NEW ALBUM “MASKS” DROPPED 5.8.20
“If you know anything about Emily Merrell, you know she has a lot to say. But when she says it, she’ll express it with just the right amount of passion, beauty, color and artistry. If you don’t know anything about Emily Merrell, you should, and you can start with checking out her new album, Masks. It’s an intricate and beautiful account of the human experience, bursting at the seams with layers of sound and texture. There’s a song for every emotion on this album, and I think Merrell would say there’s a song for every “mask” you’re wearing on any given day. I think that the phrase “album release” is an understatement in this case, as there’s a whole digital world of art behind each song.” – SLUG MAGAZINE
<<<GET “THE MASKS EXPERIENCE” INTERACTIVE DIGITAL ART SERIES>>>
Emily Merrell’s “thesaurus pop” anchors somewhere between art pop and cinematic jazz fusion (Kate Bush meets Janelle Monae), weaving playful and evocative lyrics through colorful harmonies and energetic grooves. Inspired by her fascination with our human tendency to pose, posture, and conceal, Emily’s most recent work explores themes of disguise and disclosure: “Masks can be calculated or unconscious; liberating or constricting; subversive, strategic, coquettish, coercive, and everything is layered.”
Masks seemed an inevitable theme for this body of work as Emily began to face the truth of her mother’s narcissistic personality disorder (and terminal brain cancer diagnosis), the limitations of socially-constructed gender norms and presentations, and the many-layered facades of the institutions of power holding up our world. As a concept album, “Masks” hits this thematic material head-on with discerning, if whimsical lyrics, but also takes a symbolic approach—layering bright grooves and harmonies over gloomy text, or cloaking light-hearted lyrics in harmonic depth.
Pursuing a desire to lift this project into a physical space, Emily has curated a team of brilliant visual and performance artists to create several mixed-media companion pieces for each song. Emily is particularly thrilled to have each of her pieces brought to life as an adult-coloring-book—manifesting her belief that creativity is paramount for all. “It’s the most joyful thing to demonstrate my values in such a meaningful way, to give my listeners this immersive template to fill with their own creative expression.” The remaining mixed-media works will exist exclusively inside of the private 10-day interactive digital experience Emily has designed to most-meaningfully host this project.
Aside from curating The Masks Experience, Emily has spent the past year putting her arts-centric values first with her original podcast, “Artifice,” wherein she interviews professional artists about the origins and development of their creativity, the logistics of life as an “artpreneur,” and their strategies for blending vulnerability with veneer as they cultivate creative resilience. And as always, Emily draws from creative philosophies and curiosity first-fostered during her time studying jazz at the world-renown University of North Texas as she seeks to break barriers of genre, theme, and medium in search of new inspiration.
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