It all started at the age of 4 when her dad put on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Isaac Stern’s version). According to her father, Mei Lin stopped in her tracks when she heard the violin. After processing these sounds for a minute, she exclaimed, “Dad! What is this?! I want you to play it all the time!” 

Mei Lin Heirendt (now 17) started violin at the age of 7 through the Suzuki Method. Alongside classical studies, her first teacher integrated a sprinkling of Mark O'Connor's violin books, so Mei Lin quickly learned traditional tunes like Soldier’s Joy and Angeline the Baker. Mei Lin played in the Music in the Mountains Youth Orchestra (MIMYO) for about 4 years and, in 2017, became the Concertmaster at just 12 years old. 

Shortly after completing book 4 of the Suzuki Method, Mei Lin transitioned mainly to bluegrass music. Growing up attending the California Bluegrass Association’s (CBA) annual Father’s Day Festival, she caught the bluegrass bug more and more each year. She has since been very involved in the CBA, now the current Youth Ambassador and social media coordinator, and former Regional Director. 

2018 brought forth a new project: Boston Ravine. This band was co-founded with her father, Robert Heirendt (guitar) and also included bassist Karl Chelette. Though Mei Lin had been performing for years, this band allowed her to perform bluegrass for the first time. Debuting to a sold out crowd at local venue Wild Eye Pub, Boston Ravine hit the ground running, playing various regional venues and private parties/weddings. The band also had a summer of festivals lined up (before the pandemic hit). In 2020, Mei Lin wanted to move on to other ventures, but that didn’t stop the band from closing out strong with the release of Ragged Road, a self-produced album featuring numerous originals, hard-driving traditional bluegrass songs, and soulful country ballads. 

In 2020, 2021, and 2022, Mei Lin was selected as one of thirty youth in the country to be a part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) "Kids On Bluegrass" program. Within that program, she was also one of only six to be selected to play at the IBMA Awards Show reception at the Duke Energy Center in Raleigh, NC. 

Currently, she is touring with Broken Compass Bluegrass (jamgrass quartet) and West 45 (traditional bluegrass). She released her debut solo single "Enough" in June of 2023. Folks can expect more original music to be released soon.

Aside from playing music, she enjoys running, graphic design, recording engineering, watching Star Wars, and eating waffles (the most important part of life).

photography by David Thuman