Navigating the Currents: Songwriter ‘Meekoh’ Reveals How He Survived Filming on One of Oregon’s Most Powerful Rivers

Photo Courtesy of Jaime Burgos | @venumskmz

For singer/songwriter Meekoh, filming his latest music video “From the River” was one of the most dangerous experiences he’s ever had – but worth every freezing moment.

In an exclusive interview with CelebMix, Meekoh revealed three challenges that he overcame as a rising musician that helped shape him into the artist he is today. 

Back in July, Meekoh released the highly anticipated music video for his latest single “From the River,” which was filmed by a drone while the musician was floating on wild rapids across the river in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. “I used to live right behind that river for years; there is just nothing like it to me. 

CelebMix: Had you been down to the river before?

Meekoh: I used to go there all the time with my guitar to write songs or just to enjoy its beauty. So it felt pretty amazing to come full circle and make something so special in a place that held such wonderful memories in my heart.

He added:

“I always had this visual in my head that I would be floating down a wild river in slow-motion, performing this song,” Meekoh told CelebMix. “I felt like not only would it be a beautiful concept, but the symbolism behind it was also perfect for the song itself. So I pitched the idea to my business partner and friend, Daniel Cloud Campos (Collidoscope) and the rest is history.”

Describing the filming and production of the music video, Meekoh said this was “by far one of the craziest things” he had ever experienced. “I had no idea where the river was going to take me, which made it pretty difficult at times to get the right shot on the drone. It was just a couple of friends and I trying to make something beautiful, with no money and a drone. I think it turned out rather nice.”

Something most fans may not have realized, is that the second half of the “From the River” music video was shot in Leo Carrillo Beach, which is near Malibu. “Needless to say, this was a much better experience than the first few days of filming on the river! It was the perfect way to cap off the beautiful journey this song deserved; having my fiance by my side made it that much better, considering this song was written for her.”

“From the River,” according to Meekoh, was originally written as a wedding song for the musician’s future wife, Chandler Rayne.

“We come from two very different worlds, yet somehow we still found our way to one another,” he confessed. “I am the wild river, full of twists and turns, and she is the deep blue, beautiful sea that is always waiting for me. I love her so much and cannot wait to marry her next month!”

CelebMix: You’ve talked about how the music video came about, but what can you tell us about your actual experience floating and filming on the rapids, while you were performing the song on the guitar?

Meekoh: The water was ice cold, as it came directly from the top of snow-capped mountains. It literally stole my breath and soul away as soon as I took that plunge into the powerful current. I knew right away that my biggest fears were far beyond the ice cold water, as soon as the current swept me off my feet and immediately pulled me down the river. 

I tried my best to avoid boulders the size of trucks, but as you can see in the video, it was near impossible. I had to keep my ankles and tail bone up high because I knew if I hit one rock, I was done for. Normally, I would also be afraid of the deadly under-toe, but all I could think about was how my guitar would immediately fill with water and pull me down – like a 100lb weight.

Almost every single shot taken, was me trying my best to look directly into a drone that was usually flying right in front of the sun, while singing to ZERO playback at double speed in my head for slow motion – while trying not to hurt myself in one of Oregon’s most powerful rivers. Looking back, it all sounds pretty crazy, but it was honestly one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever been through – worth every freezing moment!

Navigating the Currents

From discovering his own sound to being forced into quarantine, Meekoh has had a long, difficult journey which he has continued to overcome. 

“Finding my own sound as an artist was a long and difficult journey,” he said. “As a lover of all forms of music, I found it extremely difficult to stick to just one specific genre or sound. However, in the past couple of years, I finally found myself and can honestly say I’m a fan of what I do. I love myself and truly enjoy making music from my heart; the kind of music that makes people feel something.”

#1 – Defining “The Moment”

However, being a small, rising indie artist also comes with its own hardships and pain.

“It’s easy to look at more successful artists and question if you’re even good enough. I started feeling depressed because I would work so hard on something, and only have a few people looking at it on social media. It’s just so easy to slip into a dark place, because you start to think that the people around you don’t care. But that’s just not true. It’s the big lie we’ve learned to tell ourselves, because of our inability to love ourselves and appreciate life the way it was intended to be lived.”

While Meekoh hopes to eventually chart on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, those goals no longer consume his mind – “it’s definitely not what gives me joy in this life; I just feel blessed that I am able to do what I do for a living.”

Back in 2003, Meekoh attributes his stand-out moment where music chose him, to one Sunday where he attended church with his friend Bryce Johnson. 

He recalled his experience to CelebMix:

“At the time, I was living with Bryce and his family. They had one rule – so long as I was staying with them, I had to go to church with them every Sunday. Usually, I would just go with hopes of meeting a cute Christian girl, or to hang with Bryce…but then as one Sunday came around, it changed my life forever.

I was sitting in the back of the church during worship service and was completely captivated by the worship leader, Scott. There was just something so magical about what he was doing and I felt so overwhelmed with a feeling I can’t really explain. 

I was just so transfixed on the guitar he was playing and how all the music just came to life. As soon as the service ended, I ran to the front of the stage and asked Scott if I could play his guitar. I’m not really sure why I asked him that question, but it was the first time in my life I felt this strongly about something. 

He looked down at me from the stage and with a huge smile said, ‘of course!’ He bent down and handed me this beautiful Jumbo body Honor acoustic. It was like when Harry Potter found his wand for the first time. I looked back up at Scott and said… ‘how do I play it?’  

He chuckled and told me to take it home and that I could bring it back to him whenever I’m done learning. I was so shocked and honestly couldn’t believe that someone could do something so nice. 

That very same night I went back to the Johnson’s home where I was living and learned my first few chords and wrote my very first song. I guess it was just meant to be.”

#2 – The COVID-19 Pandemic

Perhaps one of the most exciting things for most artists as the COVID-19 pandemic began to loosen its grip on us, was the ability to return to live performances. “Hands down, LIVE SHOWS; I miss them so much! I can’t wait for the pandemic to just go away, so I can get back on stage and rock again.”

Yet, Meekoh and his family were not immune to the effects the pandemic has had upon us. 

“My soon-to-be-wife, Chandler, has a rare and deadly disease – Cystic Fibrosis. It’s an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs, digestive system, and other organs in the body. We had no choice but to leave Los Angeles and stay in a small cottage in the gold mining town of Jacksonville, Oregon. This was a scary time for us all, as we tried to navigate what this pandemic was and how our world was about to change.”

As Meekoh and his fiancé were making their way to Oregon, he had also just started his newest project, “The Sun EP,” which he was able to finish writing and recording from a makeshift studio in their little cottage. It was a crazy experience trying to work with the other musicians using Zoom to come up with ideas and finish sessions. My dear friend Jim McMillen would bring in the string and horn players one at a time with days in between to isolate and abide by the quarantine rules. Everyone did an incredible job and I’m proud to say we kicked this pandemic’s butt on this project!”

#3 – Maintaining a Personal Brand

CelebMix: How would you describe your personal brand?

Meekoh: Everything I do has to come from my heart. My music has to be something I love and feel passionate about. My visuals are the bridge from my artistry to my fans. Both of these things must always come from a very real and genuine place. 

Right now, I just feel deeply rooted in nature and storytelling. So I love finding ways to share the beauty of the Pacific Northwest along with whatever else my imagination can come up with! Overall I’m just a normal guy just like everyone else and hope people feel that.

CelebMix: How do you separate yourself from other artists in your genre?  

Meekoh: I have always felt like my voice and song writing style is just so different then anything else I’ve ever heard. I’m just myself and I try my best to make music that resonates within my own soul. 

CelebMix: How do you want to be known amongst your colleagues?

Meekoh: As a nice guy who always tried to put others before himself. Someone who is loved and respected as a human and as an artist. 

CelebMix: How did the pandemic affect this, if at all?  

Meekoh: It made me stronger honestly. I learned to love and appreciate everything in my life. Nothing is ever too big or too small. It’s all just a gift and we can enjoy it however we choose. 

What’s Next?

As for Meekoh’s future, he plans on touring again very soon looking to perform at intimate house shows and venues across America. His next single “Coming Home” releases September 3, followed by the full EP release on October 29, 2021. 

You can follow Meekoh on Instagram at @Meekoh and his website here.

Written by Andrew Rossow

A licensed attorney by day and a Hollywood branding agent and journalist by night, Andrew Rossow is a Staff Writer at CelebMix, looking for stories that help empower rising and established artists, actors, and actresses, while advocating against bullying throughout the industry through his #CYBERBYTE Movement.