By Hannah Connolly
Belgian-Korean singer/songwriter and rising star MEYY got her first break at age just 16, since then building upon repertoire of songs that includes Angelic Lies, Do It, and most recently QT — all whilst holding down a degree in one of the world's most prestigious Civil Engineering universities.
In fact, MEYY is a multidisciplinary artist in the truest sense. Having moved to London a year and half ago she has unlocked the power of committing to her calling, transforming a part-time passion into full-time artistic expression.
The beating heart of MEYY's music is exactly that — a beating heart. Inspired by her experiences of love, the result is a catalogue of powerfully immersive tracks. An inhale and exhale of a sound, that in short is hypnotic. Anchored by R&B influences, rhythmic threads and relatable lyricism, her music is strikingly complex, and it is no surprise, because as she says herself — MEYY doesn't "do things by halves".
"People would always ask,what do you want to be when you grow up? And I would say a pop star but I know that’s never going to happen because I live in Meise", she tells me as we catch up over Zoom. Growing up in the small Belgian town of Miese, this didn't always feel quite so obtainable, "I always wanted to pursue music on a professional level, but I never really dared to go for it."
Though, song writing remained a constant from a young age, her first coming about when she was just 11-years-old, inspired by her grandparents' anniversary. Then came young romance: "I would be involved with a person and I would write a song about how I felt, how I perceived them, then I'd record it and send it to them and say yo, I wrote this song, what do you think?"
At 16, MEYY was picked up by a Belgium label, and two years later she released her first single, Angelic Lies. Then came lockdown, and everything changed, signing to a London based label and committing to the move, which has seen MEYY living in London for over a year and a half now.
A huge narrative shift, which shook up her life dramatically: "Everything that I do now is for music and it feels so good — I feel more confident than before… I spend like every second of every day thinking about music and I really put everything I have into it."
Before this, MEYY was on campus, and not just any campus, studying for a Bachelor's degree at one the world's foremost civil engineering schools, Delft University of Technology. "I was always really good at school, it was my whole life and I studied so much. I wanted to go (to Delft University) because I knew it was kind of the hardest thing to do."
Even over zoom, MEYYs energy is tangible, passion free flows, and she is no stranger to taking on a challenge, Delft University and a push towards a Masters in Aerospace Engineering just happens to be one amongst many. But how do the worlds of Civil Engineering and Music come together? As it turns out they both have a lot to do with hard work.
"I think because the program is so intense and so narrow, it's maths and it's physics, that definitely shapes the way you think a bit. I think me being so focused on school my whole life, that shaped me in every way, so in music also. It made me aware of my capabilities in that I work very hard."
"I feel like I am growing into my potential more and more with every project."
Though music has always been a constant for MEYY the transition to committing full time took some adjustment, and though there was no doubt on the work ethic, it took some coming to terms with the less linear world of artistic expression.
"It was difficult at first, in school if I study a hundred hours on an exam then I am going to pass it, but in music it is not necessarily if you spend a hundred hours on a song it is going to be a hit." Though, positive attraction has helped redefine this mindset for MEYY. "I know by the laws of energy that it is going to come back to me — it might not be immediately, it won't be immediate, but it is going to come back and I have found peace with that now."
Today, she is in the center of her own creative universe: “I think right in time, I made the decision of okay, Icould study forever but music is more about momentum and things seem to be happening so I owe it to myself to try and do it now and fully.”
Another string in MEYY's bow is dance, and you can feel this in her musical output. There is an inherent sense of movement, and her accompanying music videos are as striking as they are beautiful — something she learnt from years of ballet training.
"For me, music is a portrayal of what I have going on inside myself and dance has been a big part of my life." Inspired by what she describes as the inherent beauty and elegance of ballet, something she has recently begun to reconnect with.
"I read a quote, an ancient Hellenistic view that says there is a gap between art and the perceiver, and an artist will try and close that gap. I think that is really how I feel about what the job is, I know I personally see the beauty in everything — I think dance influences that for sure," she adds.
As if that wasn't enough, MEYY is also keen to sharpen her skills in production, "there are so many things I want to learn", though caveats that she has no intention of doing everything herself, having recently begun to work with fellow songwriters as a way to "hold up a mirror" and work through her creative output with others.
Though, producing offers a different vantage point for her future and current sound — "It is an enhancement for me that lays the foundations of a song, to get more into the story… The birth of a song is the most exciting part."
On what's coming up next, a tour is set and her new EP is due soon: "For me this EP is the first that is a product of this new version of myself. All of the songs are made in London. I feel like I am growing into my potential more and more with every project."
With this project, she explains it as being rooted in self discovery, centered on how she perceives love and to be loved. "There was a lot of despair last year. For me, when I think of the EP, I immediately think of the opening track Around You, it is the water mark and it is the intensity."
When it comes to the tour, MEYY is excited for you to experience the emotional intensity in real time, as a shared emotion: "I am doing a headline tour and I am playing in London at the Lower Third in May. Like I said, the songs are very emotional, very intense, almost dramatic. I know when I sing them you can tell, and I guess it feels weird to say that I am excited for people to see that, but I am excited about the experience and I am hoping people can tap into as much as I do."
A civil engineering student, dancer, singer-songwriter and producer — MEYY is making waves in music and showing what’s possible when you honour your passions wholeheartedly.
By Hannah Connolly