”I’m obsessed with guitars, bass, electric, it doesn’t matter. Most of my songs have that as well,” soul singer-songwriter Merry-Lynn says about her guitar-driven debut EP Petrichor, released in 2019. A posse of deeply personal songs about her past relationship, Merry-Lynn enters a solitary state to look at the ruins from that period with helium-rich vocals and incandescent songwriting, narrating the craziness from healing, forgiving and finding resolution from a safe vantage point. ”I saw how my anger was doing nothing for me in my relationship at the time, I basically poured out everything I couldn’t say into most of those songs.” she admits.
Taking four months to make, Petrichor is a metaphor rooted in meteorology, literally named after that pleasant smell that often accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. The rain is Merry-Lynn’s backlog of emotions unleashed. ”When you gonna call me baby? Don’t you know you drive me crazy?” she sounds frustrated on the EP’s opener Skin, a song about the inability to expunge the presence of a lover who isn’t doing right by her.
This theme continues in 911, with visuals showing her in a restless haze as her love interest is held bound by ropes, inverting their dynamic to have him interrogated. ”I used to think love ruled the world, but now I’ll say love is a sickness cured by time. It’s never that deep, you’ll be fine.” she explains her philosophy on love and relationships.
Born and raised in Abuja as Iyere-Eke Merrylynn Ehinomen, and the second child out of five children, Merry-Lynn went to the Nigerian Navy Secondary school Akpabio, Calabar. She grew up listening to Erykah badu’s Baduism album, Amy winehouse’s Back to Black, Lana del Rey, Asa, India Arie, Bill Withers, The Cranberries, Dawn Penn, Duffy, Earth Wind and Fire, Eartha Kitt’s That bad Eartha.
Going by these names, it’s no wonder Petrichor holds some elements of jazz. Currently in her final year in the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), the 22-year-old singer confides that juggling music and school has been challenging. ”Honestly it has, especially this year, taking my finals along with the music. My dad never fought me on making music from the start, but the worry of people In the industry “taking advantage”. My mom is still coming around.”
Regarding the music-making process, Merry-Lynn enjoys the songwriting phase, sometimes humming out the melodies stuck in her head for her producer to bring them to life, then fleshing them with lyrics afterwards. Most times, she goes straight to her notepad and promptly articulates whatever she’s feeling in the moment. ”Also when my producer makes something he thinks I’m going to vibe to, I can go from there, freestyling my thoughts into melodies.” she adds.
Her next project is titled Runaway, a soul-RnB, 7-track EP still in the works but will be weightier than Petrichor because Merry-Lynn’s personality will be stronger and lyrics more blunt. ”I’ve always wanted to be heard, and music is my way of putting my thoughts out. I decided to take music professionally to push myself past my limit. As an artist I have to socialize which is one thing I suck at. Only way to get heard is to put myself out there.”
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.