This might seem paradoxical to say, but singer/songwriter Meiko is on her way to becoming an institution in the indie music scene. I say paradoxical because indie music sort of eschews convention and “institutions.” Let’s just say that, at the very least, Meiko is making a name for herself with her simple, coffeehouse vibe, a sound she perfected with many appearances at Hotel Café in Hollywood (which still serves as her main stomping grounds).
Meiko has walked a path that many indie artists take, finding her way to a wider audience with out-of-the-box methods. 2007 was her initial breakout year, as she released her self-titled debut LP and went on to raise eyebrows with live performances at SXSW and the Sundance Film Festival. Myspace Records/DGC re-released the record in 2008, and subsequently every one of the tracks on the album has found its way into song placements on major television shows like Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill. Suffice it to say that if you watch much television, you’ve probably heard Meiko.
Nowadays, Meiko is expanding her palate with her new album, The Bright Side, released just this month. Where her first record was primarily based around acoustic guitar and occasional Fender Rhodes, the new record ventures into an interesting blend of modern and retro territory, playing on occasion with both 1960’s reverb and 2012’s electronic beats. Thematically, the record (as the title suggests) focuses on the joy of new romance, as Meiko wrote several of the songs at the beginning of a new relationship.
The interesting thing about Meiko is that her flaws as a musician seem to be her most endearing qualities, even more than her strengths—and her flaws may actually be what I like most about her. For example, her songwriting is stilted at times, her lyrics a bit rambling and simplistic, almost like a little girl wrote them—but they are also honest, vulnerable and just tongue-in-cheek enough to make us smile rather than wince at them. Not many people could get away with those inconsistencies, but somehow Meiko can.
It will be interesting to see where this second record takes her, but I have a feeling it’s going to play very well on a lot of people’s ipods. If you don’t have Meiko in your collection yet, she’s definitely worth a listen.