Better known by her stage name Meg Mac, Australian singer and songwriter Megan McInerney, has seemingly overnight, made her ascension into music superstardom. Having always used her voice as her primary mode of creativity and expression, the 25-year-old only began writing songs in her late teens, and it wasn't until she attened college that she began to explore her capacity for composition. As thoughts would flood her mind, melodies poured out, and ultimately, songs began to take shape - but for Meg Mac, an inherent and seamless ability to write a heart-stopping, chill-inducing ballad, pales in comparison to the fervid need to, a need that has become vital to her being as an artist.
Meg Mac has been compared to artist's like Adele, although more remindful of Duffy or Banks her melodic style is incomparable, with endearing modesty and a soft-spoken disposition, Meg Mac's innate talent transcends far beyond her 25 years.
With songs that infuse elements of R&B, Motown, and retro soul, Meg Mac has been taking the U.S. by storm. Having signed to 300 Entertainment, a label with an unparalleled ear for talent, Meg Mac has only released a handful of tracks but is currently in the final mixing phases of a highly anticipated debut album.
We caught up with Meg just before her impassioned performance at Governors Ball in NYC this Friday.
Lea Weatherby: Your name is Meg McInerney, was Meg Mac an obvious choice for you or is there more behind that moniker?
Meg Mac: Yes, my name is Megan McInerney but in Australia people say my name like, Meeegan, my names Megan, and then Meg Mac has kind of been my nickname anyway.
LW: What's your songwriting process like?
MM: I'm very private, I find it hard if people can hear me, I play piano and I sing and I like to just be in a room by myself
LW: What usually inspires the songwriting process for you? Are there certain subjects you find yourself writing about the most?
MM: Its usually stuff I'm just dealing with or things that I can't stop thinking about, which is usually related to the people around me, friends or family, the way I feel, it's very much about the way I feel and usually when I start writing, by the end of the song I've kind of worked it out and have a change of feeling or a change of attitude.
LW: Is that ever a difficult thing to approach creatively?
MM: No. It's the one way that I can say what I want, even if I don't use it, I'll just sit down and sing, even without words.
LW: So was music kind of the only desirable option for you?
MM Oh yeah. It's the one thing I have that's mine and I know that I can always have that and will always feel better about something if I sing about it, even if it's just for me.
LW So when did you start making music?
MM When I was 17 or 18, I just finished school and that's when I kind of discovered that you could make up your own songs. It sounds weird but it just never crossed my mind that I can write my own songs. I always loved singing but I never thought about where songs come from, so it was kind of a big discovery for me when I realized that I could be the first person who could ever sing a certain line before and I just got so obsessed with singing and making up my own way to sing. I went to Uni to study music and it was still a few years of coming out with these ideas, but they weren't songs and I wasn't working towards the goal of a song, I was just doing it without thinking about what it was for. Then I started actually piecing things together and writing full songs. The first song I recorded was "Known Better" and everything I'm doing now has just come from choosing to record that one song.
LW: That's a personal favorite of mine, but "Roll Up Your Sleeves" really changed things for you in terms of breaking out. What are those songs about for you?
MM: Yes, well "Known Better" isn't really about a boy, and I say the word boy in it, but every time I say the word it's meant to be a voice, a little voice inside my head, and I'm actually talking to myself. So that song's just about that feeling you get when you feel guilty, it kind of takes over and you think, I'm going to be a really good person, I'm not going to do this again so I won't have to feel this way again. But every so often, you find yourself back in that feeling and you always kind of knew that youd find yourself back there, in that guilt and regret. "Roll Up Your Sleeves" is more me talking to myself rather than being about myself, and sometimes I think that it's easier to ignore a situation or pretend that everything is fine rather than doing the harder thing, which is to confront someone, and by the end of the song I feel more empowered to do the right thing.
LW: For any artist, the identity that you adopt as a performer is kind of fascinating. When you step on stage how would you describe your identity as Megan McInerney versus Meg Mac?
MM:Probably confident, a lot more confident when I can sing and I can get lost in this world of performance.
LW: I feel like it's very common to be an introverted individual and extroverted as a performer. Do you feel like walking on stage is transformative for you in that respect?
MM: It's strange because I almost feel more comfortable in that situation when I'm singing. It feels more normal to me than a lot of the other stuff that I end up doing with my job. It's just good because I can say exactly what I want because it's a song, and because its music, it kind of happens in this setting that's not real and in that way, I guess I can be real because it's not real.
LW: So you're going to be doing Gov Ball this weekend and you've toured all over the world, is there anything about performing in New York that feels special?
MM: I haven't performed in New York for ages and it feels like a cool festival to be a part of. I've definitely spent the most time here out of everywhere and I have a couple friends that live in New York so they make me feel more at home. When I do a show here, my friends can come, I think if you spend enough time places it becomes that way.
LW: How do you feel about touring?
MM: It's really fun but last year in America, I did some support tours and that was my first time going on a real tour, driving and playing shows. When you're in Australia you fly everywhere because you can't drive and it's spread out over time, it's not crammed in day after day driving to different cities, so being in America feels like my real experience of touring and I thought it would be harder but it feels like you get more fit and more into it and when it ends you feel like you don't want it to.
LW: Is there something you've been wanting to experiment with technically or lyrically?
MM: Absolutely. So I just finished recording my first album a couple of weeks ago, so it's been a long time coming, and they're kind of all my first songs and some of them were written around the time I've been doing everything I've been doing with music. I'm not trying to plan it, but I'm already excited to see what my new thing is going to be because I'll get obsessed with something soon and you can kind of look back at what you have done and feel like it's not as good as what you're going to do.
LW: That's really exciting, any ideas on the release date and what's coming up next for you?
MM: Not yet, we're still working on all the mixing and everything, I hope it can come out at soon as possible. Tomorrow Im doing Gov Ball and then I have to fly to Toronto straight away and that'll be my first performance in Canada and then I head back home and work on the album and get it ready for people to start listening.