Meredith Fay, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in public relations at Montclair State University, is also a musician. Her latest EP, “Lessons Learned” is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify. Entertainment Editor Robert O’Connor spoke with her about her music and education.
Q: How did you get into making music?
A: I started making music my freshman year of high school. I taught myself how to play guitar and piano. Once I learned how meaningful those instruments were to me [and] the feelings and emotions they can evoke from a person, I was addicted to them. I started writing music right away and haven’t stopped since.
Q: Can you tell me about your new EP?
A: My new EP is called “Lessons Learned.” It is an accumulation of lesson’s I’ve learned in the past few months. The heart and soul of this EP is that these are lessons learned — not to be repeated or revisited. In the past couple of months, I’ve gone through several things and I’ve come out on the other side stronger because of them. I’ve had some things to say about the lessons I’ve learned. The best way I know how to express myself not only as a person but as an artist is through music and through words. “Lessons Learned” has been the most raw and authentic music I’ve ever written.
Q: Do you feel as though Montclair State has helped you perfect your skills? Are there any particular classes or professors you credit with really helping you?
A: Montclair State has shaped me into the person I have been striving to become. The campus community and the atmosphere of Montclair State is fresh, exciting and unique. Our campus is filled with so much talent in so many different areas. Montclair State has given me the ability to be free as a person and through my music. Although not one particular class or professor here at Montclair State has helped me with my music, I have never forgotten about the words my high school English honors teachers once said.
Lindsay Gelay-Akins told me something at the end of high school that has stuck with me all these years later. She said, “Music is your passion. Do not give up on your daydream. Go for music and never stop.” Although I decided to major in public relations and thoroughly enjoy the career path I have chosen as a student here at Montclair State, my love and passion for music has always been staring right at me, waiting for me to give it my all.
Q: Who are your inspirations?
A: My most important inspirations [are] my mom and dad. They have given me unwavering support in my music and all of my aspirations since high school. They raised me on Fleetwood Mac and Billy Joel. I’ve loved music ever since I can remember. Since coming to Montclair, their support has become even stronger as I pursue not only a degree in public relations but my love for music. My musical inspirations range from Taylor Swift to Post Malone. My desire to learn how to play guitar and piano stemmed from my love of Taylor Swift. Since I was 12 years old, I have looked up to Swift not only as a lyrical genius but a powerful female voice in our generation.
Q: Where do you record/produce your music?
A: When I initially begin recording, I use the voice memos app on my iPhone. All of my lyrical and musical ideas are scattered in my voice memos and it’s quite funny to look back on them after a song has been fully produced and finished. I record and produce all of my music with my close friend Elaina Cooper. Cooper is currently at Drexel University pursuing a degree in music industry.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced that you didn’t anticipate, and how did you navigate through them?
A: Some challenges I’ve faced that I didn’t anticipate through creating this EP was that when you’re writing about painful things, it will hurt and it will be hard. What I always try to remind myself is that writing about your pain is the best way to heal. Kurt Cobain once said, “Thank you for the tragedy. I need it for my art.” So although I’ve experienced some painful things, I’m thankful because it has allowed me to create some wonderful music. And like Ariana Grande said, “thank you, next.”
Q: Do you have a favorite memory of a live performance you’ve done?
A: My favorite memory of a live performance I’ve done has definitely been winning my high school’s talent show senior year. Although it may sound corny, winning the talent show for a song I wrote was so inspiring. It made me appreciate my music on a deeper level.
Q: Is there any advice you would give to other students who have dreams of releasing music?
A: To any other students who have dreams of releasing music, my advice would be to follow the one thing that keeps your heart beating. If music is what runs through your veins and makes you feel alive, never stop chasing it.