Massachusetts based, Meredith Sheldon had quite the year in 2013, touring with the one and only Johnny Marr on his worldwide tour, supporting him on the UK and US legs of the tour. Meredith Sheldon is an artist that I believe to be heavily underrated, I’ve tried to spread the word about her ever since I first heard her music in 2012, so it means a lot that I got the chance to interview her. The combination of her haunting vocals driven by heavy indie guitars make her music so powerful and prominent, it’s music that sticks with you. She sings about about life, the general things that we all go through and some things that are more personal like the track, Sister. She is a singer-songwriter at heart and this shines through in her music. With the recent release of her third EP, A La Mar (Sketches) 2, it’s time you get on the Meredith Sheldon bandwagon.
I caught up with Meredith to discuss everything from touring with Johnny Marr and Marina and the Diamonds, her music and much, much more.
How long have you been making music for as a solo artist?
How would you describe your sound, for those readers that may have never heard your music before?
Pretty grungy indie.
You’ve supported Marina and the Diamonds on her UK tour in 2012 and you supported Johnny Marr on the UK and US leg of his worldwide tour last year. How did that come about and what was it like being on tour with someone so iconic like Johnny Marr?
I’ve been very fortunate to come into contact with some amazing people along the road… most of it has just happened like dominoes, meeting friends of friends, fathers of friends of friends of sisters of friends, etc. Johnny has been one of the most inspiring, supportive, caring and wonderful people to tour with and his shows are such a joy, complete with fantastic audiences. I run out of rave review vocabulary trying to describe touring with him.
It was quite a rigorous tour schedule you had on the Johnny Marr tour. When you have some downtime what do you choose to do? Do you ever go sightseeing?
I read a lot. I mess around with songs. I make up for the constant moving around of touring by sitting by the fireplace and cooking and wearing outrageous combinations of warm clothing…at least that’s what I’ve been doing this winter. I go sight seeing in the local Whole Foods…and if I’m really feeling adventurous I’ll go to a museum wherever I am. Makes for good old fashioned inspiration I reckon.
You spend a lot of time over here in the UK touring. Do you find the UK crowds are quite receptive to your sound? Have you noticed your UK fan base growing?
Yes, certainly. It’s been really fun to meet people that have been to shows before and are familiar with my songs already. And I love England, I love English audiences and I love the enthusiasm there is for all sorts of music there. It is reflected in the hospitality, the people that work in the business and the audiences for sure.
What’s your favourite aspect of performing live?
The feeling that you’re all in it together, you’ve all come for the same reason, to be a part of an experience and to exchange a beautiful form of energy, to feel together, to shout, sing and clap together…there’s a lot of disharmony in the world but for a few hours it’s all mute.
I saw you when you were supporting Marina and the Diamonds back in 2012; it was just you and your electric guitar. Do you have a backing band now or is it still just only you?
Because I am still an independent artist, I am at the mercy of funding when it comes to having a backing band. That can be a mixed blessing, as it has given me the opportunity (forcefully) to explore all different live arrangements and not get too tied down to any one, while on the other hand, I write most of my music for a full band and it is always a joy to play with other people. I enjoy every incarnation in the end, from solo to duo to whole band, and it has been interesting and rewarding to stretch and reform my songs into different arrangements for different tours.
I’d imagine because your songs are so personal to you, it’s easy to just get lost in the song and the audience just fades away, is this true for you?
It can sometimes, and I like when that happens. But everyone’s moods change from day to day a bit (unless you’re manic, and then it’s a lot?) and some nights that guy in the back by the bar who won’t shut up you just can’t ignore for some reason, or maybe another night you’re all at ease and as an experiment you try to really watch the audience and get a feel for them, take in as much as you are projecting out…
You released your second EP, A La Mar (Sketches), late last year. It’d been quite a while since you released any new material. What did you get up to in between the release of your first EP and second EP?
Trying to find answers to the universal questions.
You previously collaborated with Willy Mason on your track, Saddle Up. If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would that be and why?
Pretty much any of my friends…collaboration to me is inspired by relationships and music/art is just the expression of what exchanges between people. Who better to collaborate with than people you love?
And maybe Beyonce. Because I absolutely don’t understand it.
We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?
Colin Ruel is an artist from Martha’s Vineyard who’s music i really like and he just put out a beautiful record called Ocellus.
A special thanks to Meredith Sheldon for this interview and for more info on her, check out the following links below.