A Rock chick known for her energetic stage presence, kooky make up and grunge-fuelled tunes that describes herself as a ‘shy, reserved, private person’ who still gets nervous before going on stage, there is much more to MeMe Detroit than meets the eye. On Thursday 29th March, with a little DIY show at the Actress & Bishop in Birmingham, MeMe Detroit kicked off her tour in promotion of her new release, ‘Soc Med Junkies’, and between the loud, raw tunes and energetic atmosphere, it did not disappoint.
Making her way onto the stage, trademark blade-runner-inspired, red make up painted on and guitar in tow, MeMe instantly captured the audience. She kicked off the gig with ‘Adelaide’ taken from her 2016 album ‘Live to Love You’ll Love To Live’, immediately creating an energetic and vibrant atmosphere, which only escalated as she got further into her set. Upon her performance of ‘With You’, MeMe got the entire audience involved, having them sing, shout and yell lyrics along with her. By ‘Soc Med Junkies’, MeMe was fully immersed with the crowd, running into and dancing with the audience. Her performance created a positive atmosphere, blending the audience and performers into one big union.
Witnessing MeMe’s dazzling stage presence, it's hard to believe she’s anything but confident and outgoing. Yet in reality, MeMe describes herself as a ‘shy, reserved’ person who often keeps to herself, and admits she always gets nervous before performing. For her opening gig at the Actress & Bishop, MeMe organised it herself, resulting in her ‘crapping it’ the entire week before. Of course, all those nerves dissipate as soon as she gets on stage, and her alternative persona comes out; ‘[On stage] I turn into a whole different person.’ Before a gig, she’ll even shut herself away to mentally prepare, and then, once on stage and immersed in her music, she completely changes, sometimes resulting in her ‘running around like a loon.’
MeMe’s high intensity performance of her latest release, Soc Med Junkies, perfectly emulated that of the song which in itself is energetic, powerful and captivating, demanding to be sung and head-banged along to. The combination of the dark, fuzzy riff and soft vocals in the verse is fresh and intriguing, while the loud and husky vocals of the chorus add a whole new dimension. But within the raspy vocals and grungy guitars is a profound message that MeMe wants to get out. There’s an ‘ironic loneliness’ to our social media use, she explains, and she wanted to capture and confront society’s addiction to social media use within her music.
The song is clearly very important to MeMe and was 10 months in the making. The lyrics came first and there were about 2 or 3 songs she wrote for it before she settled on the perfect one. Though, this is not always her process for song-writing. Sometimes, MeMe explains, ‘I could be sat on a train and all of a sudden a lyric or melody pops into my head’ resulting in a few awkward glances from strangers as she sings it into her phone.
The track has heavier, darker undertones than some of her previous singles, which very cleverly illustrate her frustration with social media but also highlight her diversity. ‘We’ve done [a song] that’s poppy, one that’s Avant Garde, one thats punky,’ but now she explains that this heavier sound is the direction she is heading in, thanks to meeting her new drummer, Barney, a year ago. After having ‘gone through drummers like William Burroughs did smack’, MeMe finally found a drummer who she instantly clicked with, and now her ‘sound is becoming more defined.’
MeMe’s ability to be diverse musically stemmed from her childhood. After rifling through her family’s big box of vinyl when she was young, MeMe has a range influences, varying from Elvis, Bob Marley, Foo Fighters and Radiohead, as well as many artists from the grunge scene, yet MeMe is adamant she doesn’t want to emulate other musicians. ‘[I] don’t go out of my way to create a certain sound,’ she remarks, but instead she just sees what she naturally creates, as she doesn’t want to be compared to other artists.
Regarding future plans, MeMe Detroit intends to ‘Keep building [her] fanbase’ as well as keep on doing what she loves; performing and creating music, and ‘inspiring other females’ along the way. MeMe views her first album as a way of her ‘proving to myself I could do something on my own’, and now, after growing both personally and musically, MeMe is much more confident about the direction her music is headed in. While nothing is set in stone, she hopes to release a new album next year, and if Soc Med Junkies is anything to go by, it won’t be one to be missed.
About the author
LIV Gardner writes for Brum Radio and other websites and publications.