Singer/songwriters are as ubiquitous as Subaru drivers in the Centennial State, but we don’t have the market cornered. Georgia peach Meiko has ear-wormed her way into our lexicon by underscoring a steady stream of pivotal moments on TV soundtracks. Her quirky vocals and pop-hook sensibility have made her a standout in a field littered with also-rans. Here, she talks about her writing process, love of Lil’ Jon, and breaking up in a song.
French Davis: What does your writing process look like? Do you start with a hook and work out from there?
Meiko: It’s usually improv. I play a chord on the guitar and just sing along. Whatever the next chord is that I go to, I sing along to that and make a melody. Then I fill it with words.
FD: How much editing do you do?
M: I edit all the time—usually up until the 11th hour.
FD: How did the process for writing and recording “The Bright Side” differ from your first album? The production of “The Bright Side” seems more complex and a little more layered than on “Meiko,” for instance. Natural evolution or conscious decision?
M: Both. When I was writing for “The Bright Side,” I was in a way happier place than before. I wanted the production to be more upbeat because I thought that would make sense with all my newly found happy feelings. Also, I really like beats in general, and I’ve always wanted to play around with those kinds of sounds and textures.
FD: How has changing settings from Georgia to Los Angeles influenced your music, specifically?
M: I am seeing more than I saw in Georgia. Coming from a small town, things get a little stagnant. Living in a big city stimulates my brain and it’s the perfect place to people-watch and find inspiration.
FD: Has being a product of the digital era informed the way you approach writing and recording?
M: Not really. I write and record the way I always have. I guess one of the main things I’ve noticed is that music can reach so many people in far-away places without being played on the radio or TV there. Lots of people look to the Internet to find new music, and I’m very lucky to be a part of this digital era.
FD: There’s an obvious pain in the song, “Good Looking Loser.” What’s the story behind that one?
M: I was dating a guy for four years. He never paid rent, along with a few other not-so-nice things he did. Finally I got enough courage to break it off with him. While he was packing, I didn’t know if I should help or not, so I just sat on the couch and played guitar the whole time. By the time he was finished packing, I was finished with the song. Before he left, he asked me to play it for him and I did. He didn’t like it very much—and I never saw him again.
FD: There’s a strong Portishead influence on the song, “I Wonder.” Intentional?
M: Maybe. I am a huge Portishead fan. They were one of my biggest influences growing up, so I’m sure there is a little of that here and there which I’m happy to have happen.
FD: What would we be most surprised to find on your iPod?
M: Ha! Probably some Lil’ Jon and the Eastside Boyz.
FD: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
M: I’d probably be a flight attendant. I really like to travel.