Merissa has always loved music.  As a kid she loved driving long distances with her mom because they’d listen to oldies and both sing along, she loved singing La Bamba at the top of her lungs into a curling iron mic with her sister in the living room, she loved singing in church, always trying to figure out what that lower harmony the lady behind her was singing, and she even loved singing in the middle of cold winter nights when she was pacing the barn to check for newborn lambs on the family farm.  When she wasn’t singing, she was listening to music it or playing it, and sometimes both, evident from the fact that she used to blast the walkman radio over her ears playing her favorite pop and rock tunes, while practicing her classical piano!  How she managed both, one can’t imagine, and she had to be careful her mom didn’t figure out she wasn’t listening to her piano music and playing along, but she just couldn’t get enough music.

With age, she was introduced to live music which opened a whole new world to her.  Seeing the passion the musicians incorporated into the performance was exciting and inspiring.  Finding the guitar a bit more portable than a piano, she took a basic class her last semester of college and has been playing, writing and performing ever since.  “You’d think with thousands of year’s worth of music, and easy access to most of it, all the good stories and tunes would be used up, but fortunately I think songs are as different as people and their personalities, no one alike, and millions to go around.  There are so many stories to tell and so many feelings to share, and I think music is one of the best ways to do that,” says Merissa.

Merissa’s first album, Trading Dreams, was a well received with songs of family, love, heartbreak, open spaces, and the great state of Wyoming.  In the title cut, Merissa croons of a willingness to trade the dream life she was living for the dream of love.  Although she claims her many wishful writings haven’t ever come to fruition in the past, in this case they did.  A few months after the song was written, her future husband saw her performing.  They met soon after, and after too much time battling snow storms to see each long distance, she willingly left her dream life in the Tetons behind, for her dream life with him in the shadow of the Wasatch, where he and the mountains continue to be her muse.

Writing new songs, and working towards her second album, there are good things still to come from Merissa:  “My life is really great right now, and unfortunately it’s hard to write happy song without seeming cheesy, whereas sadness and heartache really bring out the best prose!  I’m managing, however, and look forward to sharing my music with those willing to listen.  I always find there is someone who can relate to what I’m singing about, and hope that others can find strength, empathy, motivation, and inspiration in my songs.“

(See Teton Valley Magazine’s feature article and review of Merissa’s CD release)