On the eve of Detriot native Kristen Merritt’s latest single release, I sat down to chat with the now Brooklyn based artist to chat about her story thus far. We promptly delve into many of Kristen’s passions which include music-making, and her upcoming debut album “Joi”. I also immediately grasp why she named her own debut album that. Her latest single “I Don’t Think About You” is full of jazzy melodies and soulful pickups. It follows in line with previously released tracks like “I’m Done”. Where Merritt seemingly has envisioned her own sound, and style. It’s a reimagine of sorts of that epic 90s R&B & Neo-Soul sound, with a refreshingly honest millennial meets gen z twist. Yes, you can hear the markings of 90s soul songbirds like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott or Lauryn Hill all over but it’s all her. This is clearly a new generation of jazzy soul and a Kristen Merritt sound. Yet, early on in our chat I find out that however prevalent music is in Merritt’s life now. Intriguingly enough, this wasn’t always the case, In high she performed for the first time. It was a successful live accapella performance. Kristen also did a stint in a friend’s band and learned to play guitar at 21. Kristen’s catalyst for pursuing music didn’t come until later. Although she had some new found skills and confidence with music in her back pocket. Merritt went to college and wound up with a Geology major and degree. It was only around that time she began to take an even broader leap into the unknown towards music. Where she learned how to mix, master, and engineer music included her own. Merritt says being exposed to other musicians and types of music, including doing a stint in a friend’s band helped her grow. They also allowed her to fully appreciate music, and the art, the process, of it from within. All this lead her to fully taking the reins on her forthcoming album ‘Joi’. The album due out on September 14 entices the listener with soothing, soulful, and jazz-influenced neo-soul sounds. The first few tastes deliver lyrically and emotionally and are carefully crafted. It’s all about the storytelling for Merritt and making sure she gets the right point across through it. Her latest “I Don’t Think About You” uses the five stages of grief to delve into feelings of love and loss and accompanied with a Marissa Yates directed music video.
I wanted “IDTAY” to be a song exploring coming to terms with romantic feelings I thought I had gotten over. And honestly, when I was writing it, the intention was just to let thoughts flow free form, but in reading it back I discovered I still had these feelings. The song explores coming to accept those feelings – which in my experience has been the only true way to move past them.– Kristen Merritt
As a fellow creative it’s always refreshing and exciting chatting with an artist excited about the next chapters in their life and career. When our chat came to an end I realised that the same *joy* I mentioned prior about Kristen, she exhibited effusively discussing any of her passions. Whether it was talking about her fave Korean BBQ joints (Samwon Garden BBQ), or the show that got her through quarantine (it was The Good Place), or even discussing something like nostalgia. We both understood and have struggled with that feeling. A feeling that would hit when the sun hits at a certain time of day that comes on strong. But like many things in life, it’s truly what you make of it. Yopu can stream the new single “I Don’t Think About You” by Kristen Merritt here or by listening below!
KRISTEN MERRITT // SOCIALS: