Melissa Weikart
Photo: Malu Franc / Courtesy of Northern Spy Records

Melissa Weikart’s “Ocean Song” Finds Renewal at Its Center (premiere)

Pianist Melissa Weikart’s offbeat, harrowing avant-pop song “Ocean Song” represents a return to our purest selves with a video set in the calanques of Marseille.

Melissa Weikart meticulously crafts compositions that often feel larger than herself—burgeoning with a chordal undertow that begets surprise when noting her soloist status. At her music’s center are her voice, itself a vehicle for pensive, twist-turn delivery, and piano. Yet, these arrangements rarely feel stripped back or bare. The songs of which her debut album, Here, There are comprised are heady pieces full of emotional depth and heavy reflection, described as “grasping for connection”.

The LP releases on 27 May via Northern Spy Records and is available for pre-order now. Prior to this, Weikart premieres the “Ocean Song”. Avant-garde piano rhythms accentuate the unconventional soul of the piece. The music video, directed by Malu França, approaches the song’s darkly nostalgia with a delicate touch.

Weikart reflects, “I remember writing ‘Ocean Song’ in one go—I don’t think I’ve ever written a song so quickly. I had just gotten off the phone with a mentor and collaborator of mine who lives in Cape Cod, surrounded by salty air and deep blue waters. She was telling me about her life, about all the new music she was working on, and as I listened I imagined days spent alternating between the studio and the ocean, moments of creation and synthesis and regeneration and reflection. Not the most realistic portrayal, as this is one of the busiest people I know we’re talking about but inspiring nonetheless.

“I’ve loved the ocean since I was a kid; a lot of my childhood memories are wrapped up in summers spent running between the freezing cold water and the scorching sand, trying to catch the tallest waves and getting lost in the meditation of the back and forth. Ocean song is a lullaby of reckoning, a return to the self when all the excess is washed away, and it is also a desire to live that journey consumed by somebody else, in hindsight, the act of free-falling without a safety net mistaken for deep intimacy.

“The music video was filmed in the beautiful calanques of Marseille, a landscape that inspires no less than awe, the feeling of being confronted by forces beyond your control. Cold and windy in January, but also piercingly bright and sunny. The video balances a playful lightness and dark introspection, which to me are the driving forces of songwriting. A toy piano, a miniature doll, vast horizons, and tall rock formations are among the cast of supporting characters, coming together to create an abstract narrative that is more evocative than plot-driven, leaving much of the interpretation in the hands of the listener and viewer.”

Melissa Weikart Here There