24 Mar Lucid Lemons Speaks: AT Merari
Music, just like its individual artists, is very diverse. For Lucid Lemon’s Ladies Month, I interviewed an amazing musician who brings some awesome diversity to rap and the music industry as a whole.
For all lemons who love music:
AT MERARI GETS LUCID
Thank you for sitting down with Lucid Lemons; it’s a real honor and major delight to have you here. Please introduce yourself. Tell us your real name, your age, your genre, where you are from, everything!
My real name is Atuora Erokoro. For my age, I’m ancient, ha. I don’t have a name for the genre of music I make but I can describe it. It’s pretty much a combination of vibes that I like and sounds that have influenced me. I started off just rapping for the most part. My focus was mainly on bars and flow but now I’m a lot more comfortable expressing myself in different ways so I may rap on one record, sing on another, tap into my dancehall side for the next, combine all on one record, and so on. I’m from Ikom in Cross River State but I grew up in Calabar.
Wow, all these, only you? AT Merari, you’re fire. I’ve been wondering how you came up with your name. If you weren’t AT, what would you go by?
AT is a short form of my first name. I’ve been just AT all my career until recently when I added the ‘Merari’. I got that name from the Bible. (Merari was one of the sons of Levi.) Hmm, off the top, maybe something pasta-related. Lil Fettuccine perhaps, ha-ha.
Lil Fettuccine now rocking with AGE! That would be a mad intro. From my research, I discovered that ‘AGE’ means Another Great Empire. Tell us about AGE.
Another Great Empire is my independent record label. I came up with the idea for it in 2009. I’m currently the only artist on the roster.
That’s a great idea. From your music, we can tell you are full of them. Are you looking to add more artists to the label and what kind of artists are you looking for if you do want to add?
Currently, I’m not looking to add anyone to Another Great Empire. I need to figure out my own stuff out first. Once I’m done with that, I can expand.
We will look out for that. What would you say influences your music?
My music is influenced by my mood, my experiences, things I’ve seen and/or heard others go through, my environment… Life in general, really.
Your music is an extension of you, as art should be. You’ve been doing music for close to 10 years, how does that feel? What has been your experience in the industry?
It feels good because I’ve learned and grown a lot since I started, and I’ve had experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything else. At the same time, I still have a long way to go but I’m grateful to be where I am currently.
The journey has been interesting, complete with its ups and downs. I’ve met so many people, had my mind opened up to different perspectives, I’ve succeeded, I’ve failed, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried. I’m always learning, even things not directly related to music. I feel blessed to be experiencing it all.
I think the best way to live life is to be in a constant state of learning. I would like to know why don’t you do a lot of collabs and what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far in your career?
The honest answer is it’s not been intentional. It’s just the way it’s happened so far. I have done quite a few verses for other artists’ songs over the years but now I am making a more conscious effort to work with more people on my own records. I really believe in the collaboration process and the creativity it springs forth.
I’ve learned several important lessons but one thing that comes to mind right now is sometimes we get so caught up in waiting for the perfect moment that we lose out on many viable opportunities.
There may never come a point where the stars align or everything is ideal. Sometimes we just have to seize the moment and find a way to make it work. Start where we are, with what we have.
Wise words! Tell us about your upcoming project
I’ve been working on this project for a few months now. It’s going to have about 6, 7 songs. I’ll be dropping the lead single No Reason in a couple of weeks. I’m really excited about it actually and can’t wait to share it with the people.
AGE giving us Another Great Record! We would be looking out for ‘No Reason’ here at Lucid Lemons. What do you think about the increase of female rappers in the industry?
I’d actually really like to see even more ladies coming with the bars but I salute the ones we have right now who are representing in their own way.
This might be the most important question I’d ask you. How do you manage to stay so fine?
Ha-ha! That’s purely the work of God.
And it is marvelous in our sight! Who would you like to work with?
There probably isn’t enough time to mention everyone I’d like to work with because there are so many talented cats out here. To answer your question though, I’ll name a few – Burna Boy, Cynthia Morgan, Santi, Amaarae, LOS… The list is long, trust me ha-ha.
I can imagine those collaborations, pure fire. Do you think the notion that females can’t rap is now completely eradicated from the music industry? Do you think ‘top’ male rappers are averse to working with females?
I cringe a bit when I hear people refer to women as “females” but that’s a story for another day. I definitely believe that in Nigeria, we have highly-skilled ladies who can go toe to toe with the best of them when it comes to rapping, but I don’t think it’s something that’s been proven to the point of erasing all doubt. It’ll happen though.
Change is slow but always moving. Do you think that it is harder as a woman to drop mew music? Also, why don’t you do a lot of performances?
Referring to just the process of releasing the music, I do not think it is harder for a woman.
I took a break from putting out music/performing for about half of last year. I started releasing sounds again in November. I had a few shows in December but definitely not as many as I could or should have had. Now I’m just waiting to have my first single as AT Merari out so I can hit the road again.
I’ve got to say your music videos are always mad. Would your new song have a video following it shortly? Would you be dropping videos for some of your older songs as well and would you be making an animated video anytime soon, knowing how much you love animations?
Firstly, thank you. And for sure, “No Reason” will have a video. I can’t say how soon the video will drop just yet but God willing, you won’t have to wait too long. I’ll possibly shoot for a couple of my older records. If there’s any one in particular you’d like to see a video for, let a G know.
Having an animated video would be pretty dope. I’m sure I will have one out at some point.
I personally would love to see a video for Imagination. Tell us about the first time you dropped a song.
The first time I put out a song was in 2009. I made a song using Jay Sean’s ‘Ride It’ beat and called it ‘Gravity’. I don’t remember everything that happened with that project but I know I enjoyed the experience. Nobody outside my inner circle knew what to expect when I said I was putting out a song so it was dope seeing their reactions online and getting feedback. I know it wasn’t the greatest record but it was an important step for me.
Where do you see your music taking you?
God willing, to places I haven’t even imagined yet. I love being a musician and I hope I’m able to grow my platform to a level where I have a powerful enough voice to effect change in and out of the music industry.
Lucid Lemons as an organization hopes constantly for greater growth of all African artists. What are things that you think the industry can improve?
The industry is growing and I’m happy about that but we still have a long way to go. We need more structure, for one. We need to do more to support and promote more genres of music. In addition to embracing more sounds, I feel it’s also important to shed more light on those actually making good music and not just focus on the hype.
Tell us about your goals for your music
I just want to make the best possible music I can make at any given time, whether I’m making a party track, a love song, a ‘feel good’ vibe, something inspirational, whatever direction, the quality is paramount to me.
Quality should always come first. Do you have words to share with other upcoming rappers?
My advice is to just keep working. Keep writing and recording and don’t be afraid to experiment with your sound. I’ve noticed that generally, rappers tend to be more rigid in their approach to music, be it the fear of being accused of selling out or a host of other reasons. Lastly, figure out what your goal with your music really is and promote yourself every chance you get.
Always promote yourselves, people, not matter your field! Remember check out AT Merari on all Social Medias,
She is: @ATmerari on IG, SC and Twitter.
Her soundcloud is: https://soundcloud.com/atmerari
Do you have any questions for AT?
Ask in our comment section or on our social media! We are @lucid_lemons on twitter and lucidlemonss on IG!