Universal - Volbeat's Michael Poulsen discusses the impact guitarist/producer Rob…
- Posted on Mar 14th 2010 8:00AM by Alma Verdejo
Describe your sound in your own words.
I'm a singer-songwriter and I write about my own experiences. The sound is folk rock-pop and writing about things that really happen. Most of the time I write about my life and right now I'm kind of experimenting with existential writing. "What if?"
How did you become a musician?
I got into music being a kid in a small town with nothing else to do. So I started playing guitar and writing songs. Getting into music in L.A., I was waiting tables at a music venue and at the same time I was playing open mics here and there. Then, being around so much music and so many of my friends who played musical instruments, it was a natural progression to do music. We'd play, drink beer and play and that's how I started getting in with other musicians, with drummers and stuff. My shows are kind of back and forth, or I'm solo by myself. They both have their perks.
What are your musical influences?
As a kid, I really started listening to Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Sade. Like very expressive poets--even though Billie didn't write any of her songs, her feeling really grabbed me. Then, Edie Brickell I really like. I really got into them because of my older sister, I think, because my parents didn't really listen to that kind of music or artists.
How did you come up with your name?
I'm happy that I get asked this question a lot. My sister and I are a Japanese. When we were little we were raised by my dad, who wasn't Japanese, and I guess we felt like we had some lost heritage. We had part of us that we didn't really know about, we didn't know our ancestors' history. When we were kids, we had these silly names we went by, Meiko and Keiko, because we were the only people with any Asian heritage in the town. I kind of just kept that going and when I did my first open mic night in L.A. I signed in as Meiko and it kind of stuck.
Why did you choose Meiko as a name instead of something else to represent your Japanese heritage?
Well, because my name starts with an M and that's probably about as exciting as it gets [laughs].
I know one of your more famous songs is 'Boys With Girlfriends.' What inspired you to write that song?
I was really good friends with this guy who had this girlfriend and she thought that maybe I liked her boyfriend. Really, he and I were just really good friends and we'd get together and play music and sing songs. We were just friends and she kind of thought that something else was going on and eventually, he stopped returning my calls and stopped being my friend. I was really hurt by it. I think he gets it now, that not returning my calls was a bad move. He's still with the same girl and she's kind of really scary. It's really lame, being from the South, you learn as a kid to hang out with the boys. It's never really divided. Boys hang out with the girls and girls hang out with the boys, just with a group of people. I was always a tomboy and always hung out with guys, just got along with them better and some girls do not like that.
I noticed some girls that took the song to a romantic level, like you're pining away for this guy?
That's probably a good interpretation of the song but when I was writing it I played around with the words and made it like "I really liked him," to that level, but in reality we were just friends.
I see that a lot of your songs are used in TV shows. Any TV show in particular you'd like to see your music used in?
Maybe 'Jersey Shore'? That's ridiculous [laughs]. Maybe 'Lost'? I think I really like 'Grey's Anatomy' and they showcase some great songs and unknown artists. I was unsigned when they played me and I feel very lucky that they played me on the show and I think it's a great place for artists to get played to the world.
Is this the first time you're playing SXSW?
This is the fourth year, the fourth SXSW I've been in. I'm really excited 'cause it's so much fun and it's great to see my friends, so South-By is the time to see everyone.
What is in your SXSW festival survival kit?
My IDs, bottle of water, a shoulder bag, and a small purse you can keep a few things in. I also take my pillow when I tour--I sleep better with it. I also only pack my suitcase halfway so I can have room to take all the random stuff I get from festivals like CDs from new artists, t-shirts, that kind of stuff.
Any bands that you're excited to see?
Marina & the Diamonds. Hole.
What is your musical guilty pleasure?
A little Ace of Base action, I pull them out of my old stack of CDs. Hole, I was a really big fan of Hole when I was in high school.
What is the craziest thing you've seen or experienced on tour?
We got pulled over and the girl I was with, her driver's license was suspended, and she didn't know and we had to get this ordeal to get the car back. We were left on the side of the road.
Describe your shows in three words to people have never seen you before.
S--- talking singer-songwriter.
Alma Verdejo is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.