“merakki” – Behind the Name

In preparation of my first EP release, I wanted to give you all an inside scoop on this production! Each day I’ll be releasing a new post about the making of the album, the story behind each song, and other behind the scenes content. I hope this gets you all just as excited for the album’s release as I am!!

First order of business: the name. My legal name is Katherine Vlamis, so for those of you who know me, I’m sure you’re a little confused as to how I get “merakki” from a name as basic as “Katherine”. But not to fear, I’m here to explain everything! Drum roll please…

Long story short, the name is based off of an untranslatable Greek word that roughly means “doing something with passion”. I felt this was appropriate for my music because that’s just the vibe I want to give, and it describes my whole reason for writing music. But if you want the unabridged version because you still have a few more minutes to kill before actually being productive again, read on!

For those of you who don’t know, I’m about one quarter Greek. And naturally, as a somewhat unpatriotic American, I hold onto that part of my heritage very dearly. My great grandparents were both from the Greek island of Lesvos, although their paths didn’t cross until they met in America after independently traveling here by boat to make a new life for themselves. I’ve visited their home villages of Anemotia and Plomari, along with the neighboring islands and mainland, three times now to visit family and do a little sightseeing. Growing up, horiatiki (tomato salad), pita, hummus, tzatziki, feta, and bread with olive oil (shipped from our family olive trees in Greece, of course), were my comfort foods. If that’s not enough, my family has even had Greek themed New Year’s parties; yes, we’re that family.

Now that I’ve justified my attraction to and admiration of Greek culture, I’ll get to the point. Previously, I’ve produced music under the name Katherine Nicole. However, I recently had what I call a “musical identity crisis”. For this EP, I wanted more of an electronic pop sound since that’s the kind of music I listen to on a daily basis, and it hit me; Katherine Nicole totally sounds like an acoustic singer-songwriter from the Midwest trying to make it big. That might just be me being dramatic, but once I made this revelation, I knew I would never look at my name the same. Thus begins the mission to find a new name.

Due to my Greek heritage, I wanted a name that meant something in Greek or had Greek roots. I also liked the idea of the name being one word, like Beyoncé. I mean, she’s obviously doing something right. I think I quite literally searched “cool Greek words” and the word “meraki” showed up.

Once I read the meaning, I knew this was it. I’ve never written music for the potential fame, fortune, or materialistic success (although it would be a bonus); I write music because I want to share my hopefully relatable message with the world, let listeners know they’re not alone, and on the surface level, just make a good beat.

Of course, I’m not the only one with this idea. After a few google searches, I found a wide assortment of musicians, producers, songs, companies, and restaurants with the name “meraki”. I thought about trying to think of another name, but I have this awful habit of becoming attached to something very quickly, and I was not about to give up. Since my name starts with a K, I just personalized the word a little bit to have an extra K, and bada bing bada boom, “merakki” is born.

I’m sure that’s a much longer back story than the name warrants, but hey, I had a three hour car ride with nothing else to do! Stay tuned for more daily updates and behind the scenes info on the making of Silver Linings!

– merakki

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