Meredith Shock elegantly tests the waters in love and life.
“‘Trial Run’ was a song that I wrote about a girl I’m still dating. I’m in Nashville, and she ended up being here just for the summer, and I ended up really liking her. I was like, ‘Crap, what are we gonna do because I want to keep talking to you and seeing where this goes,’” Shock said.
“One of my best friends was like, ‘Why don’t you give it a trial run or something?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, we should,’ and we started calling it a trial run, and then that just sparked the idea for the song.”
Shock’s fervent single wraps bright intermittent synths, climbing electric guitars, clicking finger snaps and vibrant acoustic guitars into a soaring cinematic sound as she sings, “Oh, I know you’re in another state/Maybe the miles and space will give you time to think about what you need/You can give me all the excuses/I know you got your reasons/But if you’re asking me, here’s what I think.”
Initially, Shock wrote “Trial Run” as highly personal track meant solely for her partner’s ears. It started out as a raw voice memo on her phone and later morphed into mesmerizing studio and acoustic versions.
“I played it for her, and she really, really liked it. I wanted to show her how I felt, and it was directed toward her. It’s not a story, it’s really just about her. People can tell I’m singing about a specific person and not just about any experience. I’m singing to someone, which is another big thing, too,” she said.
Shock released the studio version of “Trial Run” in February and dropped a live acoustic video version for her third single today. Filmed at Nashville’s Beyond The Loops studio in December, the video features Shock performing a poignant stripped-down version of “Trial Run” with an acoustic guitar.
“When I sing live, I think there’s always a little bit more feeling rather than like a recorded produced version. I think it’s cool to see the difference between how I wrote the song with just me and my guitar versus how the song eventually played out and how it was produced,” she said.
‘Fix Your Pride’ in ‘Broken Heart City’
With her third new single in a year, Shock proves she’s doing more than just a “Trial Run” with her burgeoning music career. In 2019, she released two poetic heartbreak anthems, “Fix Your Pride” and “Broken Heart City,” to affix her emerging sonic signature on Music City.
“Fix Your Pride” seamlessly fuses high-pitched electric guitars, shimmering synths, pounding electric drums and deep mournful bass as Shock warns, “Won’t you get those eyes away from my ear/I don’t want to hear it, girl/You’ve said all you needed to say/Don’t want an apology/It was in the middle of a fight screamin’ and cryin’/Is that how you really feel/I’m dyin’ to know, yeah.”
For Shock, it serves as a passionate, relatable reminder to keep one’s pride in check and prevent it from ruining relationships. Shock wrote the track after a personal relationship quickly fell apart.
“I wear my heart on my sleeve, how I am is how I am, and I let people know how I feel. I am so honest with it, and people who are just too proud to say that, it’s frustrating,” Shock said. “That was another song that I had really only recorded an acoustic demo for the same guy who had produced ‘Broken Heart City,’ and he came back with this super cool track.”
“Fix Your Pride” also functions as a magical country-pop successor to Shock’s gorgeous debut single, “Broken Heart City,” which dropped last June. It chronicles her deepest emotions after another relationship ended not long after she arrived in Nashville.
Uplifting acoustic strums intertwine with buoyant banjo and clacking drums while Shock sadly sings, “Her smile could get me through anything/Her touch could heal my pain/Goddamn she was so pretty and I ruined everything/Now I return to Broken Heart City.”
“Broken Heart City” also allows Shock to publicly and creatively profess her love for women through a song. She’s helping turn the tide for many LGBTQ+ country artists who initially hesitate to reveal who they truly are and love in real life.
“I am singing about a girl, and I don’t know how people are gonna feel about this, especially if it’s under a country sound. I was a little nervous about that, especially even playing it out at writers’ rounds. Anytime I use the female pronoun everyone’s ears just go up, and they’re like, ‘What, you just said she?’” said Shock, who also recorded a live acoustic video for her first single.
“Thank God I’ve never had anyone say anything negative about it or come up and disagree or anything, but I was definitely nervous to put that out there. I’ve been out for years and proud about it, but this was just a different type of being out.”
Making the Music City Move
Shock moved to Nashville two years ago after graduating from James Madison University and receiving an internship. Once the internship ended, a friend encouraged Shock to stay and share an apartment with her in Music City. Remaining in the country music capital allowed Shock to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer-songwriter.
She played out in local songwriter rounds and discovered an unexpected love of performing live. It was a welcoming change after writing and recordings bedroom songs while growing up in Washington, D.C.
“After I would play, I would get this weird feeling inside my body that I just didn’t want to leave the stage. I mean, I know I love being the center of attention. I have to love it because I’m one of six kids, like we all fight for it,” laughed Shock, who’s number three in the birth order.
As a child, Shock listened to her mother sing along to George Strait, the Dixie Chicks and other country artists in the car. One memorable moment included singing along to the Dixie Chicks’ 2002 cover of the Steve Nicks-penned Fleetwood Mac classic, “Landslide.”
“I always loved singing along because my mom would sing along, so I was like, ‘Yep, this is what you do in the car, you just sing along to the song.’ That was really what just caught me, especially singing-wise, and I started just to want to do my own thing,” said Shock, who’s also inspired by Taylor Swift.
By age nine, Shock started learning guitar and writing songs, including a tune about her younger sister not getting out of her bed. As a military brat, she lived in close quarters with her siblings and moved all over the country while her father served in the U.S. Air Force.
With five siblings, Shock quickly discovered that songwriting became the ideal way to address and process her emotions over time. Through life’s ups and downs, she’s identified different ways to share those feelings with a growing country-pop audience.
“I’m a pretty happy person, but I sing a lot of sad songs. I write a lot of sad songs, but I don’t necessarily mean for them to be sad. I think it’s just when I’m sad I always feel the need and the desire to write,” Shock said.
“Songwriting is such a different way to put how you feel into words. I like the challenge of it, making something flow. I love writing songs when I know I’m not the only one going through this.”
With three singles under her belt, Shock will release a new track called “Happy Songs” soon to highlight a joyous time in her life. It’s another heartfelt ode to long-distance love with her partner.
“It’s one of those things that you want to write about the hope and not write about the heartbreak anymore. It was such a different thing to write such a happier song. It’s interesting that she’s bringing this out of me, and now I’ve just been writing about more of my feelings.”