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."
“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.
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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.
1003 Arch St., 215-922-LIVE
Friday, Feb. 20, 6:30 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston, 617-254-9743
New York City
Saturday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
17 Irving Place, 212-777-6800