Alternative R&B singer Mallory Merk has signed to Warner Records through a partnership with Field Trip Records, Billboard has learned today (Dec. 8).
The Lousiana-born, NYC-raised wunderkind made her modeling debut with Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 2 zine when she was just 14, before being tapped for Rihanna’s premiere Fenty Beauty campaign. After gaining further attention with her cover of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” in 2016, Merk seriously began to pursue her musical career and signed to Field Trip Records in 2019, the fledgling record label helmed by L.A.-based DJ, club promoter and influencer Zack Bia and his business partner James Canton.
“Since becoming a part of my family at Field Trip, I have grown as an artist and, more importantly, as a person. I am inspired by this new journey with my Warner team and how we will make a positive impact together through music,” Merk tells Billboard.
Under Field Trip Records, Merk released her debut EP Strangers on Oct. 9 with help from record producer Dan Farber (Lizzo’s “Tempo”). The seven-song project finds her groove between alt-R&B and guitar-driven pop and unearths her coming-of-age truths about sobriety and isolation; Merk admitted herself into an institution for drug rehabilitation shortly before her new Los Angeles home entered lockdown mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rather than glamorizing drug abuse in her music, the “Fresh Out” singer cuts through the anvil chorus and expresses her lingering pain to her Gen-Z and A-list audience, including the likes of Kendall Jenner and Odd Future’s Taco.
“Mallory has a voice and story to tell that cuts through the clutter. One listen to the demos that Gunner Safron and Miles Gersh on my A&R team shared with me made it clear that Mallory was an unbelievably special raw talent that just needed a platform,” says Warner Records CEO and co-Chairman Aaron Bay-Schuck in a statement. “Her relationships and support from and within the artist and influencer community alike demonstrate that even early in her career, Mallory’s reach is significant. Zack and James at Field Trip are the perfect partners who expertly understand how to break an artist in 2020 and beyond.”
“We wanted a home where Mallory could create her unique vision. Aaron and the team at Warner were excited from the jump to help nurture her unique talent,” add Bia and Canton. “We’re also extremely grateful to be working with close friends of ours Gunner Safron and Miles Gersh who spearhead this project for us internally. This partnership is special because it allows both Field Trip Records and Warner to come together to amplify Mallory’s creative vision and progress her music. We couldn’t be happier.”
Merk has also unveiled the music video for “Strangers,” which takes her on a solo trip around a particularly grim and gritty NYC. “The ‘Strangers’ video was made to visualize your past self haunting a new relationship and the way your old self can’t be escaped but rather embraced to maybe find new love,” Merk says.
Get a first look at the “Strangers” music video below.