Maritza Merk is a lo-fi R&B singer-songwriter born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in New Jersey. She is a part of the prolific New York-based music collective Merk La Familia. Maritza Merk’s debut album “X” debuted on Apple Music and Spotify in January of 2021.
Through the combination of contemporary R&B, Pop, Soul, Afrobeats, and electronic dance music, this artist turned her personal experiences with love and heartbreak into “X.” Merk is in her mid-twenties but embodies the voice of an old soul. A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, Merk’s history with challenging and failed relationships are poetically explored in “X,” showing an objective optimism in the face of heartbreak.
The title of the album, “X,” represents a sense of wholeness and becoming complete. It is also a reference to the Roman numeral for ten, the number of songs on the album. Merk stated that the body of music took years of studio time to feel finished. This time and care put into the album is evident.
Listening to the album is like reading a diary through tear-stained eyes. While it is obvious that there are complications within the relationships, the lyrics keep the listener at a distance. Merk remains conscious of what details she is withholding from the listener. The album “X” contrasts the different sides of romantic love, showcasing both heartbreak and joy. Merk is able to keep the storytelling objective by not attributing negative nor positive connotations to the experiences.
The interaction between the electronic beats and soulful vocals creates a hypnotic experience while referencing the nostalgic themes present in the lyrics. The presence of lyrical repetition, unpredictable beats, and melodic echoes remind the listener of what it feels like to overthink in an emotional state. Yet despite this fact, the album as a whole maintains a relaxing ambiance as the listener experiences it from start to finish.
Merk manages to be experimental with the production of her work while maintaining a clear narrative. This abstract storytelling of failed relationships and the lessons learned from them gives a fresh perspective to a commonplace experience. “X” serves as an artistic reminder to embrace every feeling, whether good or bad.
Words by Riley Gunderson
Photography by Work by 10011