Katherine Vlamis, known as Merakki, is a self-taught singer/songwriter and producer from Kansas City, Missouri. Independently making a name for herself and establishing her craft from the ground up, Merakki has been writing since she was 5 years old. Over time, Merakki has developed her sound and style into a fusion of pop and electronic music. Her catchy melodies capture a sense of youthful excitement while her meaningful lyrics tell a deeper story of the obstacles and challenges faced when growing up and stepping out into a world much larger than yourself.
merak(k)i - Greek - verb: to do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself in your work.
“Golden Hour” is Merakki’s brand new album, I highly suggest you set aside an hour and listen to the whole album. Merakki’s writing throughout this project is decidedly emotional, beginning with the unmistakable “Fragile Heart” delicacy and regret intertwine as Merakki pours truth and soul into the process. The finish, production-wise, really lets the intricate nature of these songs stand as tall as they possibly can.
“Warrior” follows the opener and brings through a quickly likable piano riff and a higher energy level. Great rhythm and a story-line that connects in an instant, this song showcases a really strong melody and a brilliant performance from Merakki. A definite early highlight, superb production again lets the natural strengths of the song work their magic. The drop to the hook is beautifully uplifting with powerful vocals. “Lighthouse” brings the mood back to mellow with the bare essentials – piano, a light beat, a scattering of vocal fragments. Merakki’s voice meanders impressively as this motivational and heartfelt song pours through.
“Wanderlust” afterward exemplifies many of the album’s underlying sentiments and emerges with confidence. Then you get the gentle and classic tones of “Gone”, featuring a raw vulnerability and heart-wrenching lyrics. This song is a definite highlight for its beautifully manic yet simultaneously dreamlike and expressive aura. “Gray Matter” leads with a creative piano melody that takes its time to build. Further relationship realizations emerge, regret and possibility meet to see Merakki consider the past followed by the future.
At the perfect moment, “Stratosphere” kicks up with a superb soundscape and an engaging verse melody with short lines and a simple, memorable tune. The heightened peaks at the end of each section all help make this an absolute personal favorite from the album. A smooth electronic pop piece, “Soak It Up” fuses contemporary pop and electronic elements to make this a hit! Merakki sings passionately about living life to the fullest and always staying grateful. The album transitions into “Key” and we’re instantly hooked, the retrospective track is hypnotizing and pure. Merakki is inspiring, confident, and extremely self-aware. “Key” is a transcendent anthem that highlights Merakki’s genre-bending abilities. Next up on the album is “Wild Card”, a lyrically deep single that focuses on the pressures of becoming successful in life. Merakki recites poetry through flawless lyricism and surprisingly emotive delivery. She fuses electro-pop with a contemporary beat to keep us hooked.
Her debut album “Golden Hour” moves into a touching composition titled “Puppet on a String”. The powerhouse vocalist starts off this song with passion and fire burning through the speakers. Equipped with raw emotion and truth, Merakki is unstoppable in her endeavors. The composition of multi-layered sounds has me blown away instantly. Merakki’s strong vocals complement the piano’s soft and beautiful sound perfectly. The powerful energy is intoxicating throughout this piece but still keeps up with the vibrant pop sound that Merakki is known for. The vocals are consistently polished and timeless. Keeping true to her dramatic, electro-pop, aesthetic, the explosive “Time Capsule” comes barrelling through the speakers and we can’t get enough.
The synths in this song are breathtaking, the vocals are once again flawless and the overall audio production is seamless. This song truly highlights Merakki’s versatility and emotional maturity as an artist. She wears her heart on her sleeve and turns her poetic words into spectacular songs. This debut album is sure to be an absolute success. Merakki has the fanbase, talent, ambition, and confidence to rise to the top. Her angelic vocals, emotive lyricism and polished musical arrangements make her an instant legend and the one to watch. Stay tuned!
Listen to the full album here and continue reading below for our interview with Merakki!
Hey Merakki! We love your debut album! Can you talk about the overall theme of “Golden Hour”?
Thanks! In one word, I'd say the theme of Golden Hour is "change". With the exception of one song, all of the tracks on Golden Hour were written during my senior year of high school. This time in life is filled with new opportunities, experiences, and most importantly, changes within yourself. Some changes are welcomed, and some are more difficult to grasp. Nonetheless, change is happening around us every day. That’s actually why the album is entitled Golden Hour; in photography, it’s the prime time to capture the moment, even though the light is fading fast. Change comes quickly, like day turning into night, but sometimes it brings about something more beautiful than you could’ve imagined. I've personally struggled throughout the year here and there, but writing this album helped me embrace some of the change I was afraid of and I'm hoping it can inspire others to do the same!
What was the writing process like for this project?
I feel like each songwriter has their routine. For me, I usually start off sitting at the piano playing around with melodies or chord progressions until I find one that sticks. From there, I improvise vocal melodies and find what evokes the right emotion that I'm trying to convey. Oftentimes, I'll decide on a theme or main topic for a song without ever having any lyrics; I just listen to music and write the song about whatever emotion the music makes me feel. After writing the lyrics, I put the piano midi in Logic, add various instruments and beats until I like the full sound, and then the rest is just basic recording and mixing from there!
What do you hope your listeners take away from your music?
I want anyone listening to be able to find a lyric or song to connect to. Maybe they relate to it because they've felt the same way and appreciate knowing they're not alone, or maybe they find inspiration in the lyrics and it helps give them the extra push they need. Either way, no matter where they are in their lives at the moment, I want each listener to be able to take away a sense of hope and comfort from my music.
What track on the album would you say made you channel the most emotion when creating it?
When writing music, I pull largely from my observations and emotions. But if I had to pick one song, I’d probably say Warrior just because it was a major turning point in my mentality on my self-worth. At the time, I was getting over a break-up and blaming everything that went wrong on myself. When writing this song, I pulled from those emotions of shame and doubt and wrote the song as a (hopefully) self-fulfilling prophecy. I thought I wasn’t deserving of love, that I wasn’t good enough for it and never would be. However, Warrior tells the story of a girl who knows that love is something worth fighting for because she recognizes her worth. It’s a song about acknowledging that you deserve nothing but the best and never let yourself settle. Luckily, this self-fulfilling prophecy came true and I’m in a much healthier place than I was back then. I’m a firm believer that music can be the greatest therapy, whether you’re a writer or a listener. I hope anyone feeling like they deserve something less than their true worth (relationship love or anything else) feels empowered by Warrior.
Do you have any upcoming events or shows you’d like to talk about?
As of now, I don't have any upcoming events or shows! I'm still settling into Los Angeles for my first year at USC as a Music Industry major, but I'm hoping to start networking and playing at venues in LA soon! Any events or shows I play at will be announced on my website, www.merakkimusic.com, so you can check there for updates in the future!!