There’s comfort in the privacy of singing in your shower. But, to record an album in your own living room warrants a new level of self-comfort, especially as an artist. Considering the freedom, the potential of stepping out of the box, there’s no safer place than your own square footage. Marian Mereba (www.marianmereba.com) used that ideology in her Room For Living EP by recording the project in her living room. But don’t confuse this with most home-cooked efforts; this emcee/singer masterfully crafts an EP that both Floetry and Feist fans could equally enjoy. SoulTrain.com sits down with Mereba to discuss the project, being part of the #NewAtlanta scene, and the stress behind Valentine’s Day.
SoulTrain.com: How do you describe your sound?
Marian Mereba: A folk artist from the mid 60s–I don’t wanna say any names–mixed with some awesome female rappers like Lauryn Hill, Jean Grae. And also I really like pop, too, so mix in some pop/world influence. I would mix that all together. It’s acoustic-based but it’s hip-hop, world , and reggae, too, with universal sounds and melodies. I’m a writer at heart, so it’s also lyrical.
SoulTrain.com: So what do you like to write about as far as your enjoyments, excitements and interests?
MM: I write a lot about relationships–whether that’s loving people, loving yourself or your world. I write a lot about love, but I love writing about mantra-type things, too. Like, I have a song about “Ride The Wave” where it’s about how I live my life. It’s living your life as a person, but also about having fun and not taking it so seriously. I’m inspired by everything, like, how the world works. Whether things happen that are serendipitous or if it’s special, it’s all interesting to me.
SoulTrain.com: Was it on purpose to drop Room For Living on Valentine’s Day?
SoulTrain.com: You said you talk about love and relationships before, so is this the focus for the EP? Are there other things folks will hear?
MM: Well, while it dropped on Valentine’s Day I never really liked Valentine’s Day. There’s always a lot of pressure. It’s hard to enjoy because it is so stressful. It can be so simple being about love, but it still seems stressful.
SoulTrain.com: Do you actually celebrate Valentine’s Day when you’re in a relationship?
MM: Yes, I still do. I still enjoy the candy and going out to dinner, but really I’m generally a loving person. I love all my life, so a day of it is kinda stressful because I feel like I have to be extra-loving that day. And that’s kinda why I put it out on Valentine’s Day. I’m not in a relationship, and the album is not totally about relationships, but I’m still giving my heart. As for what to expect, it’s really acoustic with the piano and guitar. The harmonies and melodies put together are my roots. The content is largely based on love and relationships because that’s what I’ve been inspired by the last year. A lot of the songs are self-produced, and I also worked with John Key who’s also based in Atlanta. He’s a really dope producer–crazy on the keys, drums and production in general. It really is a room for living because I made it in my living room. That’s where the title came from.
SoulTrain.com: That’s a pretty neat title, Room For Living.
MM: Thank you. This past year has been quite an experience of life for me and other people around me. Room For Living has a deep meaning for me, and I hope other people can find their own meaning or take it how they hear it.
SoulTrain.com: I remember you hosting one of the showcases for the past A3C Hip-Hop Festival which included Ab-Soul, and Atlanta artists Trinidad James, Rome Fortune and these other artists who are now part of the #NewAtlanta movement. I’m unsure if it came before or after that, but now it’s really trying to break out. How do you fit into this, if you even consider yourself a part of it, or were you just hosting the show?
MM: I don’t really consider myself a spokesperson for it. I’m just an artist and I’ve been making music before it. There are artists here who I really respect and who consider themselves part of it, but I’m no spokesperson. From the showcase at A3C to the CRUx show I just did, I think it is really positive and I’m all for it. As for my art though, I think I’m my own thing. I support it, but I’m NewWorld, too!
Find Marian Mereba’s music, including the Room For Living EP, on her BandCamp page, or follow her on Twitter at @missmereba.
- Starletta Watson
Starletta Watson is a freelance writer exploring music scenes from all possible corners. She has contributed to Frank151, AOL, SlapStik Magazine and Examiner. She is constantly bringing forth new sights and sounds to online audiences through many other media outlets and also on twitter @_starburst88.