At one point, loser Jimmy McGill became cunning freestyle lawyer Saul Goodman; that was around 2005, in the prequel to the TV series Breaking Bad. At one point Lizzy Grant from the trailer park became singer Lana Del Rey. That was around 2011, before her musical breakthrough with the album Born To Die. In an interview for Vogue she explained: "I wanted a name I could shape the music towards. Lana Del Rey reminded me of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue."
And today, in 2020, Mei-Siang Chou, who already performed on stage as a singer behind Bobby McFerrin and Anastacia, becomes the solo artist Meira Loom, who delights the world with her own songs in the field of soul, neo soul and jazz and who may be considered - without exaggeration - as one of the best voices in Switzerland. But who is Meira Loom actually? And how does someone come to call herself that way?
We start our search for Meira Loom on www.baby-vornamen.de, a German website for baby names. Meira, it is said here, is the one who comes from the light, the enlightened one. Elsewhere, Meira is equated with the star of the ocean or simply seen as the short form of the Spanish maravillosa and translated as “wonderful”. Visitors to the website associate the name Meira with modern, attractive and successful. So far so good, with her first name, Meira Loom is on the safe side.
Things get more complicated with Loom. In English, to loom stands for something threatening that comes up and then hangs over you. Thunderclouds for example, or even a UFO. However: Who would object to a star of the ocean hanging over him or her? "Loom combined with Meira, I found the vowel-color combination very harmonious (ei & a & oo)”, says Meira Loom. "So it was more of an acoustic composition than a content-based one. Just like music. Moreover, Loom is also one of my favorite songs by Ani di Franco.”
As a child, Mei-Siang Chou practiced the hurdles in the garden for hours and jumped 5.10 meters in the long jump (as a left-footer!). Other biographical facts from her youth are no longer relevant today to explain Meira Loom. Was she able to do handstands as a child? Was she good at grammar? Did she never miss an episode of the Mini Playback Show? Why would that still matter today?
Meira Loom lives in Berne these days, is a singer and musician and finds her resting pulse when she sits down by the Aare river and looks into the depths of the water. She now understands what she is able to achieve as an artist. Now she dares to try things that she didn’t dare to do before. Before that, self-doubt accompanied her on her path and prevented her from reaching her full potential. Of course, making art is always a risk, Meira Loom is aware of that. Those who are creative expose themselves to criticism and risk not pleasing everyone. But she has dropped her fears of failing, has become courageous and persistently aims at her newly defined goals. Instead of the Café Marta in Berne, she now doesn’t mind to go as far as the Royal Albert Hall in London. As with Lana Del Rey, the art figure Meira Loom is increasingly becoming a real figure, the only figure. The name becomes the program.
“My former comfort zones are worthless today. They are well past their expiration date.”
The reason for Meira Loom's transformation is her debut album Letting Go, which was released on August 28, 2020. The album contains eleven carefully arranged tracks that she wrote herself, with one exception. Where Lana Del Rey's Born To Die is melodramatic and sad in a certain way, as the title suggests, Letting Go is an invitation to a self-determined life. Meira Loom sings about letting go and self-indulgence, and about toxic relationships and outdated obsessions that she leaves behind. “My former comfort zones are worthless today,” she says. “they are well past their expiration date.”
Meira Loom recorded her album at home in her studio. She brought the baby into the world almost all by herself - but that doesn't mean that she became a single mother. The child and her mother are cared for from different sides and enjoy a very happy time. In the process, Meira Loom has even learned to appreciate teamwork. Sure, here and there, one would have wished that the album had been produced with a richer sound. Letting Go was created with the "moyens de bord", as the French say, with the means available. Hence it is above all a statement for Meira Loom's versatile voice, which can burn powerfully, with no restrictions, only to caress the ear right afterwards, gently and velvety. When someone moves out of his or her home, like Meira Loom, who now moves out of Mei-Siang Chou, this person doesn’t usually move into a five-room apartment with two bathrooms right away. That has to develop.
"There is enough for everyone - including myself" is what Meira Loom conjures up on her debut album and these lines are symbolic of her new mindset. There is enough talent in the world and Meira Loom has got a lot of it. There is enough love in the world and a lot of it goes to Berne: because of Meira Loom and for Letting Go.
Kurt is based in Bern and Beirut is his second home. Always looking for that special angle, he digs deep into people, their stories and creations, with a sweet spot for music.
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