Premiere: Tyler Meacham Offers Insight Into Pure Grief With “dream house”

 In News

Genuine emotion is overwhelming. In highs and lows, it possesses a visceral intensity that can paralyze even the strongest wills. So consuming, we instinctively recoil, sabotaging our triumphs just before their peaks or ignoring our sorrows until they are buried deep within us. It’s not easy to counteract this, though. Our instinctive defense mechanisms work against this, always waiting in the background to shield us from suffocating sensations of all types.

Sometimes, though, the emotions have to be felt fully. We have to celebrate our successes and we have to grieve our losses, even if the best way to do it is ambiguous. In these moments, we turn to those who have been through the struggle before, searching for a hand to pull us from the abyss or nudge us upward and onward with a simple push. Finding those people will always be a challenge, but fortunately, music continuously offers a unique distillation of comfort and guidance, whether charged with aggression or decorated with grandeur. The best artists fulfill this lofty promise within their songs, demonstrating an ability to confront emotions that many shy away from, all while gently guiding listeners toward their own path of healing and growth. Richmond’s own Tyler Meacham is one of these artists, perhaps one of the more refined, capable of handling such burdens with keen insight that inspires and uplifts.

In her newest single, “dream house,” Meacham confronts multifaceted sorrow with striking poise, intertwining aspirational loss with devastating bereavement in a way that showcases the very perilous way we compartmentalize grief in our world. It’s a moving piece of music, beautifully layered to showcase the piercing sincerity that hangs on every verse with a familiar ache. Scheduled for release on Friday, April 5th, the song delves deeper into the genuine expression that has long defined Meacham’s music, now infused with heightened clarity and enhanced skill that come only from an artist growing in life, not just art. Today, The Auricular is proud to premiere this acute single with an exclusive stream below, as well as some further insight into its cathartic prowess.


The genesis of “dream house” traces back to 2021, a time marked by deep personal upheaval for Tyler Meacham. In a tragic series of events, both her mother and close cousin were diagnosed with cancer within weeks of each other. As treatment began soon after, Meacham found herself grappling with the complexities of grief, faced with the harrowing prospect of losing not one but two cherished family members. Grief turned to joy as remission followed in 2022, but by early 2023, Meacham was crushed again by the news that both relatives’ cancer had returned, beginning an even more dire spiral of personal anguish. Seeking solace from the relentless emotional strain, Meacham sought refuge in an unlikely outlet: real estate.

“In an effort to distract myself from the above existential crisis, I downloaded the Zillow app,” Meacham relayed in a piece written to explain the new single’s origins. “I got deep into real estate for the first time. I talked to friends who were first-time homeowners. I coveted their gorgeous pre-pandemic home finds. I balked at how quickly the best places around me were getting snatched up. I thought of some friends who purchased a historic house with a big backyard and chef’s kitchen before the market turned. I loved that house. The first line of the song came to me: “I think I found my dream house\ But someone else got to it first\ Kinda funny how that works.”

As the year progressed, what began as a song about land and property became an allegory for grief, a way in which Meacham could make peace with the dread that had been looming over her for several years with no end in sight. Future scenes of her family spending time together on the wrap-around of a mid-century house were not a guarantee anymore, and if they weren’t, what else could be in life? It wasn’t just about the where and how of these moments either, but that they actually happen at all in the future, as Meacham so poignantly addresses with the haunting line “All I wanted was\ To spend another night with you\ If only dreams came true.”

Meacham is uniquely affecting throughout the song, her words lingering in the mix with a stirring resonance that beckons the need for pause amidst turmoil. Lyrics seem to draw from her personal well of inspiration and creation, with the search for belonging from Glen Hansard’s “Song Of Good Hope” subconsciously inspiring her lyric “I think I like my hometown\ But I can’t find a place to land.” Additionally, Meacham’s own song “Unknowing” appears to have planted the seeds for the association between residence and grief that propels “dream house,” as evidenced by the lyric “It’s something like breaking a lease\ Always some form of damage to pay” from the 2021 single.

Her timeless delivery adds a bittersweet touch of acceptance, delicately balancing the stifling heartache with a sense of resilience. The music swells with elegance, elevating what starts as a touching acoustic piece into a fully realized sound that captures the intricate emotions with care and grace. In the bridge, vocalizations swirl amidst a haze of uncertainty as Meacham navigates between wails and belts, bearing the emotional weight of the song with a blend of anger and sadness. This purifying section helps drive home the song’s closing moments, where acceptance and understanding somehow overcome melancholy, albeit still shaded by sorrow. As bold as Meacham often is in her opening moments, it’s in the closing passages of her songs where she delivers the most gripping moments, leaving a lasting impact, such as the final utterance of “if only dreams came true.”

Also looming in the background of the creation of this song were Meacham’s own hardships with her music career. Concurrent with these cancer diagnoses was the recording and release of Meacham’s debut full-length album, Into The Fray, released in March 2022. Highly acclaimed and regarded (as evidenced by its inclusion in the short list for the 2023 Newlin Music Prize), the album’s rollout was hindered by setbacks and realignment following lineup changes to her band, production delays, and other various hurdles. All the while, Meacham was also navigating what it means to be a full-time independent musician in today’s world, contending with inconvenient gigs and burdensome commissions to fund her own creative ventures.

In our 2023 article detailing this hardship, Meacham remarked, “I love making music and I’m really fortunate to have a job where this is what I can do. But it can also be really sad sometimes and those heartbreaks are still there even when you’re living your dream.” Sentiments like this give “dream house” not just a profound way to address loss, but the idea that dreams can betray you as well, something she beautifully conveys with the line “I think I found my dream house\ But the walls are caving in\ Like a project that won’t end.”

In the same article from 2023, Meacham reflected on her future output after closing the chapter on the exuberance of Into The Fray. “I’m writing songs that I know,” she said. “They are not Into The Fray. They have the hooks and the style I write in and all of that. But I’m not going to say the next batch of songs has any kind of through line of abject positivity. There’s definitely a little bit more of that realness and the acknowledgment that things are just sad sometimes, and they have been.”

“dream house” certainly lines up with this assessment, though Meacham may have sold herself short, as even in its melancholy, there persists lingering hope, a consolation that a different story does not always mean a worse one. Her ability to confront these lows with the same incisive artistry as she did the highs makes “dream house” a truly enduring recording. Future songs are likely to match, if not surpass, this lofty benchmark, a trend consistent with Meacham’s previous releases. For fans, both new and old, anticipation will surely run high for what comes next, as Meacham’s upcoming work promises to explore deeper emotional reckoning with the same comforting brilliance exhibited in “dream house.” Until then, there are countless truths and revelations to unravel from the intricacy of this song, making it one you’ll surely want to revisit countless times over. Just make sure you allow yourself the ability to fully feel its emotional power.

“dream house” will be released to all streaming platforms on Friday, April 5th and you can pre-save it now by clicking here. To stay up to date on more new music and upcoming shows, make sure to follow Tyler Meacham on social media by clicking here.


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