Members of Meridian with their trophy at the Motif Battle of the Bands, May 2023. (Photo: Eric Barao)
Providence-based Meridian was recently crowned the winner of Motif’s first-ever Battle of the Bands. Singer-songwriter Christiana (Chris) Guglietti reported the experience as, “Humbling and sweet and then we were very shocked – we actually won! I was not expecting that to happen at all. It was a lovely experience.” Meridian was formed so recently (about six months ago) they were amazed to be on the bill and even more amazed when they won it all with heartwarming lyrics and energetic performances.
Meridian came together after Guglietti was contacted by a New Jersey band; they had explored Guglietti’s work online and wanted her to be their opening act. Suddenly in need of a band, Guglietti scrambled to assemble musicians with the right skills, and ever since Meridian’s been thriving show after show. Initially, Guglietti performed as a solo artist working under the name Meridian as she produced and released her music on Spotify and Bandcamp.
She described the band as, “Two kinds of totally different products that married together. The songs are the same songs in that they’re like bones. And it sounds totally different because all of the recordings that I made on those are just stuff I made by myself in my bedroom.” With the addition of musicians and different musical styles and influences,Guglietti described the shift in Meridian’s sound as a melding. “This is what we made as a group of people, as opposed to what I made alone in my bedroom, and I didn’t think anyone would be hearing it.”
When asked about her writing influences Guglietti responded, “I’m more coming from a writing perspective. I wouldn’t call myself a great guitar player or a great singer. I like writing, that’s kind of like my making music. I grew up really loving Fiona Apple and then more modern stuff like Phoebe Bridgers or Mitsky, who’re all quieter sounds. There’s a band called Mothers that I really love. I love the way she writes.”
Explaining the band’s lean towards a more indie sound with the addition of the new musicians, Guglietti said, “I think the way we approach it as the band is like trying to keep integrity with the structure or the thoughts of the song; we’ve had to learn to let the words come through. My brother is in the band. He listens to a lot of metal music, for instance, which is cool but very different than what I typically listen to. My friend Kevin, he is a classically trained pianist and he’s really into jazz. So it’s a lot of different elements. We don’t have this one vibe or this one genre, it’s kind of gonna be whatever genre.”
When asked about her use of setting in her highly visual lyrics, Guglietti said, “‘Safety Blanket’ I wrote years ago. I was living in Vietnam with a partner and we were the only two people that spoke English and were kind of secluded and stuck with each other so there’s a little codependency energy going on… I don’t keep a journal, but [songwriting] feels like a journal of what’s happening in my life right now. This is how I feel even if 10 minutes later I feel differently. It feels good to have a record of that particular feeling. It’s cool to look back, it’s very funny when it’s been years and that’s not at all your life anymore and you’re singing songs about it.”
From songs like “Safety Blanket” to songs like “Wash Out,” Meridian covers topics from codependent love stories to pandemic isolation with an intimacy that offers listeners the ability to connect with the music. The lyrics urge connection, and the performance is cathartic. Fans can expect at least three new songs to be released on Meridian’s Instagram, @meridian.makes. Bonus: Some songs may even have a film accompanying them.
Listen to Meridian at meridianmakes.bandcamp.com and on Spotify.