I Am Not Ok
Amy Winehouse and Vampire Weekend make a Latin Pop Song. Aka, emotionally-driven indie pop, written during pandemic quarantine, built on alluring melodies, and ringing with live performance energy.
Scarlet and Geoff, the creative force behind Merlot Embargo, spent much of the last few years on hiatus from performing in public, like most of the world. Though the break was forced, it did have a few upsides: namely the space to write new music. And they certainly have made the most of it.
Now, they are releasing a new single in their series of pandemic-inspired songs, "I Am Nok Ok."
"I Am Not Ok" is a groovy, indie-pop jam inspired by the idea of one partner heading off to the "real world," with the other stuck at home, isolated. As they often do, Merlot Embargo couple serious matters expressed with deep emotional vocal range and edge, with fun and infectious indie-pop textures. The single is a masterclass in marrying these two seemingly opposing ideas.
As the fifth single from their upcoming, yet-to-be-named sophomore album, the song marks a turning point in Merlot Embargo's writing and production style. The distress of the pandemic and the dissatisfaction with their previous "sound" drove Merlot Embargo to explore new production ideas and influences. "I Am Not Ok" further explores new ground for them, lyrically and musically.
The album is currently about halfway through production and will be released in 2024.
"I hope our songs not only bring people joy, but moments of self-reflection and retrospection," says Scarlet. It's a goal that "I Am Not Ok" achieves.
Merlot Embargo Bio
Their story started with a nearly fatal car accident: an all-night drive halfway across the USA, and a high-speed highway crash near San Antonio that crushed their little Toyota Yaris, and sent them scrambling out its newly-destroyed rear window. Scarlet and Geoff walked away (nearly) injury-free, but that brush with death, and subsequent time of self-reflection, loosened their creative energy and gave them the drive to share their music with the world.
Some would consider the duo an unlikely pair: a seat-of-the-pants, artsy singer-songwriter, married to, and making music with, a music school nerd and engineer. But the blending of their different approaches to music, and life, has enabled them to create music that walks the line between familiar and provocative. Sonically, they've created something akin to Brandie Carlile meets Adele meets Amy Winehouse, backed by a band raised on the Beatles and Radiohead and the Roots. They temper each other's worst musical tendencies, and in their good moments, foster the other's best quirks.
Merlot Embargo record out of their home studio in LA, where they are also busy raising their daughter Joanna, and performing regularly with (and without) their band throughout the southern California region. Their music is diverse but rooted in the classics. While they strive to make each song something fresh, Scarlet’s powerful voice and Geoff’s groovy guitaring make it all feel like Merlot Embargo. Their on-stage banter is akin to their recorded music: relatable and real, and occasionally pushing the limit of what's comfortable.
They released their debut album, "Don’t Look Back," in 2016, and were excited about the response from both fans and critics. Although they’ve had a few slowdowns since then (hello, new baby! hello, covid!), they’ve been hard at work releasing many new singles, videos, and performing. During the pandemic, they performed weekly "Live from Home" acoustic shows on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and other streaming platforms. It was a great way to build a little community during a rather depressing time.