Louisiana-native, Merci Raines, just dropped her first ever single, “Moon City,” which features driving drums combined with emotive, beautiful vocals.

If you’re into listening to Halsey, Florence + The Machine and Lykke Li, then you’ll definitely dig listening to Merci Raines’s pop influenced song, which also shows off her dark side. She has crafted a sound revealing the southern wilderness where it still hides in shadowy spaces the city has forgotten. With spellbinding vocal and driving beats, Merci Raines conjures the essence of a city best known for its eclectic character and mystique.

“Moon City” will be featured on Merci Raines’ debut EP, which include songs ranging from ghostly and enigmatic to danceable exclamations of perseverance. Her debut album will release on March 31, but in the mean time, she will be dropping a series of incredible singles and video clips, demonstrating her true artistry and passion.

In honor of Merci Raines’s debut single launching today, we were lucky enough to catch up with the upcoming artist.

How did you get into producing music?

My mom is a singer and was still playing with her band as I was growing up. I’d pretty much just tag along to whatever venue would let a kid through the door. I was lucky to learn that there was a special kind of healing in music early on. I also started writing at a really young age (journaling, “poetry”, whatever I could get out of my head and onto paper) and that was the best therapy I could afford. When I realized I could combine and communicate with the two, I had a “this is it” kind of moment. And that was it. I still have so much to learn and explore though. That’s the exciting thing about making music. There’s always more to uncover.  

Who is someone that really influences you to create music/someone you look up to? 

I could list a handful of artists, but really it’s more so the people I know and interact with on the daily. My friends and family and the conversations we have. What we go through alone and together. I process things way better when I’m writing about them. 

If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why? 

Massive Attack. Those guys make some special stuff happen and are the masters of good collaborations.

What was your inspiration behind “Moon City?” 

“Moon City” is for the people who might not fit in the boxes they came in. It’s a place you can go to let your freak flag fly and forget about rules and limitations. Whether physically or just in your head. The duality of a place that you can both thrive and be consumed by. It was heavily inspired by New Orleans and the personal freedom and demons I found there. 

Does living in Louisiana have any impact on the type of music you create? 

Living in Louisiana has been a huge inspiration for me. Maybe more than anything else. Growing up in the south is very different from growing up in a city like NYC or LA. There was never much of a “scene” in industry terms (which I resented at the time) but now appreciate so much. I had to learn to create my own opportunity and build up the courage to go against what was the norm. That brought some adversity, but gives me a lot to grow from and write about now.  

You’re getting ready to drop your debut EP as well, what kind of sounds can we expect to hear on the album?

This EP ended up coming together pretty spontaneously. Meeting Chris (Leon) and Elliot (Jacobson), there was an immediate connection and the effortlessness of that spilled over into our studio time. I had been getting demos together with my manager for a year and had planned for a certain “sound”, but ultimately it became it’s own thing. Each song was approached differently, but I’d say there’s a lyrical and sonic consistency people will pick up on. In general, I hesitate to describe music cause it’s easy to butcher. All about the listener’s own experience and perception. 

What are some other goals and accomplishments you wish to achieve after releasing “Moon City” and your debut album? Will there be a tour?

I really just want to take the personal momentum from this project and keep writing. I learned a lot behind the scenes of making this EP, and I’m stirred to see what comes from that. I have a better awareness of my strengths and weaknesses now.

2017 is going to be a busy year. We’ve planned to start touring regionally in the spring/summer and that’s as much as I should probably say so not to curse myself!

Tell us 5 Things that we don’t know about you (hobbies, funny stories, fun facts…etc…)?

1. My dogs were my first fans. Maybe not willingly though. I’m introverted and always loved writing, but performing didn’t come as naturally. Before I had my first band, I’d make a set list of cover songs and perform them for the dogs in my bedroom. Most of them are rescues so I rationalized that I was putting their anxiety at ease, but they probably just felt sorry for me then passed out. 

2. I have really intense dreams. Usually kind of gross and/or terrible, but great for writing material. 

3. I’m a cautious person. If me and your grandma were racing on the interstate, she’d win. 

4. I used to tell really weird lies to the kids at school. “You should come to my house. I have a hedgehog farm in my back yard.” Not sure why I did this. Boredom does weird things. 

5. I see dead people. 

Connect With Merci Raines: Facebook/Twitter/SoundCloud