Dream-pop spreading life, love and unity

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Stockholm-based artist Merely has been described as a dream-pop artist, but in our eyes, her music is best left for the listener to form their own opinion. A lover of solitude, spirituality and self-discovery, Merely’s works are meant to create space around the chaotic nature of daily life. Merely, real name Kristina Florell, is the antidote to dark, drugged-out nightclubs, and is here to spread life, love and unity. Practising music from the age of seven, her compositions are based on immense talent. Breaking free as a contemporary artist, she prefers her work to be fairly unstructured. This doesn’t mean it lacks purpose; in fact, her main intention is quite the opposite. Merely is here to bring us back to our roots and remind us that all we really have is each other.

Have any trips abroad impacted you?

I performed at SXSW last year and found it to be confronting. I prefer to spend time alone, and I was around a lot of people the whole time I was there. However, sometimes discomfort is a great way to be inspired. When I’m in that place, I can take my feelings and express myself through music – which is what I did.

Which travels have inspired your current music?

I recently went to the north of Sweden where I grew up and spent time at my family’s cottage. I was there in December to spend a week by myself and discover new music in complete solitude. This inspired the music I’m working on now, and it was a great experience for me to find deeper connections.

Any favourite travel moments/experiences?

Recently I did a show I was planning for a while, in November last year at the Stockholm Kulturhuset. I performed with a friend who plays the guitar, and it was in a theatre which created a special atmosphere for me. I could feel the audience was really quiet and attentive, which is in contrast to doing a show in a club-oriented venue where people are more into partying. The silent and calming energy helped me feel a deep connection with the crowd.

Are there other journeys you’d like to discuss?

When preparing for this interview, and thinking of the theme, I thought of spiritual journeys (rather than physical trips). I experienced this sort of transition last year when working around acceptance. This mostly has to do with me having no expectations about how my music is received after it’s released.

I’ve been on this path for a while, and it’s helpful to know there are people who like what I do and feel strongly (positive) about it. I always struggle with whether or not to continue, especially at my level. More specifically, regarding how to turn what I’m doing into a financially stable career. I’m also confronted with getting older as a woman, which isn’t exactly well supported in music. Finding acceptance around what I’m doing has helped a lot. 

What’s your spiritual practice around acceptance?

For me, believing is a big part of my spiritual journey. I need to believe in something bigger than myself. What I mean is that hyper-individualism seems to be the norm right now, and I try not to conform to that ideal. This approach comes across (to me) as a bit self-indulgent. Of course, everyone has an individual responsibility to life, including how to create an equal society, but I think that’s different.

In response to this mindset, I’d rather put my faith into something ‘larger than myself’, creating fewer individual expectations. In doing so, I’ve been able to understand that no matter what, I need to be proud of what I do, as it wasn’t completely up to me. As a result, I’ve been able to be more loving through my work. Remembering to breathe is also important. It’ll all work out.

Believing is a big part of my spiritual journey

Has this process helped you find balance?

One thing I’ve been surprised about in the music industry is how it’s not as progressive as I would’ve thought, especially around topics like sustainability. However, I’ve been able to find friends who make music in a more open-minded way towards a balanced life – both emotional and practical. In that sense, I believe it has as I’ve been attracting a different energy. The best thing to do is change and find new forms of expression, which I believe I’m doing.

Do you channel what you’re doing in your music?

I hope what I’m doing inspires people to feel a positive influence and become more open through my work. I always bring spirituality into what I’m creating but try not to be too literal about it. This sentiment is similar to what I said earlier about being indirectly influenced. 

However, what I’m recording now is even more connected to the path I’m on. When it’s done, I hope people clearly feel the spiritual essence of my practice. What’s most important for me is that my music allows people to believe in themselves while letting go of individual independence. Let’s reconnect with nature and take a bigger interest in the communities around us.

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