This California-born singer-songwriting beauty is celebrated as one of Broadway's triple threats, starring in numerous theatrical productions in New York, and around the country. So, there was every reason to believe that for her debut she would release a Broadway style album. Instead, though, MerieNYC is a collection of revealing, intimate, introspective compositions, torn right from the pages of her journal as a struggling actress in New York City. From the revealing opening liner notes to the listener, to the heartfelt, honest song 'Nevermind,' it's immediately evident that MerieNYC, Meredith's debut release, is a dramatic new direction for this multi-talented artist. Meredith says that the success of starring on Broadway in the Tony Award Winning Revival of 42nd ST in 2002, paved the way for MerieNYC. "Starring on Broadway was something I had been striving for and once I got there it gave me a great opportunity to step back say, "OK, what do I want to do next?' 42ND ST was really the end and beginning of a chapter in my artistic life, it opened me up to be fearless.' With the release of MerieNYC (November 2005), an album she executive produced, co-produced and composed, she has ushered in an entirely new way of seeing this eclectic performer. Influenced by and compared to artists like Sarah McLachlan, Michelle Branch, Sheryl Crow, and Shawn Colvin. Meredith's album release will undoubtedly create new opinions and deeper appreciation for her artistry from both critics and fans alike. 'I never asked for comparisons to other artists nor did I expect outstanding reviews of this album. I do, however, hope for the acceptance that no one is cornered in one market of this business and a realization that I can do more than act, dance and sing on stage." Meredith began writing music at the age of 18, the same year she moved to Manhattan from the small hometown of Pleasant Hill, CA. The years spent in New York are what the album reflects, years that brought maturity, experience, and confidence to a songwriter who already owned a sense of melody and lyric structure. Meredith has been exploring music for years, striving to make a name for herself in theater. "It's funny to me, people see this album as such a huge transition...shifting gears...for years I've just been putting one thing in focus, like acting, and at the same time going home and writing music. I have always wanted to do it all." Meredith worked alongside a local Los Angeles producer Jim Jacobsen on the album. Meredith became associated with Jim through Justin Goldman of Indie911.com whom she tracked down through a New York connection. She met Justin at his office and handed him a cassette tape. "That's all I had," she laughed "Justin didn't have a tape player except in his car. So we sat there and listened in his car. He obviously liked what he heard cause next thing I knew he had hooked me up with Jim." Meredith smiles, "Then there Jim and I were. Just the two of us in a basement studio, with cassette tape of songs and pages of lyrics. So, in between my meetings, performing, and filming we recorded the album. It was indie, low budget, and I loved every minute of it." Meredith's usual writing method is as eclectic as her abilities, she doesn't read music or have any training in piano or guitar. "Sometimes I'll just tap a beat out and sing a melody...and that's how a song begins." Meredith would arrive at the studio with songs more or less complete and ready to go. And then some, she wrote in 5 minutes the night before. 'Some of the songs I've lived with for almost 10 years, some 10 minutes. Most of my songwriting, it's been hair- pulling, gnashing of teeth, tears and constant self doubt. But while recording this album, I kept saying to myself,' This is for me. I don't care what anyone thinks. This is something I have to do to move on musically. Get these songs out and recorded." The first song on the album, "On My Own" is an chronological journey of Meredith moving to New York, struggling, and finally coming out on top. Other strong tracks include possible singles 'Foolish Heart','Nevermind" as well as the uplifting mantra entitled 'Everything Is Fine' . "I wanted to completely reveal myself on this record,' says Meredith, 'and I didn't have any trepidation about doing that. I really wanted to make a record that wasn't concerned with fitting in to a type, just something open, honest, and from my heart.' Whenever Meredith begins an album, she says, she uses a handful of albums as a 'template' to help define the project. But it was a chance listening to The Carpenter's Greatest Hits that revealed a last minute addition to the album. "I was trying to write a song for my new husband, and nothing was coming out right. I wanted to make it perfect, and couldn't live up to my expectations." Then a few weeks before the album was to be finished, Meredith heard Karen Carpenter sing "I Won't Last a Day Without U ". "And I knew that was the song. I never thought of having a cover track but it was perfect lyrically, musically, and I knew the album had to end with that song. I had to sing it." Comparisons were immediately made between Meredith's vocal quality and that of the legendary Karen Carpenter. 'When I was a little girl I used to try to sing like Karen. I had this low voice that people used to make fun of, so Karen was an inspiration. I wouldn't dare say I am anywhere near her vocal talents. What I loved was, here was a woman who was celebrated as having one of the most a beautiful voices in the world. And she didn't sing high and show off.....here genius was those rich low notes.' she says. 'The song is absolutely perfect for the conclusion of the album an as a surprise gift for my husband on our 1st anniversary." The release of MerieNYC will be followed by performing in Los Angeles & New York clubs that are reflective of the album's mood. 'I'm currently working on putting together a band. When the timing is right, we're going to do a handful of dates with a band, maybe add in some covers of artists who have inspired me' says Meredith. 'We'll do selections from the album, some brand new not yet recorded songs and then we'll come back and do the tribute covers, including "I Won't Last A Day Without U". It's gonna be an evening of music - more intimate, more theatrical, and for me," she laughs "a nice departure from going out in a pair tap shoes.' One original characteristic of Meredith's album is that you do get hear her tap dancing talents in the various interlude tracks of the album. In between each song are interludes. Ex: Samples of subway sounds, airplane announcements, even a rejection voice mail message from her agent. Things that suggest the song following them. 'It's an idea for the album that lends itself to my theatrical background. I thought of the album as a musical journey of my life in New York. So nothing made more sense than to have sounds of New York, and my life inserted between songs. It informs the song following the interludes, and every time I hear the subway car announcement, or the unemployment tel service line...I'm brought right back to where I was when I wrote the songs.' Where Meredith was is far from where she is now. Meredith confesses that recording this album has been a wonderful closure of those years. 'When anyone asks 'Why did it take so long for you to record this album?'' Meredith explains, unhesitatingly, 'The answer is that I was just living my life. I wasn't looking back. I was enveloped in acting, performing on Broadway, trying to make a living as an actress. Everything the album conveys is what I was going through. I walked away from music for a few years. I didn't play my piano, I didn't open up my journals, I just really needed to let go of all the pressures and the expectations I had on myself. Taking a break and walking away was the best thing I could have done. I came back to it with fresh ears, listened to the tracks, and I realized that it didn't seem impossible anymore. I just decided to do it. No label, no elaborate budget. Just something I can look back and be proud of. That's my truth. It's honest, and it brought me to a much happier place, it opened the flood gates and I'm writing now more than ever.' All in all, MerieNYC is a record of cumulative life experiences: a collection of beautiful melodies, lush instrumentation, honest lyrics, and a musical whole that is yet another reminder of just how talented this artist is.
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