For Immediate Release April 28, 2016
Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Lily Meola earns
nominations for three top Hawaiian music awards
and slot at California’s inaugural Ohana Festival
Praise for debut album They Say comes from media, musical legends
MAUI, Hawaii – Lily Meola’s debut album, They Say, was just released, but it’s already earned her three major award nominations and a slot at a prestigious new festival — not to mention landing her as one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “Artists You Need to Know” list and the cover of Maui Time magazine’s March issue.
Meola, of Maui, Hawaii, is a finalist for Na Huku Hanohano awards in the Female Vocalist of the Year, Most Promising Artist of the Year and Contemporary Album of the Year categories. The awards, presented by the Hawai’i Academy of Recording Arts, are the regional equivalent of Grammy Awards, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The 39th annual awards will be presented on May 28 at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu.
Meola is also looking forward to performing on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the inaugural Ohana Festival, a two-day gathering at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, Calif. She shares a bill headlined by Eddie Vedder and Elvis Costello.
In March, Rolling Stone described “the bluesy, soulful Meola” as sounding like “Bobbie Gentry and Joni Mitchell went on a vacation to Hawaii together,” and labeled her song, “L.A.,” penned by pal Lukas Nelson (son of Meola mentor Willie), as “four perfect minutes of heartache.”
Willie actually performs on that track; he and Lukas can be heard in several spots on the album — which includes a duet she and Willie originally recorded for his album, To All the Girls … . It’s titled “Will You Remember Mine.” Meola and her brother, pro surfer Matt Meola, grew up with Lukas and his brother Micah, who handled early production on the album before being recruited to record and tour with Neil Young as well as his own band Insects Vs. Robots.
The elder Nelson, who first heard Meola in a Maui café his wife Annie frequents, has since invited her to open for him on tour and perform at his annual South By Southwest Luck Reunion, as well as three Farm Aid benefit concerts. That’s where she met Jamey Johnson, who asked her to duet on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” for his The Christmas Song EP. Allmusic.com applauded their version as “a wonderful exercise in honky-tonk swing.”
They Say also contains a collaboration with fellow Hawaiian Islander Kris Kristofferson on his song “Me And Bobby McGee,” and includes more production work from Eric Helmcamp (Michael Buble, Sarah McLachlan).
Meola also earned a rare 8.4 new music critique rating from Music Connection, which praised, “Meola is an intriguing storyteller who’s got a presentation that captivates.”
Here’s what some notable others are saying about They Say:
“Lily is a magical musical fairy princess … You can’t deny her melodies and will be immediately addicted to the sound of her voice.” – Steven Tyler
“Lily Meola’s surprising voice — smoky, sultry, tender and strong, comes from somewhere timeless, yet somehow new. This voice and these songs spring from a place so deep in the country and jazz traditions that they will be heard as fresh and original by her generation, and deeply rooted in the greatest music of all time by mine. … On the duet with Kris Kristofferson, on perhaps his most famous song [“Me and Bobby McGee”], Lily evokes, and then surpasses, the Janis Joplin version. … These are great songs, sung by a great singer.” – Jackson Browne
“Lily Meola’s capacity to handle a song speaks to her having a much older soul than her tender years would suggest. … One has to wonder where this deep sense of expression came into play. I think the simple answer is that there is much mana in this young woman’s spirit and it translates beautifully through her artistry.” – Michael McDonald
“Lily is a talented and beautiful young woman — inside and out. She has a great future ahead of her.” – Willie Nelson