Meet indie-folk songstress Mere Woodard. The feathery-voiced songbird hails from Ponte Vedra, Fla. and released her new album, Like the Sea last month. The record is a collection of authentic and relatable songs, taking you on a journey through the depths of her life and soul.
Sometimes it’s a risk to be a vulnerable independent artist, but Woodard doesn’t seem to mind. The Jacksonville, Fla. artist sends copies of her record wrapped in brown paper, addressed with her penmanship and complete with a butterfly stamp. She makes eye contact with her audience members, stopping mid-set to give hugs, accepting bracelets from fans and encouraging children to sing along. She welcomes music lovers with open arms—both in person and on social media—instantly making you feel like a long-time friend.
Because at the core of Mere Woodard’s success is her ability to relate with people.
“The biggest way I could describe myself—in life and in music—is connection,” said Woodard. “The most important element of life is connection with people.”
Her knack for relating with strangers is quickly earning her the adoration of Florida music lovers. Having played at venues ranging from the intimate Blue Jay Listening Room to the majestic Florida Theater, it’s incredible that her success is completely organic.
The secret is to be entirely unguarded. Mere Woodard isn’t afraid to admit that many of Like the Sea’s beautiful songs were born out of a place of struggle and overcoming hardships. Her introspective lyrics in Like the Sea are deeply personal, making the record one that you can closely identify with.
Like the Sea opens with “Wild Heart,” a resolution song about tapping into your wild side when you feel like you’re stuck in the mundaneness of life. It’s all about being free from whatever it is that you’ve succumbed to, and it kicks the album off to a passionate start.
“I was writing these slow songs and then this wild song was born and it was completely different from the other songs I had been writing at the time,” Woodard explains. “But we all have that way of tapping into that radiant energy which is what the song is all about.”
Two tracks later is an open-ended, gritty love song called “My Love.” It was created after Woodard was given a prompt about a girl struggling to love herself and accept love from others. “I think it’s about struggle. Whether it’s a breakup song or a love song, it’s about that struggle of accepting someone.“
What makes “My Love” great is the question of who it’s intended for. “For me,” Woodard explains, “It was about that point you reach in a relationship when you realize ‘I’m a little crazy and so are you, but we are learning to love those parts in each other.’”
A similar track, “Upper Hand” is about how life is still beautiful when you’re heartbroken. “Upper Hand” manifested itself as if there were a sense of urgency in its creation, and it’s perfect for anyone finding himself or herself in a dark place.
“Upper hand came to me as a dream multiple times. It wasn’t one of those things where you think of something really great when you’re half asleep or in the shower and then all of a sudden, it’s gone. Upper Hand didn’t leave me and after two nights I clearly remembered the lyrics, “I’ve never been afraid of rain / I’ve never been afraid of crows.”
Like the Sea has a victorious, happy ending with Woodard’s last four songs, “I Will Love You When You’re Wrong,” “Best Thing,” “Love is All That Matters,” and “Great Night Sky.” All four songs are irresistible with foot-stomping acoustics, finger-picked guitars, and Woodard’s voice floating like incense.
There’s something for everyone in Like the Sea. From the fire and fury of “Wild Heart” to the youthful romance of “Great Night Sky,” Like the Sea tells a story. The album is a reminder that it’s never too late to find your sense of wonder, to twirl in a skirt, to throw your head back and laugh at your fears. It’s the type of album you return to over and over again, the tracks helping you navigate whatever season of life you may find yourself in. She’s on a journey with her listeners, inviting anyone who’s crazy enough to embrace their struggle and choose to enjoy life.
You can buy Mere Woodard’s album, Like the Sea here.