Wild Meridian is the new project from two of the music industry’s most celebrated songwriters. Billboard #1 writer Hillary Reynolds (Little Big Town, Backstreet Boys, Andy Grammar) and Jesse Macht (co-writer with Robopop, Tyler Lyle of the Midnight, Sean Douglas) have joined forces to form the songwriting supergroup. On June 2, 2022 they dropped their self-titled debut album.
Reynolds and Macht met in 2020 when both attended one of the Monday Night Songwriter Showcases at The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, California. They immediately began writing songs together and Wild Meridian was born. The unique mix of Hillary’s ethereal vocals and Macht’s chill Americana vibe created a brand new sound that transcends genre.
“How I Know” is the lead single from Wild Meridian’s debut album, available worldwide via all major streaming services. A solo acoustic guitar introduces the track as Reynolds and Macht step to the mic. They deliver a soulful love song duet as an organic ensemble of guitar, bass, drums and keys slowly builds from a quiet alt-folk vibe to a lush pop production.
Check out “How I Know” below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Indie Dive playlist, or listen on your favorite streaming services. We had the chance to chat with Jesse about Wild Meridian. Check out their answers to our 8 questions below. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with this deeply talented duo.
A chat with Jesse Macht of Wild Meridian
Where is Wild Meridian you from?
We are based in Los Angeles, CA!
How long have you been making music?
We met back in 2018 at a Hotel Café songwriters night. Hillary was playing the Monday night showcase, and I (jesse) came to check out some of the songwriters since I’ve played the evening before and it’s a great place to network. I loved Hillary’s voice, and I very nervously asked her to do a writing session.
It was a funny ask, because it was almost like asking somebody out on a date, but I was in a serious relationship, with my now wife, and she was married to a fantastic guy, but there are still those natural awkward conversations between people when you ask to get together to work on something. But she was so cool, and humble, and open, and was totally into meeting up. That energy went directly into our first writing session and we wrote “LIKE I DO”, which is on the record, in one sitting together. It’s still my top favorites on the record.
Who are the musicians involved in Wild Meridian?
We have a lot of great musician friends on the record. Mikey Wells played some keys. He’s one of my best friends and I was so grateful to have him play on the record. Tyler Carrol played some bass, Rob Humphreys did some percussion/drums, Ken Belcher some backup guitar playing.
These guys have played in my solo project off and on for years and they play with a lot of great touring recognizable artists these days. The standout player was Marton Bisists who is Hilary’s buddy. When he came to the studio, he provided the atmosphere on guitar that these songs were yearning for. We joke and call them whale sounds, but his swells and environmental playing just came out of him so naturally it was a dream to have him play.
Our producer, Wynne, too was so in love with his tone that we just couldn’t have done this record without Marton. He’d come to the studio, lay down very few takes, and the rest took care of itself. And by the rest taking care of itself I mean that Wynne really put these songs together in a beautiful way.
He played piano and wrote string arrangements and helped edit and produce the songs in a lovely dreamy melancholy haunting way – – exactly the sound we were hoping would grow out of a acoustic guitar written tunes. Andrew Masters mixed the record at the end and helped tie everything together.
Who are Wild Meridian’s biggest musical influences?
I can’t speak for Hillary, and she probably won’t be able to get back to this interview because she’s gonna have a baby ANY MINUTE! I’m so excited for her. I have a 9 month old baby boy myself.
My biggest influence is Jeff Buckley. His tender songwriting, and out of this world vocal melodies stir my emotional makeup every time I listen to his songs. “Last Goodbye” is the most heartbreaking song I’ve ever heard, and I dream to write like him.
For this record, we really tried to utilize the things we love of contemporary pop duets and Nashvillian duets. From classic artists like Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, to contemporary duets like The Civil Wars and Chris Stapleton. I don’t have a voice like all the gentlemen I listed, but I hope the songwriting follows in the same vein.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Interesting question. I’m influenced by so much honestly. I’m a big baseball fan and I can be a heady guy. Baseball has always been a metaphor for life for me… I can go on and on about how it mirrors life’s rhythms, or the characters that have played it over the years and the amazing human stories that each of them reflect and how it reflects the story of America.
I’ve written a script about the life and times of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Effa Manley, Bill Veeck, and the story of the 1948 Cleveland Indians because it’s a very important story of integration in sport, labor, and the country that many people don’t know about outside of Jackie Robinson… so that’s where my head has been at.
That said, I know it’s a tired trope, but being a father has injected new inspiration into me. Seeing the world in a new creature’s eyes, your own blood, has helped me find gratitude in all the wonder I see Shia, my son, experiencing every day.
Seeing my wife create and nourish and raise him, and make all the sacrifices she made, has been an inspiration to push myself every day to be the best man I can be. It’s not an easy example to follow, but at least the example is right in front of me.
What inspired you to create Wild Meridian?
I had put out a few records on my own, which I love, but I had always wanted to do a duet project. I’m a big fan of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Ever since I had heard their live record, I wanted to do something in that world. I initially had written some songs with Katie Boeck back in 2013/14, but she went on to do a solo project of her own.
She was fantastic, but didn’t want to commit to a project together. Hillary, luckily, was super excited to try something like this and I’m very grateful that her voice is like listening to a nightingale. The quality and emotion in her voice brings me to tears so often, I am grateful she lets me sing alongside her.
What are Wild Meridian’s plans for the future (musically)?
We’re going to play some shows as soon as Hillary gets back on her feet after giving birth. We’re just super excited to share this record with the world, and we hope that people will listen, share, and hopefully request shows, the songs to be played on their local radio stations, and honestly just reach out to us to say hello.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thanks so much for sharing this with your audience, we are very grateful that you took the time to do this. It’s a very generous offering and I can’t thank you enough.