|How To Say Goodbye||
Biography: On March 15, 2012, the day after her mother passed away, Debbie Merkel’s father handed her a handwritten letter. It was a letter from her Mom … a message from heaven, so speak. In it, Merkel’s mother, Dawn Smith, shared her heartfelt thoughts and emotions … the things she wanted to leave with her daughter after her death … the letter written by Smith when she realized she would not be here on this earth much longer … would not be here to see her daughter’s musical dreams come true.
“Debbie…All I ever wanted for you was to be happy with your life,” Merkel read that day. Sometimes it takes a lot of soul searching but you will eventually find out what makes you happy. And you will never be a failure…”
Over the years, Merkel has struggled with many things, and often felt like a failure. Without her mother to cheer her on now, she felt even more lost. But then Merkel thought about what her Mom meant to her and she did what she hadn’t been able to do in a long, long time. She sat down and wrote a song. It was a song to her mother, to help heal her own grief, and to take a step forward toward fulfilling her musical aspirations—to do what her mother would have wanted her to do. She called it “How Do I Say Goodbye.”
Now less than a year later, that song is the second release from Merkel’s new album titled On Heaven’s Wings, and “How Do I Say Goodbye” is the first song from the album slated for release to country music venues, and Merkel is thrilled. “I’ve listened to country music as long as I can remember,” she says, “and to be welcomed and accepted by country music fans would be a dream come true.” Merkel’s own musical style has long been influenced by other female artists like The Judds, Faith Hill, and Martina McBride. “My dream would be to open for or perform with Martina McBride,” Merkel says.
From a very young age, music has featured prominently in Merkel’s life. She began singing at the age of 8 and has grabbed every opportunity to perform since, singing in churches and coffee houses locally, and becoming recognized regionally around her hometown of Merrill, Wisconsin. She took things to the next level when she was asked to perform the National Anthem before headliners like Joe Nichols and Sawyer Brown and started performing around the country, performing a combination of music by some of her favorite country artists and her own original work. In addition to singing, Merkel also writes many of her own songs. She writes with compassion and empathy, writing about “what I live and know and what others can relate to,” Merkel says.
Much of her music is inspirational and speaks to her strong Christian upbringing with songs that bring messages of hope and love. Most often, when prompted, Merkel would describe herself as a Christian recording artist. But that may just be because Merkel has been limiting herself. Her new record label, Musik and Film Records recognized that Merkel’s work, especially “How Do I Say Goodbye” would likely strike a chord with country fans. Who knows? Merkel may soon realize her dream of touring and opening for some of the headliners who have long inspired her. But regardless of where her musical career takes her from here, one thing is absolutely certain. Merkel’s Mom is looking down, and right now she’s pretty darn proud.
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