5 Questions With Mesmi

How do you deal with the current Covid-19 situation creatively in terms of lockdown, inability to perform, etc.? 

It’s definitely a tough, strange time for everyone. I’m trying to be more mindful than ever of what my role is as an artist, and for myself… I think I’m just trying to re-connect on a deeper level overall. For performing, I’ve actually been livestreaming on a new app called Sessions, usually on Thursday nights. I love a human connection, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s actually been pretty fun. Would love to have anyone join me!

How was the process of creating “Slow Bloom”?

To be honest, it was quite tough. Slow Bloom was a larger project in what I was trying to express emotionally, but also on a practical level. With how unstructured and male-dominated the industry is, I’ve had my share of ill-fated experiences. The severity is something you probably wouldn’t realize unless you saw stats like USC’s Annenberg Inclusion study (which only started in 2018 after the #MeToo movement). Those numbers are really illuminating: as a minority female, my likelihood of working with a producer like me is around 0.5%, and with a female producer in general, around 2.6%, just as a reference and going from the past five years.

Listen to Slow Bloom while reading the piece:

With Slow Bloom, I personally was at a point where it felt like it was a requirement, to do everything myself. I covered most of the process from start to finish, from writing to mixing, and was self-producing day to day. I feel very thankful to have some collaborators along the way, some really great guys, but there were still high levels of loneliness, exhaustion and disorientation. That said, it’s done, and it hopefully reached some of my original goals: being authentic, cohesive, expressive and true to me.

What artists have influenced you in the process of developing your sound? 

At home, I didn’t grow up with a lot of music, so I always feel like the world is a big treasure chest of music waiting to be discovered, in conjunction with my ears being steadily stretched! My earliest music taste came from mainstream outlets and friends as a kid, a lot of 90s radio like Mariah, Tupac, Sarah McLachlan, with a dash of Asian pop like Jay Chou. My thirst for music later took me into the great lineage of singer/songwriters, jazz and soul–Bill, Otis, Marvin, Carole, Joni. Recently, I’m inspired by other self-produced artists who are fusing multiple styles with interesting sounds, and I’m also feeling drawn to more raw and experimental expressions.

Slow Bloom cover – press.

Could you highlight a track from “Slow Bloom” that means something special to you, and explain why that is? 

This is really tough. Fair warning, my favorite is usually not the mainstream hit favorite. And all the songs really do have their own special place.

If I had to pick, maybe “Here Anymore” stands out with how it was written. I wrote it pretty much in one go, and I can remember everything about it, the moment, what I felt that led up to it, the night in the studio. It didn’t change much from its original form, and I think that immediacy comes through.

What’s the next big thing coming from you that your listeners can look forward to?

It’s a mystery! I have some big things lined up in my head and a few collaborations in the works, so we’ll have to see what materializes out of the gate first. I’ve got links all over the interwebs, so if anyone likes what they’ve heard so far, they’re welcome to come along for the ride.