Brooklyn Neo-Soul Artist Kristen Merritt Unveils “Breathe”
Brooklyn artist Kristen Merritt shares the stunning new single, “Breathe” and Debut album, Joi, arrives September 14th.
Brooklyn-based neo-soul artist Kristen Merritt is back to share her new single “Breathe,” the final preview of her album, Joi, which is set for release on September 14th.
While recent releases “I’m Done” and “I Don’t Think About You” reflect on past relationships and ruminating feelings for someone else, “Breathe” is a much-needed reset. Realizing the suffering she has embraced by allowing negative thoughts to linger, Kristen Merritt’s poignant lyrics of overcoming self-imposed pain arrive as a liberating, deep exhalation.
“There’s hope in the tears I cry,” Merritt reveals. “There’s strength in the pain cause I’m still trying / Might feel a little weight of doubt / But I’ll find my way back out.”
Summoning the strength to thrive beyond self-doubt, Kristen shares some of her deepest feelings over experimental production and robust live instrumentation, leading to one of the album’s standout moments. Kristen Merritt further shares:
“Breathe starts off with all of the ick – the very honest line of me waking up to the realization that I have caused a lot of my own suffering – through embracing the negative thought spiral. But as much as I have previously chosen in some ways to stay untrusting in myself and my abilities, I can also choose to find the good in the situation, keep persevering, remind myself of what’s going right. So this song narrates the awakening to that truth – that power to choose that we all possess. One deep breath at a time.”
Returning in May with her song, “I’m Done,” Kristen Merritt secured placements on Spotify’s Fresh Finds and Fresh Finds: The Wave playlists. In addition to early support by Ones To Watch, Parlé Magazine, and NYS Music, Kristen followed up with the June single “I Don’t Think About You,” garnering praise from Guitar Girl Magazine and The Honey Pop who declared her “the real deal.”
All three songs will appear on Merritt’s forthcoming debut album, Joi, an 8-track invitation into the intimate thoughts, experiences, and world of the budding powerhouse. Highlighted by organic, lush instrumentation, unforgettable melodies, and led by Kristen’s distinctive voice and clever songwriting, the project serves as a proper introduction to an artist at the cusp of a breakout year. See the album cover and full tracklist for Joi below.
Kristen Merritt — Joi tracklist
3. I’m Done
4. I Don’t Think About You
5. Last Week
6. Lost In Time
8. Take Me
Since emerging with her 2019 debut EP, Spectrum, Kristen Merritt’s storytelling has been the clear driving force at the heart of her craft. Inspired by some of the greats, from Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott to contemporaries like H.E.R., Daniel Caesar, and others, Kristen creates music with honesty, vulnerability, and emotion.
Last year, Kristen unveiled three songs, “Thyme,” “Never Again,” and “Ending.” The latter premiered on The Auricular and received Spotify editorial support on Fresh Finds: The Wave, while “Never Again” and “Thyme” received support on New from NYC: R&B and Soul and New from NYC: Indie, respectively. Ready to share her first chapter, Kristen Merritt’s highly-anticipated debut album, Joi, arrives September 14th, pre-save HERE.
Simple, Silly, Soulful –– Kristen Merritt is a must-hear neo-soul artist. A Detroit native raised a little bit of everywhere else, Merritt has captivated audiences while developing her sound in the self-coined “high-key” (high energy) neo-soul genre. With funk and soulful pop influences prevalent, she tells a powerful story with every song she douses with her unique touch, while also discovering herself with each release.
Kristen finds her musical roots in groups such as Take Six, and neo-soul greats such as Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott. These artists defined their genres in terms of their soulful musical compositions and lyrical storytelling ability, both elements in which Kristen takes great inspiration from when creating her own music. Newer inspirations of hers include artists such as Daniel Caesar, Jacob Collier, Hope Tala, and H.E.R. Her musical journey in NYC started from humble beginnings, without prospects on the horizon but with a guitar strapped to her back and big dreams gleaming in her eyes.
In the few years leading up to the pandemic, Kristen hit the pavement running, scooping up local performance slots and securing open mics, building her confidence on stage while developing her sound and voice. While in the process of attempting to create other projects, Kristen found herself returning to other pieces she was working on in the background that felt more raw, intimate, and worth exploring. The culmination of those efforts will be released in September of this year!