Photo: Ana Sierota
One tasty tune at a time, 26-year-old Jamie Sierota is still able to channel the inner child within all of us. The former Echosmith guitarist is finally unveiling his solo project, meija, which is indie pop and synth-laden goodness all wrapped in one. His highly anticipated debut EP, So Long, Kid, is an honest representation of the tumultuous emotions everyone experiences at one point or another.
Without hesitation, meija introduces us to our former selves in "Kid." meija suggests that we should not lose our sense of youth even when faced with the harrowing adult realities of politics or rent. The bouncy "Buttons" is drenched with toy pianos, shakers, and a vintage '80s Casio keyboard, all of which bring with them a nostalgic comfort. meija spoke further, sharing,
"It's a painful process trying to figure how to be ‘responsible’ but not be freaking out all the time."
"Laugh It Off" was written during the chaotic 2016 presidential debates, and contrasts this dismal discussion with optimistic instrumentals like bongos and glass bottles. meija manages to squeeze in a cover of Prince's "I Would Die 4 U," which beautifully showcases his stunning vocals alongside a comforting tambourine. Lastly, So Long, Kid bids us farewell with "I Already Said That I Love You," a guitar-driven track that speaks volumes.
To celebrate his new music, we spoke with meija about positive feedback, individuality, and of course, So Long, Kid.
OTW: How did meija take shape?
meija: I was spending a lot of time working on other people's projects but was always working on my own thing on the side. Eventually, I had a batch of songs that I felt truly represented myself artistically but still pushed me musically. I love working with other artists, but I had the desire to put out songs without any other filter besides my own.
OTW: Are you surprised at how much positive feedback you've received with meija being a fairly new project?
meija: Yeah, I've been really thankful for the response so far. I didn't really have any expectations of how this all needed to go. I just liked the songs and wanted to start putting them out, hoping some other people would like them as well. I'm just saying what I feel and it's been a cool experience to see others relating!
OTW: Can you describe each track on So Long, Kid in one word?
meija: "Kid" - Naive. "Buttons" - Patience. "Laugh It Off" - Confrontation. "I Would Die 4 U" - Devotion. "I Already Said That I Love You" - Redundancy.
OTW: As we can hear in "Laugh It Off" and "Buttons," you incorporate sonic elements that set yourself apart from other pop acts. What else makes meija truly unique?
meija: Experimenting with sounds is one of my favorite things to do. I'm always hitting up thrift stores around me to try and find new and weird instruments. My lyrics are pretty blunt and come from my own personal worldview and experience. I'm not chasing any trends and am always pushing myself musically and lyrically.
OTW: How is meija's creative process different from Echosmith's approach?
meija: Echosmith was a very democratic process. I was definitely leading the creative direction but we still had to balance four different people’s opinions and goals. meija is just me. I get to try and say whatever I want. And there's no label involved, so all of it is very DIY, which forces me to get creative in different ways.
OTW: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?
meija: A dream collaboration for me would be David Byrne. I'm a huge Talking Heads fan. I love how he does all these interesting creative projects, whether it's a Broadway show or an album with St. Vincent.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
meija: Your Smith, Paris Carney, and Yoke Lore are all putting out some really cool stuff right now. I've gotten to work with them all and it's been amazing work on up and coming stuff that I’m also a fan of.