words by troy davis
There’s moments when listening to new music where a specific lyric really hits home for you. Maybe it resonates on some personal level (a la every Adele song ever). Maybe it’s just a super catchy lyric you can’t get out of your head (a la every Kesha song ever). That said, it’s hard to find a song that really can do both.
Enter: Australian artist Meg Mac. Most Americans discovered Meg when her single “Roll Up Your Sleeves” got featured in a pivotal moment on the hit HBO series GIRLS. The emotionally uplifting song came equipped with powerhouse lyrics and a highly singable hook (“Everything is gonna be alright!”). Meg’s musical trajectory has only gone up, leading her to release her first full length album to some serious critical acclaim.
I got in touch with Meg to talk about her new record, Low Blows, and to pick her brain about her musical inspiration.
Hey Meg! Thanks so much for talking with me! First of all, what’s the process like when you find out a song is being featured in a TV show?
GIRLS was a special one because I had watched the show since it came out, I knew all the characters so well. So when I watched that episode and you see Hannah walking down the street and my song is in the background it was a cool experience.
Many of your songs speak of personal empowerment. What pushed you to make this the message of so many of your songs?
I guess I am unintentionally writing what I need myself. I started out accidentally songwriting to make myself feel better, it was like I had to do it and that hasn't ever changed.
You mention a lot how important it is to you for the vocal on your record to be live and unedited. What caused you to make this decision to go live / unedited?
Yeah, I wanted it to feel real. Like you’re with me when you’re listening to the album. The feeling I get from a live show when I am singing live is so special and I wanted to get that same feeling when making the album. So that meant every now and then you’re hearing me completely live and unedited, mistakes and all. It was important to me.
Listening to your new release, it seems to chronicle a story of facing those who’ve hurt you and being better for it. I’d love to hear about some of your personal growth in response to writing this record.
There's a song called “Didn’t Wanna Get So Low But I Had To” and that’s a song where I definitely figured out that sometimes you have to get low to figure out the way forward.
“Don’t Need Permission” is a personal favorite from the new record, mostly because of the simplicity yet power behind the lyric “Gotta be selfish”. Can you speak a little on the importance of being selfish for your own good, regardless of how it’s perceived?
It’s confusing sometimes when you want to stand up for what you believe in, you really aren't being selfish at all. It’s others that make you feel that way about it.
“Brooklyn Apartment” is a standout on the album; as a girl from Australia, what inspired you to write about New York?
In between touring and everything I was doing in America I would stay in an apartment in Brooklyn. I’d not lived by myself in a flat before, been a part of one big building with lots of people crammed in. I could hear my neighbours and started to really listen and start telling someone else’s story. It was different to what I knew and that’s what inspired me.
Follow up question: Do you prefer to create music in a place like Brooklyn (hustle and bustle) or somewhere more reflective and quiet?
There's nothing like going back to my piano at home after being away but I like writing all over the place. Different things can happen in the car, in an unfamiliar place, or when you’re trying to be quiet and secretive - it’s all good.
What can we expect next? Will we see you in Chicago someday soon? :)
I am about to head out on my Australian tour and I really hope I will be back in Chicago doing a show soon!