The swooping sounds of Lemolo’s music seeps into the soul of the listener without them even being aware. Along with the melodic beauty, you’ll find hints of pain and honesty entangled in the dream-pop duo’s chords and lyrics, like taking a long-overdue journey or listening to very honest fairy tale.
The brainchild behind Lemolo, Meagan Grandall, graduated from Seattle University with a 4.0 GPA. However, instead of giving into the societal pressures of moving on to graduate or law school, she ditched the norms and threw herself into the music scene.
“School was kind of intense so music served as a wonderful outlet for me,” says Grandall. “My professors were all really surprised to hear that my post-graduation plan was to start a band! But I had to follow my joy.”
I spoke with Grandall about where she’s at with her music now and what she’s got planned for the future.
What was it like growing up in Poulsbo, WA? Have you always wanted to be an artist?
It was a really idyllic place to grow up. It’s such a small town so my friends and I had to make our own fun. We always did really creative activities like writing screenplays, choreographing dances, making ridiculous movies, etc. I didn’t really know that I wanted to be a musician until I entered high school and starting getting really into writing my own songs. But looking back I see I always enjoyed creating things.
When did you move to city and what made you choose Seattle University? What was your college experience like?
I moved to Seattle after I graduated high school to attend Seattle University. Seattle appealed to me for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I was eager to live in a city that had such a vibrant music culture. Growing up, I was always going to Capitol Hill to see shows, so to live in that neighborhood while I was in college was so fun for me.
Your music is very dreamy yet almost demands that you pay attention to it. What is your inspiration and where do your style influences come from?
When I started writing songs as a teenager I was heavily influenced by Elliott Smith and Emily Haines. The more I worked on my own music the more I looked to other female musicians for inspiration. Artists like St. Vincent, Bjork, Cat Power, Sharon Van Etten and Warpaint gave me a lot of courage with my own music. And I think Radiohead will always be one of my favorite bands.
Were you ever hesitant to follow your passion and make music a career? Was there been anyone in particular that has encouraged you to do so?
I was definitely hesitant to become a full-time musician at first. There are so many risks involved and there were a lot of people expecting me to go a different route. But I wasn’t going to let anyone else stop me from following my dream. And I’m fortunate to have a family that supports me tirelessly.
You’re in the studio now. What can we look forward to coming next?
I’m working really hard on my next album right now, and it’s coming along beautifully so far. I can’t wait to share it! The new songs still have my dream-pop sound, but there are more textures and layers this time around. And the drumbeats are a bit more driving and upbeat at times.
Do you have a favorite Capitol Hill venue that you play? What do you like about the Capitol Hill community and has that influenced your work at all?
My favorite Capitol Hill venue to play is Neumos. I have had a lot of fun experiences playing there. I essentially formed the band on Capitol Hill, too, so the neighborhood has been a part of the band’s lifeblood since the beginning. Our first show was at Seattle University’s battle of the bands contest in 2009.
Tell me about your writing process. What drives you? What inspires you to write a song or create?
Writing songs makes me happy. That’s the ultimate reason why I do this. For me writing songs is my bliss, and there is almost nothing in life that compares to the feeling I get when I create a new song that I love. I’ll literally sing it over and over again for hours and hardly realize that any time went by. It’s almost like meditation for me. My songs are really personal and are always about something I’m thinking or going through, so they feel like a really healthy outlet for me. If a listener can relate to them or feel comforted or moved by them, that makes the whole thing even more fulfilling.
You’re playing at the Capitol Hill block party coming up. What are you most looking forward to with that show and what can we expect as fans?
We are playing the Capitol Hill Block Party on Friday 7/25. It’s such a fun festival with great energy, so I’m really looking forward to it. Emily Westman [drummer for Lemolo and Seattle Rock Orchestra] and I will be playing a lot of new songs from the upcoming album, so you can expect a preview of what’s to come on the new record!
Lemolo will be performing on July 25th at the Capitol Hill Block Party at 4pm. You can also listen to Lemolo’s latest record, “The Kaleidoscope,” on iTunes now or visit lemolomusic.com to stay updated with shows and new music.