After summer ends

Ever since I was little, I had watched movies and heard songs that describe this dreamy, picturesque summer romance; this incredible young love that ends in heartbreak right before high school returns. I have never experienced anything like this, but I have always admired the idea of something so beautiful coming to an end so suddenly, and I have always wanted to understand how it feels to go from 100 to nothing so quickly. As a songwriter, I observe the world around me and draw inspiration from everything I see, and then write about it in a way that helps me understand my life. Even when I write songs about events or feelings that I have never experienced, I draw from other aspects of my life to make what I’m writing about feel more real.

Me watching my producer Chris playing live drums for my track :))
Me watching my producer Chris playing live drums for my track :))

This is how I wrote After Summer ends.

I wrote After Summer Ends, what would later become my debut single, on the 18th of January 2021. I had a mentoring session with Francesca De Valence not long before I wrote the song where she gave me the idea to try open G tuning on my guitar. I was still fairly new to playing the guitar at the time, having only taught myself less than a year ago (and I’d never had a guitar lesson before) so I was jumping at the idea of being able to learn a new skill on the guitar.

I vividly remember sitting down to write, feeling the summer vibe around me and wanting to write something catchy. I googled some chord shapes for open G and played around until I had a variation that felt airy and warm. Over time that chord progression has evolved and changed, but it still has the same vibes as the day I wrote it. I kept thinking to myself as I was coming up with lyrics “C’mon, you can write a catchy song” because I honestly don’t feel like I write a lot of catchy songs. I kept trying to think of ways to mix up my writing from other songs I had written, and when I randomly sung “i i i” I was SO HAPPY. To this day I still get so excited when I hear that hook because even though it’s so simple, I am pretty proud of it.

This song is always going to be a particular favourite of mine because it was the first song I ever wrote in open G tuning, and I don’t write in that tuning style often at all. I will also always love it because I think it captures that feeling right before goodbye; that hopeless feeling right before heartbreak; that desperation to hold onto what you have built. It’s a catchy heartbreak song, which is something I had never written before (my songwriting specialty is really sad piano ballads lol).

A photo from my last recording session for After Summer Ends in January 2022
A photo from my last recording session for After Summer Ends in January 2022

When I got into the studio to record some songs with Chris Wilson, I had a really clear idea of what I wanted my debut single to be. I wanted it to be perfect because you can only do a debut single once, and let me tell you, After Summer Ends was not the song I had in mind. On my first day of recording, I recorded a completely different song that I had chosen to be my debut single for MONTHS. The second recording session I had was when I recorded After Summer Ends, originally planning for it to be a second or third single. I recorded a few more songs before needing to choose which one to finish for release, and I wasn’t sold on my original debut song anymore.

One day before going into the studio, my mum said to me “Kaiyah, I have a bit of a controversial opinion but I need you to hear me out. I think After Summer Ends should be your first single” and I was so happy she said that because I had been thinking the exact same thing. It was a clear choice as soon as I recorded it, and when I told my producer he said he had been thinking the same thing but didn’t want to say so. We were all in agreement and it was the perfect choice.

Over the 2021-2022 summer holidays, I was planning my single release, working, hanging out with friends, occasionally studying and doing performance practice almost every day (plus watching Dickinson because it’s now my favourite show ever). I was multitasking like an absolute pro, and I can tell you that as I’m writing this, on the 17th of January 2022, I am so incredibly excited for next month. The single comes out on the 11th of February, in LESS THAN A MONTH!!!! I am working my butt off trying to make my debut single something really special, and I cant wait for you all to hear it.

After Summer Ends is a song about goodbyes, but for me it’s the start of everything.

~ flash forward to the 26th of February 2022 ~

It has now been just over two weeks since After Summer Ends was released and I honestly can’t even begin to describe how incredibly happy I have been. This song has really gone places, places I never even dreamt of it going. It had radio play on multiple stations before it was released, it has now had radio play all across Australia, I have had INTERNATIONAL RADIO PLAY in Europe and the United States (omg?!?!?!), I have played my first festival, had radio interviews, press interviews, and thousands of streams from all over the world. I genuinely can’t thank you all enough.

To every person who has listened to my song, everyone who has showed a friend, anyone who came to watch me perform at Frankston Waterfront Festival, and anyone who has supported me in any way, I am so incredibly thankful for you. This is a dream come true. This proves that hard work pays off, but the people who support you make a world of difference too.

Stay tuned over the next few months for some other stuff that is totally not obvious what it is. Totally.

I love you <3

Kaiyah Mercedes