Music Premiere: MER Unveils “Maybe I’m The Same” and Talks Guitars, Tone, and Inspiration

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New York City-based singer-songwriter MER, aka Meredith Marcum, introduces her new single, “Maybe I’m The Same,” the title track from her forthcoming sophomore EP, slated to drop in September.

Speaking about the song, MER shares, “This song is really special to me as it is one of the most ambitious and unique sounds I have achieved. In the first half of the song, I wanted to capture the feeling you get when decisions start to pile up and your mind feels like it’s spinning with questions and what-ifs and maybe’s, hence the pulsing rhythmic beat driving throughout. Then in the second half, everything is stripped away and there’s almost a sense of clarity for a moment until all the emotions swell followed by an outburst of instruments and voices saying, ‘I’m the same,’ an idea that has always scared me to consider, but that I am learning is not always a bad thing.”

MER’s sound is influenced by the indie rock artists she grew up listening to like Fleetwood Mac and Norah Jones but has been sculpted by the popular music of her generation to evolve into an indie pop/alternative R&B sound similar to artists, Eloise and Dijon. MER has made waves in the local scene and has received praise for her intimate lyrics, lush harmonies, and catchy melodies underscored by complex production.

Guitar Girl Magazine caught up with MER to discuss the new single, the upcoming EP, her definition of tone, and her writing process.

What inspired your new single, “Maybe I’m the Same?”

I wrote ‘Maybe I’m The Same’ in the fall of last year, I needed to get away from New York for a bit, so I took a trip to Monterey, California, to hike and reflect and be in nature, and while I was there I was thinking a lot about all the decisions we have to/get to make in life and the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ as a result. I wrote this song for myself and for the people who tend to question themselves and think of every possible outcome and end up feeling stuck because of the fear and the risk of choosing.

“Maybe I’m the Same” is the title track from your upcoming EP. What can you share about the EP?

This new EP is a somewhat departure from my old sound, I have really started to discover my writing style and what genres and artists I am influenced by. This is a 5 track EP exploring themes of insecurity and loneliness and all the emotions and anxieties that come with making big life decisions and being on your own for the first time maybe ever. Life can become really heavy and chaotic when it feels like you have to make choice after choice and have everything figured out and do what’s good and what’s right and consider every outcome and all the emotional turbulence. I wanted to make this project feel personal while still being relatable so that I could feel a sense of connection with anyone who listens and understands what I’m getting at.

I’m most excited, however, for the production on this project. My good friend and producer, Ben, and I have worked hard on each track to explore new sounds and find ways to sonically create the emotional frenzy I was feeling while writing these tracks!

How did you get started in music?

Music has always been a big part of my life; I started taking piano and voice lessons when I was 4 and then grew up doing choir and musical theatre. When I was in high school, I actually wanted to be an opera singer, but then that switched to pursuing musical theatre in college, which I discovered was not really for me but I still have an appreciation for all it taught me. When Covid happened my junior year, I started writing music and messing around with my piano (I never really played guitar until after college). I have always loved writing poems and so I started setting some of those to music and then I fell in love with songwriting. I had a friend in college who produced music and he encouraged me to record some of my stuff, so we did that together my senior year, and then when I graduated and moved to New York I started actually pursuing music as an artist!

Where are you from?

I grew up in Waco, Texas.

Did your hometown impact your sound?

Growing up in Texas I was really resistant to the culture because I always wanted to leave so badly, and when I finally did and I moved to New York I found myself appreciating some of the beautiful parts about Texas (don’t get me wrong there are lots of problems), but especially when it comes to music. I used to hate country music and I would never listen to it, but then as I got older and started broadening the kinds of music I would listen to, I found a deep love and appreciation for folk and country music, especially Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the list goes on really. And now as I have been evolving my own sound, I have leaned into a more experimental indie folk sound inspired by current artists like Bon Iver, Big Thief, and Dijon who all feel familiar in a sense but still exciting and new. It’s cool when your music begins to feel like an extension of your identity and for me making folk-inspired music but with a progressive edge feels like it reflects who I am as an individual.

What kind of guitar do you play?

I play a Squier Jazzmaster and a Fender California Newport Player acoustic guitar!

What is your definition of tone? And is your tone evolving?

Tone to me is the expression of the mood of a piece. I’m noticing a trend with music now where artists are moving away from subscribing to a strict genre and instead are being defined more by the tone of their music, which is a much looser definition in terms of having to conform to predetermined genres like ‘folk’ ‘rock’ ‘pop.’ For me, the tone of my music is always set by the emotions I was experiencing when writing a song. With ‘Maybe I’m The Same’ I was feeling a whirlwind of emotions that ranged from feeling frenzied and uncertain to feeling vulnerable and hurt as can be heard in the way the song switches sound halfway through.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?

My favorite thing Ben and I did with this new EP was recording tons and tons of textural layers. We would set the mic in the middle of the room and yell and hit stuff and play random instruments and have conversations to make the recordings sort of come to life. I wanted the project to feel very real and raw and messy and I think we achieved that by doing this.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?

Live performance is something I am always working to improve and evolve as my sound and my comfortability grow. This past month I’ve been out in LA playing some shows and because I didn’t have a full band out here, I wanted to make my performance more than just an acoustic set, so my friend Dalton played with me, and we used some pedals, and this cool analog delay called a Memory Man to run my vocals through. I’m really inspired by Dijon’s live setup; I’ve seen him a few times in concert but this past time at reset I was thinking ‘I would love to do something like that at my shows’ so that’s what I’m sort of working on building right now.

What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, or other media?

I have always been into poetry, my older sister is a poet, so I grew up reading lots of poetry especially female poets like Sylvia Plath (I recommend everyone read ‘Ariel’). Currently, I am obsessed with Maggie Nelson, specifically her book ‘Something Bright Then Holes,’ that book truly inspired me. But I try to find a balance of being inspired by other people and their lives and stories and perspectives and by my own observations and experiences and perceptions of the world.

What can you share about your writing process?

I tend to start with the lyrics, they are just my favorite part and often the most important part to me. I love to write poems or little quips in my notes app when something inspires me. But the things that usually tend to turn into full songs, the ones that make it out of the notes app or voice memos are the emotions that I sit on for so long that they build up and just need to be released. It’s so cathartic to get to spill your emotional insides into lyrics and melodies and have other people relate to it and empathize with what you’re feeling.

What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs?

I’ve got this EP coming out in September and will have some cool videos coming out as well that I’m making with my friend Harrison. I have a Sofar Sounds in Williamsburg on August 10th, a full band show at the Windjammer in Ridgewood on August 12th, and a really cool show with Bungalow East on August 16th. There will be a vintage market, tattoos, food, drinks, etc. at that one so check it out! I have other shows as well later this year and I’ll post about those on my Instagram if you wanna keep up with me there. Yay!

Follow MER Instagram | Spotify


Sofar Sounds

August 10th, 2023 at 7:30 PM

Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Single Release Show (Song- ‘Maybe I’m The Same’)

August 12, 2023, at 8:30 PM

Footlight Underground at The Windjammer (Ridgewood, Queens)

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