The US-born (and 25% Japanese–thus the nickname!) 30-year-old songstress first gained notoriety with the release of her self-titled debut in 2007, right around the time of the Great Singer-Songwriter Explosion of 2005-2008. (Note: not actually a real thing.)
Remember that, though? It was when the tunes of brilliant folky indie-pop acts like Imogen Heap, Ingrid Michaelson, Rachael Yamagata and Sara Bareilles began popping up on the radio waves of KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, on the road on the Hotel Café Tour, and in the soundtracks of shows like Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill and 90210.
To craft a follow-up to her debut, Meiko worked with Belgian artist/producer Styrofoam (Death Cab for Cutie) and Jimmy Messer (Kelly Clarkson, The Veronicas) during the latter half of 2010 in Los Angeles.
The result is The Bright Side, a record of “sumptuous folk-pop with thumping electronic beats” (sounds promising!) due out on May 15.
The first single from the album, “Leave The Lights On,” (originally called “Between the Sheets”) is what specifically put Meiko on radar (on my ray-dah): After hearing a Morgan Page remix of the track (which you can download for free below!), I found the incredible original version, which balances between guitar-pop and wisps of Ellie Goulding-like folktronica magic.
“We’re in the dark, it’s getting late/I really should go, he’s waiting for me,” she starts above the song’s lone guitar strum and dark synthesizers brooding below the surface. As the track builds, more electronica comes pouring into the speakers, resulting in a mini-rumination on the dance floor. Almost like a darker take on Robyn‘s “Call Your Girlfriend,” but with more grief and guitars.
Basically, it’s quite incredible. Listen immediately!
“Leave the Lights On” was released on April 10. (iTunes)