Leighton Meester: 'Heartbreak feels like it will last forever'

The actress/singer's new album isn't party pop, it's folky, raw emotion.
Leighton Meester

Leighton Meester went through her fair share of heartbreak before finding her happProvided

She might have been an Oughties teen icon, but her past-life as Blair Waldorf wasn't what made iconic singer-songwriting producer Jeff Trot want to team up with her. Meester's put serious effort into her career as a musician, perfecting her voice and penning songs that range from the twangy title track off her new album "Heartstrings" to the doo-wop-y song, "LA."


Starting young
“Whenever I was trying to amuse myself, I’d always write little poems or stories. I remember being seven and writing my own versions of songs,” the 28-year-old Texan recalls. “It’s always been something that’s fun for me. That changed in my early 20s when I started looking at different music. Now, it’s a connective tissue between my experiences and acceptance and expressing them.”


Meester grew up on the classics -- Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Kate Bush -- and their personal, heartfelt tone helped inspire her own songwriting process. “[My songs] are very much autobiographical, but don’t assume they're literal,” Meester says.


Finding her vulnerability
As the album title implies, “Heartstrings” is about heartache, as Meester puts it: “Both the good and bad kind.“It’s very much an emotional record,” she adds, “and definitely connected with my vulnerability and being sensitive, and needing a release. At the same time, there’s the sense of laughter and being sarcastic in those less vulnerable moments. Having your heart broken is the most growing I’ve ever done; it’s the most learning I’ve ever done. Then, you move past it.”


Why breakup songs are so popular
Meester muses on why heartache fuels so many classic pop songs: “Pain from love is difficult to describe and difficult to release in words. If you can find a way it becomes universal. Heartache is like a song. It’s there for a brief moment but it feels like it will never end, and is so permanent. A song is a flash of a moment that feels like a roller-coaster.”

If you go:

Thursday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m.
Trocadero Theatre
1003 Arch St., 215-922-LIVE

Friday, Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-254-9743
$35-$45, 21+

New York City
Saturday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Irving Plaza
17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800

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