Photo Credit: Alexandra Hryshyn
TikTok sensation, actress and singer-songwriter, Meredith Bull, is capturing the world’s attention with her music and creativity. The triple threat artist quickly rose to fame on TikTok by making music out of sounds from random videos on the internet, a unique niche that garnered her over 1.3 million followers.
It is both entertaining and impressive to see how she can just make music out of anything. But now she’s focusing on establishing herself in the music industry, creating her own unique sound that makes her stand out from the rest.
The New York native built herself from the ground up to become a versatile singer, songwriter AND producer. Creating art is something she loves to do — and it shows.
We got to chat with Bull and it was an insightful and fun conversation. She’s truly a down-to-earth person who has so much to say and a lot of stories to tell.
We dive into her musical journey, TikTok, challenges of the music industry and more.
BTS: Could you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard of you before?
Bull: I would say that on TikTok, I like to just make whatever inspires me. It doesn’t really matter what genre of music, but anything that I can tell a story. Then with my music, I would say it’s probably the exact opposite where it’s just me expressing myself directly. But I think when I’m making the TikTok music, I’m just being an extension of whatever the subject in the video is experiencing, kind of like an acting role.
BTS: Love your TikToks by the way. It’s really incredible. It’s entertaining to watch how you just make music out of these random sounds. That’s such a gift.
Bull: Thanks. Well, you know, it didn’t happen overnight. I went to school for music production and I’ve been working in the industry since I was a child. So I think for some people it’s like I just kind of popped up out of nowhere. But for me, I’ve been performing since I was four.
BTS: Oh really?
BTS: Since you’re touching on it a little bit, how did you get into music?
Bull: So I got my start in musical theater actually. I started performing at the age of four in musical theater with my siblings. Then as they got older, they lost interest or they did sports or instruments and I just made it my identity. I say that as a joke, but it’s true.
“It’s really like what I feel I was born to do is be a performer.”
I moved to New York City at the age of 16 to finish high school at a performing arts high school and that’s where I continued to do off-Broadway and different TV guest star appearances. Then, I got involved in this Lucasfilm movie called Strange Magic and that kind of brought me out to LA.
After that was all over, I decided to go to school for music because I felt like I always made music, but I always co-produced with other people, engineers and other producers. I really was curious what my sound was like when it wasn’t influenced by another creative brain. Collaboration is really important, but I also think knowing who you are is really important also because it also lets you know how to contribute to other people.
So I did that and it’s been a really interesting journey because if you listened to the solo music that I released last year versus what I’m making on TikTok and some of my releases this year, you can already kind of hear and see the journey that I’ve been on just in the last year or two alone.
BTS: You mentioned the film for Lucasfilm. I read that you got the chance to work with George Lucas himself. How did that come up?
Bull: So I had met George a few times, but he never worked directly with me. He lives in Marin County and I lived in New York at the time. I had an audition through my agent. I think the audition process went on for a while, it was like six months. And then I got it. We worked on it for four years and halfway through, fired most of the team in the film. Rehired a new director, new cast. Somehow I made the cut from iteration A to iteration B of the project.
It’s really bittersweet for me because it really didn’t get the attention that it deserves because it was the first film released under the new Disney Lucasfilm umbrella. Obviously, [Star Wars] was a sure thing for them and to have this new animated musical fairy movie in their hands, I think they were like, what do we do with this?
But I’m still so proud and so grateful to have been part of such a unique and special film. And the people that worked on the movie were all industry giants. One of the writers, Irene (Mecchi), she wrote The Lion King, like THE Lion King. The director, Gary Rydstrom, is an Oscar-winning sound designer. He’s done everything from Jurassic Park to Finding Nemo to Black Hawk Down. So just to be able to personally work with those people for like four years was really amazing.
BTS: In terms of your musical creative process, how does that look like?
Bull: It really just depends. If I’m writing a song for myself, it depends on if I am going through something and I’m trying to write a song for self-expression, or I could have a goal to try to make a style of song that I’ve never made before. So sometimes it might look like me sitting down and trying to emulate a certain style.
I had a mentor named Malachi at school when I went to Icon Collective and he really made it clear to me that I couldn’t treat music like my form of self-expression. Yes, it is my form of self-expression, but it’s also a business and if I want to have it be my job, I have to treat it like a job, like a nine to five.
That really changed the game for me because I used to only write music when I was inspired and you just won’t ever be busy enough to get the momentum you need if you only write when you’re inspired. I know there’s artists out there that will debate me on that. But, it really helped me show up for myself on days to create when I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. So now it really depends, but most of the stuff that you see on my TikTok it’s because I was like super inspired.
BTS: Actually, it brings up a question. You probably said one of them right now, but is there anything else about the music industry that people overlook or people just don’t know about?
Bull: Two things that I’ll say is people will get upset at an artist when they do something different than how you fell in love with them and usually the reason why you fall in love with an artist is because there’s a uniqueness to them that only they can pull off. So when you critique an artist in their natural state, if they’re really just doing what inspires them and it doesn’t impress you or you don’t vibe with it, and then you give them feedback as just a stranger fan on the internet, it really messes with us because people don’t realize how much like the peanut gallery really influences our movements.
Because what happens is artists start really caving into the pressure of these little moments that they’re seeing and then they turn into something that’s so far from who they naturally were when you fell in love with them. So just let artists kind of figure their way and support the good and maybe the not-so-good.
The other thing I would say is there’s not really a lot of money in this industry, except for like the top percentage of people. Like my TikTok is not monetized and when I think about all the content that I’ve given to my audience, which I’m happy to do so because it’s growing my audience, people will think that because I had the 25 million video that I’m like rolling in the dough when I didn’t see a cent from TikTok for that. So the misconception of what it actually looks like for us, I think is interesting.
BTS: So we want to dive into who your musical inspirations are.
Bull: My first album ever actually was Natalie Cole. That’s kind of how I learned to sing was I learned this one album, Unforgettable… with Love, front to back, which is a jazz standard album. I was obsessed with it at like nine years old.
But then as an adult, I’m really inspired by Jhené Aiko and Kehlani — female artists that are self-sufficient in their music, whether it’s their writing, producing, collaborating, and also in their rhetoric. Like I know Kehlani is just always so uniquely, unapologetically herself. Then with Jhené, I feel like she writes lyrics about existential things that I really think about and care about and it’s a lot deeper than I think some of the stuff that’s out there. So I really like appreciate that aspect of her.
BTS: If you could perform or work with any artist living or not, who would it be?
Bull: I really wanna work with Charlie Puth. I think he’s such a good songwriter and producer. He’s also somebody who does everything himself, and it’s just nice to work with artists that do everything themselves because you kind of speak the same language, especially singers that produce. Because a lot of times you’ll need engineers that produce or rappers maybe that will produce. But, singing and songwriting is a whole different thing and a whole different angle and you’re paying attention to different things than like a producer. So it’s cool to be able to have some common ground with somebody like that.
BTS: What’s your favorite song right now that’s been in your rotation lately?
Bull: Oh, my God. I’m obsessed with this song “Dandelion” [by Galantis & JVKE]. Then I’ve been listening to the Doja Cat album. But I have a hard time listening to music for fun because I kind of listen to everything with like a pretty scientific ear and if I feel like it’s in my wheelhouse of something I could create, it’s hard for me to just relax and appreciate the music. So I usually tend to like go to like old shit, like the Bee Gees and disco because it’s just like a totally different time and place. Like how could you be sad when “Stayin’ Alive” was playing, you know?
BTS: What are your hobbies outside of music?
Bull: I just love making shit. I work with polymer clay or I like to work on my house plants and propagate plants, this pretty nerdy thing that I like to do. I like to spend time with animals. I go and hang out at this ranch down the street from my house where I hang out with horses.
BTS: What has been your favorite accomplishment thus far?
Bull: I think the first time I ever fully finished a song that I had written, recorded, and produced, it was like a feeling of no other. I always knew that I had all of this in me, but I didn’t have the tools to get it out and that was really frustrating because I have so many ideas and so many things in my head that I want to translate, but I just don’t have the tools yet to be able to. So I think once I hit the point in school where I was continually putting out full song ideas that weren’t, you know, embarrassing, it was like, “Wow, I can’t believe that like I’m fully realized as an artist.” Like I had a goal and I followed through with hard work.
When I went to school for music, I was working three jobs to pay for school and I got married during school. So it was like so much at once. I sometimes felt like I wasn’t getting as much out of the program as I could have been if I wasn’t hustling so hard in between my work.
“I say that to encourage other kids and adults out there that there’s literally no excuses. You can make anything happen.”
You are the only person standing in the way of whatever it is you want and if you don’t figure it out, there’s 10 people behind you that are hungry enough to figure out how to make it happen. So that was a big thing for me was to kind of like cross that threshold.
BTS: That’s real though. I think people really need to get into the mindset that instead of trying to be better than the other person, try to be better than the person you were before — the person you were yesterday.
Bull: Yeah! I think there’s so much competition in the industry and I try to always remember that saying of like, “There’s more than enough for everybody.” I think comparison is the thief of joy — a hundred percent. I know that I don’t ever feel worse than when I’m focused on someone else’s success versus mine. I really don’t think there’s a worst feeling. It’s just so powerless and it’s such a low vibration. So trying to stay away from that as much as possible.
BTS: Exactly. For my last question, what’s next for Meredith Bull? What does the rest of 2021 hold for you?
Bull: So I’m working on a single right now that I’m really excited about that I’m gonna release, I think end of August. It will be the first time that I really released a single, that sounds kind of like the similar style as the other full TikTok songs that I’ve released. I’m hoping that it can have more of an audience because it’s not made with a cat. I’m just going to continue to make music and make TikToks and figure out how I can bring joy to people’s lives on a regular basis.
STREAM her latest single “I Don’t Wanna Be Touched” on music platforms everywhere
Check out Beyond The Stage Magazine for more interviews
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