Meredith Baker
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Meredith Baker

Houston, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Houston, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Alternative Acoustic

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Music

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"Singer Uses Gift of Song to Share Her Message About Gun Violence"

One woman is using her gift of song to share her opinion about gun violence in America. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.

Singer-songwriter Meredith Baker says music has the power to change the world.

"Expressing through song, I think has an opportunity I think to reach a larger audience, with a larger platform," explained Baker.

That is why the Harvard Graduate wrote the song "This is Home," after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.

The song expresses her feelings about the need for stricter gun control laws in our country.

She says the message still holds true almost three years later.

"With each new mass shooting that you read about in the news, it's incredibly sad and tragic that there still hasn't been actual, substantial calls to action that have produced results," said Baker.

Right now, Baker is working on a music video that will include statistics and information about gun related deaths. She has also been in touch with families of victims, who she says will participate.

"They said that the song moved them to tears and that the message of the song hit very close to home," said Baker.

Baker hopes her song will move some to speak to their local elected representatives. While the musician understands not everyone agrees with her platform, she believes it is still a conversation that needs to happen.

"I think we can all agree whether you're pro or against gun control that the rate of deaths from guns is unacceptable," Baker said.

If you would like to hear her song, head to soundcloud.com/meredith-baker​. - NY1 News


"This Is Home: A Music Video and Call to Action About America's Gun Violence Problem"

Whether you are for or against gun control, it is undeniable that gun violence is a huge problem in United States and something needs to change. I wrote This Is Home nearly three years ago after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. It is sadly just as relevant today as it was back then. Through OpenCongress, you can find out who your elected representatives are, along with their contact information, and urge them to vote for tighter gun restrictions. Let's make our voices heard and take a stand to make the United States, our home, a safer place for everyone.

#ThisIsHome - Huffington Post


"LIVE: Meredith Baker- Maybe I Won't Come Home Tonight"

Meredith Baker joins us live in the studio to perform her track 'Maybe I Won't Come Home Tonight'. - London Live TV


"Video About Exploring Includes Cameos From Around the World"

What's a girl to do at 3 a.m. the night before her thesis is due? Well, you can write a fun little ditty about exploring the world? That's what Meredith Baker did. Check out this music video that brings her song to life starring some of her favorite people everywhere from LA to Mexico and Japan to Sri Lanka - Right This Minute


"Music Everywhere"

Harvard is one of the most diversely talented colleges in the country, and many times students don’t even know the extent of their peer’s abilities. In our new series, we interview and showcase some of the college’s best artists and their work.

HPR: Hey Meredith, thanks for taking time out to meet with me and to share about your music. So let me start with the first question: how did this all get started for you?

MB: I always wrote poems in high school, but I began to wonder if I could turn them into songs. With that in mind, I started learning guitar so I could translate them to music.

I find songwriting a great form a therapy, especially to get away from all the stress here at Harvard. Also, when I travel, I always take my guitar with me so I can play for the people I’m with. I was teaching in Nambia one summer and I played my students the song “Baby, Baby” during one morning in assembly. In a couple of weeks they were telling me in the hallway: “Miss Baker, play ‘Baby, Baby’!’.” It was a great moment for me.

HPR: Who would you consider major influences in terms of your playing style?

MB: John Mayer, he is my musical inspiration. I think all his songs have really described my experiences in life. Just as my songs describe friendships that I’ve had or dealing with a broken heart, I’ve found him to be a huge influence in the kind of songs I like to write.

HPR: So how often do you find yourself writing music?

MB: I write about once a month. Once I’m inspired to write about something, an idea or concept I’ve been thinking about, I’ll write it out in about 10 minutes.

This summer, I went to Israel and Cyprus which were such beautiful places. Even though I was travelling alone, I loved being there so much I was inspired to write a song, “Alone In Paradise”. That’s my first song on the ukelele.

HPR: Could you tell me more about your song-writing process? Do the lyrics come first, or does a tune pop out in your head, or is a mix between?

MB: Usually something significant happens in my life, and then I think about how I want to remember it – a lesson that I’ve learnt, or a specific feeling I’ve had. Once it crystallizes, I put it down into writing in about 10 minutes and I’ll try not to change it as much as possible.

HPR: Where do you see yourself going with your music? Are you considering the industry?

MB: I would love to, though right now I’m looking at performing more and meeting other musicians. What makes me really happy is performing and making my audience happy too. In the end I want to give it a shot, no matter what happens. I don’t want to look back next time when I’m 40 or something and regret that I didn’t at least try.

HPR: What is the favorite song you’ve written so far and what is it about?

MB: That’s a tough question, but my favorite song would probably be the first song I ever wrote “Baby, Baby” — not to be confused with Justin Bieber. It’s about how everything will work out in the end and discovering the little things you really enjoy in life.

HPR: Do you feel that Harvard has given you enough opportunities to perform and exhibit your music?

MB: Though I’ve been able given some opportunities at several events like the Eliot House barbeque, the Starbucks in the Square, the Asian American Association’s Coffee House – and the recent HPR meeting – I wish there were more venues to perform.

Baby, Baby (Namibia):

http://youtu.be/oZJg09G9qSw - Harvard Political Review


"MEREDITH BAKER IS SET FOR A FAREWELL GIG AT ARLENE’S GROCERY"

One of the most flattering experiences for a writer is someone telling you that they have read some of your writing and enjoyed it. When Meredith Baker wrote to say that she enjoyed my Downtown piece on Rachel Brown, I was flattered, of course. Then after some further e-mailing, it became apparent that I should be doing a story about Meredith as well.



A graduate of both Harvard and Oxford, Meredith is the daughter of astronaut Ellen Baker. She has taught in schools and orphanages in Honduras, Brazil, Nicaragua, Namibia, Mozambique and Kenya. Her humanitarian work has been written about for the BBC, the Harvard Crimson, Global Post, the Queens Courier and the Houston Chronicle. Her latest release is the single “Spanish Sunrise,” which Meredith wrote in Boston about Spain, then filmed a music video for in Honduras, Malta, Cape Verde, and Portugal.

In advance of the Meredith moving from New York to London, she is playing a farewell gig on Nov. 29 at Arlene’s Grocery. Meredith kindly answered some Q&A over e-mail about her past, present and future as a musician, humanitarian and general globetrotter. In the meantime, she can be followed online at www.meredithbakermusic.com.


Why the move to England?

Meredith Baker: I went to Oxford last year for a Master’s in African Studies and while I was there, I started a news program, On The Map, Off The Radar. I also did a lot with my music and I was able to play some of my songs on BBC Introducing and London Live TV. Oxford awarded me an entrepreneur visa to stay in England for an extra year to continue working on my media start-up, so I thought I would take the opportunity to enjoy living in London, learn more of the U.K. music scene, and take advantage of the cheap travel around Europe!

What are you going to miss most about New York in moving to England?

M: I am going to miss the unbeatable energy of New York City and sitting and playing guitar in Washington Square Park. I always take my guitar there at night and play/people-watch/listen to the other musicians. I am also going to miss my sunset runs on the West Side Highway running path a lot as well. I’ll also undoubtedly miss the USD – London / the British pound definitely makes New York feel cheap!

What are you most excited about with your upcoming move?

M: I’m really excited to finally lay roots in London. I’ve made a lot of great friends in England during grad school last year, and I’ve also met some incredible British musicians at various gigs. There is a huge acoustic scene in England and I’m ready to hit the ground running with more shows and collaborations with British musicians. I’ll also be living close to London Bridge area and I’m looking forward to my morning runs along the Thames River!

What should be expected from your farewell show at Arlene’s Grocery?

M: I remember my first time going to watch a band play at Arlene’s when I had just turned 21 a few years ago. I was not very far along in my own music and I made a promise to myself that I’d work hard to perform on the stage there one day. It is extra special to be able to do my last show before my move at Arlene’s Grocery for this reason. I’ll be playing songs from my EP, Maybe I Won’t Come Home Tonight, that I released in February, as well as my singles “Spanish Sunrise” and my bossa nova song “Coisas Inesperadas.” My songs are a collection of my travels, so they kind of dip into a few different genres — bossa nova, reggae, indie. The common thread, however, is always the desire to either explore beyond one’s horizons or find a silver lining after a roadblock.

What’s ahead for you besides this move and the farewell show?

M: I’m working on a new single, “Cruise Control,, which should be ready by early December. I will also be playing my first festival in 2016, Envision Festival in Costa Rica, which I am beyond excited about. Otherwise, I’ll continue to conduct interviews for my media startup, teach yoga and busk in the [London] Underground tube stations during my spare time, and finish the screenplay I am working on with two of my friends.

Do you have a favorite album of 2015?

M: I actually have a tie for my favorite album this year. I have been listening to Ryn Weaver’s album The Fool a ton. Her song “Pierre” has been my “final-stretch-to-the-finish-line” running anthem. I also really love George Ezra’s album Wanted On Voyage. I usually write my songs when I travel, and his whole album was based around his travels through Europe. Coincidentally, I discovered his album when I was traveling around the Cape Verdean islands by myself for my dissertation research, so Wanted On Voyage has extra ‘nomad’ significance to me.

Finally, Meredith, any last words for the kids?

M: I just got back from a week in the Peruvian Amazon. I was in an area of the jungle for a week without wifi or my phone and it really helped me “reset” before moving on to the next chapter of my life. I am especially prone to technology and social media and going without it – or “disconnecting to reconnect,” as I like to say — really gave me so much more mind space to not only create more music, but also to re-think what it means to be fully present and in tune with my surroundings. I’m going to try to have a day each week where I go “off the radar” to maintain this re-set, and I really can’t recommend it enough to others. I’ve found that even just having a few designated hours of no screens can be so freeing! - Downtown Magazine


Discography

Maybe I Won't Come Home Tonight EP - Released February 2015

Spanish Sunrise - SINGLE- Released July 2015

Coisas Inesperadas - SINGLE- Released October 2015

Photos

Bio

Hi! I am a 24 year old singer-songwriter from Texas. I graduated from Harvard last year and Oxford this year for a Masters in African Studies. Writing songs has been my way of making sense of my experiences and the people I meet along the way. 

Growing up as the daughter of an astronaut, Ellen Baker, I have been fortunate enough to be raised with a desire to explore beyond my horizons and push beyond my limits. One of the most important things I have learned in college and abroad is (as said in one of my favorite songs, 'Say Hey') "the more I see the less I know." As I experience new things and as my music evolves, I love trying to capture moments and feelings through my songs, while hopefully sharing with others one of my greatest passions and encouraging them to explore beyond their current horizons.

I have taught and worked as a journalist in Honduras, Brazil, Nicaragua, Namibia, Mozambique, and Kenya. I have also written about humanitarian issues in these countries for the BBC, the Harvard Crimson, Global Post, the Queens Courier, and the Houston Chronicle.

My music has been my way of bridging the cultural divide of the places I travel to. I even have a bossa nova song in Portuguese (featuring MIA's drummer) from when I was living in Rio de Janeiro.

I've played on BBC Introducing at Oxford twice, London Live TV, The Troubadour, Inspiral, and Whiskey a Go Go, The Bluebird Cafe, The Bitter End, as a featured artist at Harvard ARTS FIRST three years in a row, and on Houston CBS TV. I have also played shows in Cape Verde, Mozambique, Namibia, Portugal, and France. 

As I experience new things and as my music evolves, I love trying to capture moments and feelings through my songs, while hopefully sharing with others one of my greatest passions and encouraging them to explore beyond their current horizons. 

When I am not singing, I am either teaching yoga, running marathons (I have run 11 marathons to date and have raised around USD $30,000 for blood cancer organizations), conducting interviews for my youtube channel about underreported news in developing countries called 'On the Map, Off the Radar', or roasting brussel sprouts.

Band Members