The latest songstress to hit the scene is Sydney, Australia’s Meg Mac. She has been compared to the powerhouse Adele after her performance at this year’s SXSW festival and is currently scheduled to open for D’Angelo in NYC on June 21 thus proving that she is poised to tackle the US music scene without batting an eyelash. Pancakes & Whiskey sat down with the artist to find out what makes a girl from “the land down under” tick.
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P&W: What do you think will be some of the major differences in the NYC music scene in comparison to the scene in Sydney?
MM: I guess that in Australia I started doing shows after my songs were being played on the radio so people coming to my shows already knew my music, and in America no one really knows my songs and stuff so I get a fresh audience every night and I have to make my first impression.
P&W: Is that important to you? Do you like to play off the live audience?
MM: I feel like all shows are different no matter what. If it’s a fresh audience and no one knows who you are, you can kind of make it unique, but there’s something really special about an audience who knows you. They laugh at all your jokes and it kind of takes the pressure off the performance.
P&W: When did you first realize music was your calling?
MM: It was when I started writing my own music that I realized it meant a lot more to me than just fun. It was writing not for any reason other than just to write and it made me feel better. I was studying something that I really didn’t enjoy and I decided I needed to do music.
P&W: Take me back to your first live performance.
MM: So I had done a few things but my first Meg Mac show was really scary…but we got through it. It was the first time I’d tried to put the track together live and I think my first show was meant to go for 20 minutes and it went only 16. It was only four songs and after that I realized I needed to add to my set.
P&W: You’re going to be opening up for D’Angelo on the 21st, how did that come about?
MM: Actually I have no idea how that happened, but I feel super lucky. I found out that it might happen a few weeks ago and I thought, “Yeah, it probably won’t happen,” but then I got here and found out that it was happening. I love his music.
P&W: What is something going on in the world that you’ve decided to translate into your music?
MM: Most of my songs are usually really selfish and about myself but the song, “Turning” on my EP is about a conversation I had with my mum and my sister about money and people getting inheritances. That brought on the topic of how money can change people, good people that you trust when money comes into it and how so many bad things in the world come from things having to do with money. Money is kind of turning the world and no one really realizes it.
P&W: Do you think music can be cathartic for an artist? Like something bubbling up from your subconscious you didn’t realize was there?
MM: Oh yeah, that happens to me all the time. I record a lot of things on my phone, even tiny little voice memos, and I use them when I’m writing. Recently I was going through some from when I was 18 and I was like, “Wow, that was really clever of 18 year old me.” And sometimes you don’t realize it when you’re writing it but afterwards you realize that you just said the real way you feel about something. The hardest part is finding the space to get into that moment. If you think about it too much, you won’t get anything to come out.
P&W: Where is your favorite space in the world to create?
MM: The piano at my parent’s house in Sydney. I have to be someplace that no one can hear me and that’s hard for me. But at my parent’s house with that piano I can go there and just write, usually with my dog there as well. It’s the piano I first started songwriting on. It’s not a fancy piano or anything but it’s my piano.
P&W: As a woman in music, what type of role model do you want to be?
MM: I’d want to be strong but nice. I always want to be nice to everyone but you need to be strong and stay true to what you believe in. And never be ashamed of what you are doing.
P&W: Is there a female musical role model from the past who has inspired you?
MM: I love Edith Piaf. She loved singing and she sang for the people. She would have loved to die singing. She sang because she had to.
P&W: And do you sing because you have to?
MM: I think even if no one was listening I would still sing.
Catch Meg Mac’s headlining show at Mercury Lounge on June 29.
Article: Hannah Soule