Updated: Jun 15, 2020
equality factor: multidisciplinary ambassador for unity and shared human experience
last album: The Human Experience
our favourite song: "Agua"
based in: The Netherlands
Dutch multidisciplinary artist MERU playfully weaves poetry, vocals, composing and producing beats, acoustic instruments and visual artistry into an intriguing musical experience honouring her Afro-indigenous roots and world vision of unity.
Named after Churún Merú, commonly known as the Angel Waterfalls of Venezuela and the world's highest uninterrupted waterfalls, the Netherlands-born artist lives up to her name with a smooth musical flow that transcends between old-school Hip Hop, R&B, Neo-Jazz, Soul and traditional Latin American melodies. Ever-changing and evolving like water, MERU's music is a snapshot reflection of who is and how she is feeling at a specific moment, all the while advocating for unity and empathy among humans. She writes her name in all caps as a statement, reclaiming an unusual birth name that was often misunderstood by Dutch peers during her childhood in the city of Nijmegen. As a Latin American in Europe, she makes use of a memorable name as a symbol of what makes her special, representing her Afro-indigenous roots.
"My music is like a diary to me."
Before pursuing a musical education, MERU primarily expressed herself through poetry, thriving for music and arts from afar. Among her musical inspirations, she lists fellow musical multidisciplinary Princess Nokia, Lido Pimienta, MF Doom, J Dilla, Bob Marley and Fela Kuti. After graduating high school, a friend of hers suggested looking into studying musical production at the Herman Brood Academie of Utrecht, the Netherlands. MERU followed her intuition and auditioned - and she never stopped making music since. After graduating from the Herman Brood Academie of Utrecht in 2018, MERU released her first EP ‘REVEZ’ on September 13th of the same year.
The psychedelic EP features five dreamy tunes in English and Spanish, written by MERU herself, and produced by Juan Calderon. It offers a glimpse at the mind of the bilingual artist, complete with soft and playful vocals and meditative instrumentals, blending electronic production skills and acoustic sounds. In June 2019, the debut was
followed by a more festive, self-produced single 'Asi Es La Vida', a jazzy neo-Reggaeton song.
"If you feel love right now, sadness or alegría - that means you are alive. Welcome to The Human Experience!"
Last Friday, the 13th of March MERU's second EP, but first fully self-produced project "The Human Experience" saw the light of day after 365 of composing, recording writing, producing and mixing, mostly done in the artist's home. Fully in control of each step of the process, MERU is an empowered example for self-producing artists in our eyes. Within the first twelve seconds of the opening tune, the old school-inspired "Hip Hop", MERU invites listeners to join her on a musical journey through the human experience. On this tune, she foreshadows the high notes and positive energies, as well as the more thoughtful moments expressed throughout the EP - all with a smile on her face and her favourite flower in her hand.
"The Human Experience" is an enchanting blend of melodic instrumentals - the results of intuitive collaborations with fellow artist friends of MERU - and head-nodding vocals with a freestyle-reminiscing, yet to-the-point flow. "Hip Hop", "Ijustwannahavefun" and "Human" will remind you of the golden ages of R&B with a hint of futuristic playful flow and the sound of an "alien baby alter ego", as MERU describes it herself. The artist talks about the colourful facets of her worldly experience, at times demanding unity and empathy of fellow humans, other times primarily here to have a good time - but surely relatable at all times. On less lyrical tunes like "Agua", "Roots" and "Chuao/Venezuelan Dreams", MERU manages to express just as much, if not more, of her views and feelings. The ethereal "Agua" is the musical personification of MERU as a mermaid, complete with wavy instrumentals, a soft saxophone and lighthearted sunny melodies. Its intention is comparable to that of "Chuao", an instrumental inspired by the paradise-like nature of the Venezuelan Playa Chuao. With this song, MERU expresses the desire to return to the magical beauty of her motherland. If "Agua" transports you to an idyllic beach, the introspective "Roots" invites you into the depths of a magical forest.
MERU's music is created intuitively, each song reflecting a certain feeling, a color, a momentary state of mind and part of her human experience.
Finally, the most structured and fine-tuned song of the EP, "Fuego", is a reflection of fire sign MERU's experience as an expressive and passionate artist, sometimes overwhelming others with her 'caliente' spirit. As explained by the artist herself, it is a playful take on the reaction she sometimes gets from others: "Yo tengo fuego, mucho calor. Tu tienes miedo de mi corazón". In a playful tone, she reminds the listener to not be afraid of her fiery spirit and outspokenness. Just like the rest of the EP, this melodic tune is a reminder that we are all part of the human experience: there is no need to be afraid of differences - we have a lot in common, after all. With her music, MERU aims to find out what makes all of our human experiences alike, and celebrate differences where they are. She uses her voice carefully, not only to express herself but also to speak up for empathy and equality beyond interpersonal differences.