging with yes men.
How would you describe Meyli’s sound?
One of the hardest things for me as an artist has definitely been pin-pointing this. I don’t really want to put myself in a box. I make songs that reflect what I love at the time, whether it’s genres, or people, or vocal styles. I guess you could call my main genre “art pop,” but I would prefer to say that I am more engaged in the alternative R&B scene.
In 2020 you released your first LP “The digital age.” What was the process like putting this LP together? What was the inspiration behind this album?
Oh goodness, “digital age” was a labor of love. I spent a full year producing, writing, mixing, and searching for other creatives to collaborate with on my own. I had started producing it as soon as I had finished my last album under my old music name. It was a lot, not to mention that I was going through a really intense and rough time. I felt a need to just completely change my trajectory. I was ambitious to a fault, and didn’t understand the virtue of making sure everything was just as I wanted it before release. It was a love letter to my impulsivity, but as much as I want to hate it, I can’t. It’s the last bit of naivety I have left on record.
The biggest things that inspired the album were when I got physically assaulted back in 2019 by someone I deeply trusted, and almost half a year later, I was sexually assaulted twice. Looking back, I feel like I was writing most of my music to escape the reality I was in, which happens to be a common thread within the album. I was experiencing vast and massive spiritual, mental, and physical upheaval, and I was in love with someone for the first time in my life. Obviously that all didn’t work out, which is why all of the songs I’ve released and have been working on since my debut LP are incredibly depressing.
In your most recent release “b4u” you let us know you were someone before they came along. Was this song inspired by actual events?
Yes, actually! I wrote this song at the very beginning of my most recent entanglement with someone back in February. We were kind of in an interesting situation, and I liked them but I didn’t realize that I was kind of giving too much up to them so quickly. As I look back on the song, it totally applies to what eventually ended up happening between us.
It’s definitely inspired by the trauma I’ve experienced too, where I consistently would have to gaslight myself into thinking that the way I was getting treated during a lot of the relationships throughout my life, romantic or not, was inherently okay and normal. I also may or may not have added a nod to Björk’s “Hyperballad” in the bridge as well, since it’s one of my favorite songs of all time.
What’s next for Meyli?
I honestly don’t really know. My life has been a constant roller-coaster ride since I started putting out music as Meyli, and I don’t really see it letting up anytime soon. However, I do know that there is a single coming out HOPEFULLY by the end of this year, but if not this year, then January 2023. I also plan on releasing my second LP by the end of 2023.
The best way I can describe this next album is that it’s full of things that are probably better left unsaid set to the tune of insanely interesting and unsettling soundscapes. I am very excited to show it to everyone when it’s ready…especially because it’s going to be a tear-jerker.
Where can readers listen to your music?
My music is available on all streaming platforms, and sometimes I post demos on my socials, especially Youtube and Tiktok. I hope you all check out my music and are on the look out for my upcoming single in the next few months! Thanks so much for having me, Mustard, and thanks for reading this article y’all!