With a sound that belies his years, there is an inescapably timeless aspect to the music of mehro, an L.A.-based singer-songwriter that absolutely wears his heart on his sleeve in all aspects of his art. Humble and genuine as any artist you will meet, he sat down for an exclusive interview with EARMILK to talk how he weathered 2020 and the emotions captured in his newly released debut project SKY ON FIRE.
"There's not just one thing that inspires me to make music. Its people, places" the young creative says as he ponders his vast array of influences, "Memories." Mehro's debut EP was created during the pandemic and the effect of isolation from friends and family has been seminal to the development of the project, "The inspiration behind the album and the concept of Sky on Fire has been the past year and how hard it has been on everybody. The analogy of the (sky on fire) is that what would we be able to do; we'd be helpless, it would just be hanging over our heads." When asked what additional challenges he faced making his art during such unusual, isolating circumstances, mehro shared, "Naturally I am a loner. The process has been a process of self-reflection for me, and seeing how I'm able to improve with this time I've been given." He also acknowledged the privilege of having the time and circumstances to create music during this difficult time and how it has allowed him to focus in on the two most important aspects of his life, music and family.
The singer-songwriter has also had to contend with a rapid rise to fame, growing his social media following from several hundred to now hundreds of thousands in the span of just a few months. Most artists beginning their career with such rapid success would lose focus to their vision; but not mehro. When asked what effect the fame and success have had on him, he simply taps his phone screen, " All that stuff is just on here. Nothing else has changed. The people in my life have stayed the same and they keep me grounded. People worried before I went on this journey that I would change, but those people didn't know me because I won't change just based off someone saying they like or dislike my music." It's a simple rumination but incredibly mature for the 21-year old musician. "Nothing has changed and yet my entire life has changed" he laughs in summation of his meteoric journey that shows no signs of slowing down.
"Every song has multiple sources of inspiration," he says of his debut project. "'Lightning' isn't about a specific moment but it's about who I am, it's about friendship, it's about love, life, it's about appreciating a moment while you can. But 'Hideous' was about a specific moment in time, a really gut-wrenching experience. 'Perfume' is about what people would bring me happiness in my life. 'Chance with You' is also about a very specific moment in time." Each song from the project is a personal reflection of the artist himself, with deeply revealing breathy vocals that put you directly into mehro's bedroom studio. With songs so innately personal that you feel as though you know him through just a few plays of his songs, his one-of-a-kind alt-pop presence is calming and addictive. Somehow making maximal use of minimal instrumentation, SKY ON FIRE provides interconnected ballads that carry a uniquely mass appeal in their emotional depth.
"I want people to feel inspired to be their best, I want people to feel worthy, and I want people to feel loved and also accepting of love from others" mehro says when asked the emotions he wants to be taken away from his debut project, "I want (the listener) to self-reflect and realize mistakes that have been made in the past are past so that they can move forward and don't have to just relive the same moments over and over."
"The best feeling is when people compare me to an artist I haven't heard of yet" mehro says with a smile. Frequent comparisons to legendary songwriters such as Rufus Wainwright, Elliott Smith, and Jeff Buckley might be intimidating to some young artists but mehro doesn't put any additional pressure on himself from these comparisons. "When people make those comparisons, they're really just trying to make the music understood by the listener before its ever actually heard by the listener. I'm secure enough to know I am myself, and I don't mind being compared to anybody."
Much like his music, many of mehro's answers and musings reflect his overwhelming maturity and innate humbleness. Combining worldly and affected vocals that are painstakingly bare and honest with his almost Chalamet-esque demeanor and appearance, he is steadily becoming a formidable superstar for the next generation. Despite his bright future in music, mehro explained his desire for his career is simple. "I want to have artistic fulfillment first and foremost" he says as he examines his desired career trajectory, "Having full financial and creative freedom to do what I want musically while I can support myself and my family is what's most important to me. If I'm doing what I love and taking care of the people that I love while being myself, I don't know how life could get better than that."