We’re keeping the Sound Off! momentum going today with this interview with Semifinalist Nora Meier.
Some artists are timeless. Whether it be the melodies they craft, the instruments they use, or the stories they tell, these musical time travelers defy the restriction of decades with songs of love and hope. Nora Meier is one of these artists. Often accompanied only by her piano, Meier’s voice soars, dips, and runs with a strength and purity reminiscent of the greats that came before. Her songs conjure the effortlessness of Billie Holiday with the intimacy of Nina Simone, all while still staying true to her own sound. If time machines are real, there’s a chance Nora Meier has one. Hop in for a ride, you won’t be disappointed.
[For me] being part of Sound Off! is engaging in this community of young musicians that are coming up into the music community and reinforcing that sense of togetherness. I think in an industry where a lot of people try to pit artists against each other, . . . I think things like this show that’s not the reality. There’s enough room for us all to support each other, and to know each other, and to lift each other up, and celebrate each other’s successes, and ultimately [to] create together and get to know each other for the rest of our lives. I think that’s really cool.
What artists are currently inspiring the music you create?
Oh man. [laughs] I listen to music every moment that I have; on all my bus rides to school. Laura Nero is somebody I’m listening to a lot. I love Joni Mitchell. I listen to a lot of Joni Mitchell with my family — my family listens to a lot of music, so a lot of older stuff. Newer stuff, I love Maggie Rogers. I love soul music, so I listen to Aretha Franklin all the time. I really love everything. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings I was listening to on my drive up to Seattle. Talking Heads. It’s a mix bag. I love everything. I really do.
Why do you make music? How does it make you feel?
We can never fully understand what music is or why it makes us feel the way that it does, but we can all experience it together. No matter where you come from or what your background is, people from completely different backgrounds can connect to music together. You don’t need to share the same language, you don’t need to have the same amount of technical knowledge.
When you hear something, and you feel connected to it, and other people feel connected to it, all of the sudden you engage in this very human thing where you are connecting to people through a feeling and experience that you can’t really describe. You just know it when you feel it and I love it when that happens. You get a kind of high off of it, like, “Wow we just engaged in this amazing thing, and I want to do it again. I want to do it forever, for the rest of my life” and make other people feel connected to music as well. So, that’s why I love it.
What do you hope to achieve through your music?
Well, I’m a senior in high school, so I’m applying to colleges. I just got accepted into Berkley College of Music, but the expenses for that are really difficult to figure out. I’m trying to figure it out and I’ve gotten some scholarship from them, they’ve been very generous, but I’m still trying to figure out ways I might make that work. I’ve [had another] audition at Oberland Conservatory that I’m trying to figure out as well. So, I’m kind of looking at the college option.
Ultimately, if I don’t get enough money to go to college, I won’t, because I know music is what I want to do and whatever I have to do to make that my life I’ll do it. I don’t think it’s reasonable or realistic to take on a ton of debt before I even get started. Wherever music takes me I’m happy to go there, but college is what I’m looking at right now. If that doesn’t work out, then it will be something else.
If your music were a fruit or vegetable, what would it be and why?
I don’t know why a pomegranate just came to my head. I don’t know why. A pomegranate is very — this is so funny — it’s a very like soft and subtle taste in your mouth but it’s fun to eat, you like to consume it, you like to experience it, it’s very beautiful and, I don’t know, chill.
See Nora Meier live at Sound Off! Semifinals #1 on February 9, 2019. Get your tickets right here.