Recently Meali Grace released her debut single, “Upstream“. I was afforded the opportunity to ask her about the song and how it came to be.

Ez: As far as I am aware, “Upstream” is your debut single. What did it take to get to a point where you could release this song?

Meali: I have been writing for about 8 years now and have written over 100 songs. Upstream was the first song I wrote that I thought was good enough to be released after practicing and writing so many other songs. I spent a few months with my producer workshopping the song’s structure. After we finalised that I laid down a guide track of my guitar and vocals to start the recording process. I then travelled 2 and a half hours to my producer once a week for a while to record both the guitar and vocal parts. We cut it close to the deadline mixing and mastering the song but we managed to get it out on time.

Ez: Despite the subject matter, the instrumentation is light and gentle. How does it support the song’s subject?

Meali: I think the simplicity and lightness of the instrumentation really helps to make the main message and story of the song stand out. Its gentle and light nature creates this level of intimacy which I believe causes the listener to reflect on the song’s subject even more.

Ez: In terms of your vocal performance, what were your aims, beyond getting across the subject?

Meali: I really wanted to challenge myself to get an emotional vocal performance. With this being the first single I also just wanted to be able to show off the different techniques and range of my vocals. For example I wanted the first chorus to be quite breathy and light whilst the last double chorus I wanted it to be sung with strength.

Ez: What was it about the subject of “Upstream” that you felt was important to put into song format?

Meali: Once the image of swimming upstream, against the current, came into my mind I just couldn’t shake it. It’s something I think as humans we all experience and I wanted to be able to put this image of struggle and resilience into a simple format so others could also reflect on their own personal experiences of this in their lives.

Ez: Lastly, how do you feel about “Upstream” now that it has been released, and is that different to how you felt about it before it was released?

Meali: I have always really loved Upstream. After its release there are definitely things when it comes to the production side of the song that I would change if I were to re-record it now. But I still love the song and the writing of it. It also just makes me really happy to know that other people love and connect with it too. I’ve always thought it was the best song to be my debut single, as I feel like the writing really represents the artist I want to be, and I still feel strongly about that, even post release.