Emi Meyer has recruited quite the cast of co-collaborators for her latest album Galaxy’s Skirt — Priscilla Ahn harmonizes on a number of songs — but Brett Dennen’s appearance on “Black Sheep” is certainly a stand out appearance. While Dennen is traditionally a more folk-oriented songwriter than Meyer, the duo found middle ground in pop and pulled from their shared experiences as the black sheep of their respective upbringings: Dennen growing up as a small-town boy and Meyer stuck out of place as Japanese in America and American in Japan. But Dennen and Meyer embrace the differences with mutual admiration both in and on “Black Sheep,” sending recordings back and forth melding his guitar with her piano.
“We met up in LA and I explained I’d love to add an Afropop feel to this collaboration, like he did in Loverboy,” says Meyer, “so we vibed some guitar riffs and topics. Sometimes I feel like a “Black Sheep”: fitting in but also feeling like an outsider to the Japanese and American music scenes, and he could relate to that having grown up in a small town. So after I went home to Seattle, he sent me a verse with words on his guitar. I then added verses and lyrics and sent my piano version back from my iPhone. It was like being musical pen pals or adding parts to a painting, each time adding our own stylistic touches with words or chords. We repeated that again and had a full song. Brett couldn’t have been more supportive or inspiring to write with, and I am grateful I got to record with an artist I’ve admired since I started songwriting.”