19 year old Mercer has become known for injecting her whole being into her music. She doesn’t hide smaller details behind a masquerade of infectious pop hooks and compelling melodies, no, she bares it all to us as she expresses who she truly is through her songwriting. Her loyal fanbase have seen her songwriting evolve over the years into a wondrous sound that’s perfectly seen in Fool. Every drop reveals more details of her tantalising sound that’s seen countless fans lose their mind over and it doesn’t look like that will be stopping anytime soon. I had the joy of chatting with her as apart of this edition of Q&A1234.
For anyone who hasn’t heard you before, who is Mercer?
Musically, my passion is creating interesting melodies, incorporating unique sounds, layering vocals, and writing lyrics that capture the complexities (cruelties and sweetness) of relationships. I just performed live for the first time as a singer-songwriter, and I fell in love with it- so I would classify my brand as a ‘music experience’: songwriter and performer.
Let’s start off with your journey; because you originally started in app development at 13, how did you transition from that to creating music?
It is important to know that my app company was centered around ‘sound’; the purpose was to give emojis sound and personality before Steve Jobs did, ha! At the same time, I was studying piano, singing, and performing. I’ve always had a passion for both music and entrepreneurship, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to experience both. I love the intersection that is creative entrepreneurship.
Were there any artists out there who inspired your leap into music, and do they inspire your sound today?
I think that we are so lucky to have access to a wide range of many incredible artists and songwriters. I love the Amy Winehouse style of writing and “retro vibe.” I appreciate Dolly Parton’s storytelling lyrics that capture the human experience. Finneas is an incredible lyricist and inventive producer, and I really enjoy unique vocal styling from Adele toYebba. What I find particularly inspiring about these artists is their ability to make their audience feel, relate and respond to their music. Music is about connection.
Out of all the tracks you’ve released so far, is there one that you believe represents you the most? If so, why?
I think my best work is the songs I am writing now; I have much more life experience and am more creatively expressive, taking more risks now, pushing the bounds of the singer-songwriter genre. I also love “Fool,” which is on Spotify now – I think the wide vocal range and runs represent me as a singer, and l am proud of the lyrical story it tells.
You’ve got a new track coming out soon called Strangers that’s had a big reaction online. Has it been crazy seeing how many people relate to it?
First, I am incredibly grateful that people spend time listening to my music as well as finding a deep connection with the lyrics. It has been incredible to get DMs and videos from people telling me their stories and why they relate to “Strangers .”I really cannot thank them enough for listening; I hope to meet them all when I am on tour someday!
You had your first show a few weeks back; how was that experience for you?
Crazy and incredible! As you said, it was my first performance, and it was with a full live band – which consisted of some of my best friends and the most talented musicians I know. We only had time for three rehearsals because of our school schedules, but thanks to them, it really came together. We cannot wait to do it again.
Was there any moment during your set that really stood out to you?
First of all, the band agreed to wear bangs (kinda my signature look for now), so that was really fun. It really hit me that I have a connection with the audience when they started singing “Fool” and holding up their phone flashlights. The audience makes a show, and for me, that was really special. They also really got into the “Strangers” chorus I have been posting on social.
If you could plan out your dream show, the venue, the country, the opening act, the guest performers, what would it be?
This is a great question! I would like to play larger venues but still have that intimate connection; Radio City Music Hall in New York would be incredible. I have attended a few concerts there; the acoustics are great, people can see the stage from every seat, and there is plenty of room for the audience to stand up and participate. Honestly, it would be so cool to see my name as part of that iconic sign.
What inspires you creatively?
People, life, interactions, and places. I have written songs by just observing a person on the subway, I imagine them and their life, and it just comes together. Or I hear a sound that would be cool to put into a song, and that can turn into something completely unexpected.
If you could give one piece of advice to an artist who’s just starting out in music like you were many years ago, what would it be?
Recognize that where you start may not be where you end up… life and experience can really inform who you are as an artist. Also, have fun and be your own person; don’t let the industry overly influence your vision for yourself. My advice would be to give yourself time to find your own music vibe; everyone seems to be in a rush to be famous – instead, try and focus on creating things that represent a longer view of your personal brand and the audience you want to reach.
What’s next for Mercer?
Strangers single release, then, hopefully, an EP. When I get back to New York, I look forward to performing live. As for the summer, writing, recording sessions, and hanging with my family, especially my little sister.
Who’re you counting in? (essentially what new artists are you really loving right now)
Some new artists who I am loving right now include Chappell Roan, Holly Humberstone, Devon Again, and Caroline Polacheck. I am also super excited about my peers who are starting their artist careers; Lucas Sim (producer), Stephen Dawes, and Hannah Hill, as well as so many other talented students at the Clive Davis Institute at NYU.