Who is Kristen Merlin? The singer-songwriter joined us to chat about her journey to country music. Get to know the rising star here…
Today we are highlighting a seasoned musician in the country music industry. Kristen Merlin, a rising artist, is creating a movement with music. She chatted with us all about her backstory, her personal struggles, and of course, her music.
Growing up in a little town outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Merlin gravitated towards music. “Music has always been something that was super important to me, that made me feel like I belonged,” declared the songstress. The singer recalls singing in the choir at church and later at open-mic nights in college.
Merlin used music as a form of therapy and as an emotional release. Even in middle school, she found herself writing songs. However, it was high school where Merlin wrote her first song that truly meant something to her and others. “My grandfather was sick,” she tell us, “I had this idea inside me that I needed to get out […] What it was was a goodbye to my grandfather from my grandmother.” The singer recalls singing it at her grandfather’s funeral, and again, years later, when she lost a good friend.
“It was really when I started to make sense of the idea that music is super healing. It is therapeutic, it can evoke emotion in people that they need to feel.” The singer-songwriter continued to feel into this even more, as she cultivated her sound after high school, hitting the cover band scene as a full-time artist.
The Turning Point:
Although clearly already successful, Merlin’s career began to grow exponentially, when she became a contestant on “The Voice.” She finished in the top five of the mega-hit show. “I was doing music full-time previous to “The Voice,” but it allowed me to do it on a much bigger level and it also gave me the jumping-off point to move to Nashville,” adding later, “Nashville is where I fell in love with the original music side of everything.”
As a Nashville transplant, the singer has found her passion in country music, a genre that she was not always interested in as a kid. “I didn’t love country music growing up, until I got into the 90s music of Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Reba.” Nowadays, the singer loves so many artists in the genre, including Carrie Underwood, Brett Young, and Luke Combs.
“I always loved the storytelling aspects of country music,” shared Merlin. “As much as I love every other type of music out there, it was really special to me when I started writing my truth, my stories, and things like that, and it fits in the country realm. It all just kinda came together naturally.”
Today, the singer-songwriter recently released her beautiful new song “Shame.” “The inspiration for the song was being so vulnerable and raw in the moment,” shares Merlin as she recalls sitting down for the write with fellow songwriters. “Shame just came falling out of us in that writing session and everything just felt right.”
“Shame on the way you’re acting // Shame that you can’t get past it // Shame that you just can’t see // I’m more than who I hold hands with”
The song shares the struggles that the LGBTQ community goes through, but really, it is an anthem for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood or like they don’t belong. Merlin was inspired by both, adding “being a person myself coming through tough times and feeling like an outsider [resonates with me].” The singer even partnered with the Human Rights Campaign in honor of Pride Month and the overall message of the well-respected organization.
Merlin promises to continue to release more music this year. She’s not sure yet what song will come next, but she wants fans to be involved in the process. Clearly an artist for the people, Merlin deserves a place in your music catalog and in country music.
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“Shame” is available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released tunes on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.