NEW ARTIST FINDS: MALLORY MERK
New York musician, model, and fashionista Mallory Merk defies convention, doing things her own way in both music and fashion, RULING the game instead of playing it.
Fashion lovers might already know Mallory Merk from her popular Instagram feed, where she regularly posts inspiring beauty tips and inspiration. OR, even more likely, trendspotters might know her work with Kanye West, during 2014’s New York Fashion Week, or as professional muse for acclaimed make-up artist Pat McGrath, whom Merk considers “one of her fashion Moms,” as she told TeenVogue Magazine back in 2016.
Most up-and-coming musicians and producers can’t boast a Kanye West collaboration before they’d even released an EP, but that’s one thing that makes Mallory Merk so exceptional, so worthy of inclusion as one of We Are: The Guard’s Best New Artist Series.
Mallory Merk got her start almost ridiculously early, starting her modeling career with Kanye West at 14 years old. She even had to miss a week of her first year of high school, just to take part in Kanye’s NYFW runway show, and almost failing her First Year because of it. Mallory Merk is a regular teenage girl, in other regards, battling curfews and parental restrictions to launch her musical career. Merk started out releasing personal covers of hit pop songs, starting with Drake’s “Marvin’s Room,” earning a modest but passionate listening base, before having her laptop confiscated by her parents, not being allowed to listen to music at home. Undeterred, Merk found a way to make it work, recording snippets on an iPhone, preparing to record her debut, the well-received MM & HH with engineer Drew Oliver.
Merk’s early music career is both conventional, in a way that a lot of teenagers can relate to, while also being entirely millennial and revolutionary. Mallory Merk is both a regular girl and #girlboss, all rolled into one.
MALLORY MERK - IF YOU WANNA
MM & HH opens with “If You Wanna” with a bang and a thump. Slo-mo beats creep and crawl, paired with trembling, delicate, ethereal synths and a guest spot from rapper Ian Olney. It’s a smooth bedrock for Merk’s vocals to soar over, as smooth and graceful as a hang-glider over a busy beach at sunset. “If You Wanna” is some of the finest chill music we’ve heard here, at We Are: The Guard, of late - essential listening for your summer beach playlists.
MALLORY MERK - NORTH AMERICAN RIDE
“North American Ride” serves as an appropriate bookend for “If You Wanna,” sounding as smooth and as soulful as the first, but looking towards the future, with the image of “smoking kush out a Greyhound window.” It’s a sentiment common to most young people, or anyone wondering what tomorrow could bring, but Mallory Merk has the skills and the poetic cast to bring these feelings to poetic life. Great art always speaks for all of us, finding words for feelings we didn’t even know we had. Mallory Merk speaks for everyday people and experiences, despite regularly doing runway catwalks in front of millions.
We Are: The Guard couldn’t be more excited to follow along with this exciting young ingenieux! Big ups to crowd curator Orion Hicks for bring Mallory Merk to our attention, as one of We Are: The Guard’s Best New Artists!
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.