If you’re looking for a fresh single to add to your playlist this spring, the ethereal and energized song “Everett Park” is all you need! Christine Meisenhelter, who is also known by the moniker “Mistine,” is an upcoming singer-songwriter from New Jersey who is releasing her debut single “Everett Park” on March 24th. Christine is a dedicated musician who has been on tour with Conan Gray, WizTheMc, and more recently, Zeph. In an interview with Fever Dream Zine, Christine delves into the inspiration for her relatable new single, describes her upcoming EP, and explores what it means to be an artist.
When did you start working on the single “Everett Park?” And what was your inspiration for it?
I started working on the single last fall. My inspiration for it was that I really wanted to write a song that felt full circle. It was about a park that I really loved that I had a beginning and an ending in. I had met someone there and it also ended there. It felt like a place that meant a lot for something very small, but was still something I really loved.
The song came out of a place from wanting to write a song that was about reinventing memories and not letting a bad memory of a place make you feel like you can’t go back. I hate when people are like “Oh I don’t want to go there. That’s where I used to go with this friend and we’re not friends anymore.” I wanted to be like “I still like the park. I can still go there and make new memories with my friends and enjoy it in a new way.”
So, you have an EP coming out in the foreseeable future. What prompted you to choose “Everett Park” as your debut single?
I think “Everett Park” is the most all-encompassing. It feels like genre-wise it has a little bit of every song on the EP. Also, I think it makes me feel the most when I listen to it, which is not what I expected when I wrote it. It just kind of felt right. I feel most confident putting this song out first because I think people will resonate with the meaning and it has a unique voice.
What is your songwriting process like? Are you someone who starts with lyrics or music?
Kind of both at the same time. I wrote this song with my dear friend Jamison. He was one of my college roommates and we're still friends and we've written other songs together in the past. We started this one on zoom, it was mid-pandemic, and he was working on a track. I remember we wrote part of the first verse and chorus and then we kind of felt stuck. I had walked through the park that day and later that night I had so many ideas that I put them all down and sent them to him. And then we finished it off.
It seems like “Everett Park” describes an emotional yet happy experience. On the topic of emotions, how do you describe the relationship between music and mental health?
I think that music has saved me so many times because it makes me feel seen. There’s so many different songs and they all make me feel a different way and have different meanings. My favorite thing is when the song kind of has a sad meaning but feels happy. It reminds me that not everything is black and white. Not everything has to be the way it is. There’s always a positive to everything and a negative. But, also it helps pull me out of it while also feeling really connected to the meaning. It’s like “I fully get why I’m upset but at the same time it’s kind of lifting my mood because I feel seen and it feels good.”
Also, I feel that as writers, writing helps to feel very spiritual - like you get it on paper, you put it in a song and it feels real. It helps you get it out so you can move on too. Sometimes I write a song and I’m like “wow I didn’t know I needed to write that today.” It feels good to listen to it and be like “that’s exactly how I feel.” Up until now, maybe a different song didn’t fully encompass “that feeling;” but, listening to the song I just made is exactly how I feel. And then I feel, yet again, acknowledged.
You describe “Everett Park” as a song that will have listeners singing in the car with their best friends. What are some artists you have been blasting in the car recently? And furtherly, are there any artists who have helped shape your voice?
I love The 1975, they’re my favorite. I always listen to them in the car, they’re the perfect band to listen to while in the car. And I really love Maggie Rogers and Paramore - like that whole indie-rock pop genre.
Artists that have shaped me over time… Growing up my favorite band was Aerosmith which I’m sure plays a big role in everything I write. But yeah, Aerosmith, Green Day, Heart, Led Zeppelin, and all of them. They definitely made me want to make modern rock versions of songs.
You attended USC’s Thornton School of Music, do you feel that living and studying in LA impacted the directions of your career at all? Or did it not have any effect?
I think it definitely impacted everything because I was planning on going to school for pre-med in Vermont. I definitely would have done a very different thing with my life. I didn’t really think that music was a career that people did. You know, I kind of felt like it was something that happened to you and not something that you actively went after. Going to USC made me believe in myself, my music, and my career as a musician. Being in the city helped me make a lot of friends in the business and to get called to auditions which led to gigs. I wrote this song with one of my best friends from college, so I feel like it all adds up over time.
Describe your upcoming EP!
This upcoming EP is something I imagine you listen to in your car, at sunset, with the windows down and your friends screaming the lyrics in the backseat. When I hear the songs, I imagine myself driving to the beach or to get ice cream. It feels ethereal, it's kind of like the romanticism of driving at sunset. But also it has a lot of energy. It’s got some synths in it, it’s guitary.
What is your favorite part about being a singer / songwriter?
I think just being able to have a voice. I feel a lot of other jobs and other parts of the industry don’t get to have their own voice. I think a lot of it is advocating for another artist, another business, or something else. You’re working for someone else and as a singer / songwriter, you work for you. You can work for other artists as well, which I have done, but it's not the same thing because you’re bringing their vision to life. Which is magical, but it is not your vision and not your exact voice. It’s a way to just tell people who you are without having to talk to them. To feel connected to someone else and something that is so much larger than yourself because we’re just living in small rooms. It’s a way to connect to people all over the world when you may not have the money to travel and see the world. Especially as a smaller artist you can connect with people that you probably can’t even tour to go see - you can meet them in the middle with music.
What inspires you? And do you have a cure for writer’s block?
I think a lot of this EP was inspired by connections with other people. Things that most inspire me overall are how we connect with others and why. I’m very fascinated with why you just click with someone and not someone else when they may seem very similar. But, there’s a chemical process going on as well. There’s that “x-factor.” That really inspires me - like what is that and why?
I’m also really inspired by the Earth and a lot of the things in the world that aren’t really the way they should be like how we got here and how we can make the planet better, our society better. Which is something I struggle with writing about because I get overwhelmed because those are such grand problems. That’s something that I’m working on now.
When I’m not inspired, there’s multiple things that I do. Sometimes when I start writing and nothing’s working, I’ll just leave. I’ll just go take my dogs on a walk or go watch a movie with my friends or family and come back to it the next day. I think space can create a lot of inspiration. I also think a lot of writer’s block is just cured by living - like just go somewhere, do something, call someone. If I feel like there’s nothing in my life to write about I call my friend Bella and I listen to her talk about some boy problem and then I write her a song. I think it’s really cool because music can be inspired by the smallest feeling or the biggest thing. It could be anything. Sometimes if I don’t feel like I know how to write a song, I’ll just write poetry. I’ll just write things in my journal in prose. Honestly they never really turn into songs. Sometimes writing random thoughts creates new thoughts.
What can we expect for the future of Mistine?
The future of Mistine… I’m going to put out the EP and merch and videos and an acoustic version of one of the songs on the EP. I think my goal is to release more things afterwards, when the time comes. I’m not a big fan of artists putting out tons and tons of music all the time because I feel that although we all write tons of music, it doesn’t always feel authentic. There’s songs that mean a lot to me and then there’s songs that are just fillers. It’s important to me to be intentional with everything that I write and put out into the world. I would love to open for someone this year or go on an opening run on tour, play with other artists, play these songs with other people, and bring this project to life.
Is there anything else you want people to know? Any advice for other singer / songwriters?
If they are singer / songwriters, I want them to know that music is hard and it is not as beautiful as everyone makes it seem when you go to a show. It’s a lot of hard work and that just means that you can’t give up, you have to keep going and keep doing it and you have to want it. Also, not all music has to be commercial and you can always make music for yourself and you don’t have to feel pressured by anyone to put it out. You can make it for yourself or as many people as you want, just do it. If it feels good, it’s good - that’s so important.
And about the song - I guess I just want people to feel empowered. Although a place can haunt you it doesn’t mean it has to forever. You can change the narrative at any time and with anyone. You just have to go for it and go back and make new memories and move forward because there’s so much life to live. There’s no time and space to let someone haunt you forever. Also, Everett Park is a real place, you can go there!
Listen to their latest music: EVERETT PARK