Meghann Wright is a Hawaiian native and now a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter who’s music is soulful and will capture it’s listener for being both emotionally charged and extremely catchy. Not only is Meghann alluring with her singer-songwriting abilities but she is also a striving DIY artist, an ethic which has caught the attention of not only fans but also the music industry. Meghann’s style is truly unique, embracing qualities of female singers who have paved the way in the past; this includes qualities like the bluntness of Amy Winehouse, the strength and presence of Sheryl Crow and the husky soul of Janis Joplin. Meghann is not only a musician, but also a helping hand to her community of fellow underground female singer-songwriters , something we believe makes her worthy of being an artist you should know.
Born in Hawaii, her sudden move to Brooklyn, NY was a learning experience which allowed her to grow musically and take in the city as her own. She can be caught playing along with metal bands one night and with the indie/folk rock scene the next. Most of her music is inspired by her adopted hometown of Brooklyn and her struggle inspired her to build a supportive network for female NYC based singer-songwriters called The City & The Heart. Meghann works hard as a DIY artist to build herself and give back to her craft and her city. We had a very special opportunity to speak with Meghann on touring, music, her upbringing and her organization.
TSL: I know you’ve recently played Vans Warped Tour, can you tell me a little bit about your experience? As a soft rock singer, how did you feel playing at a festival known to cater to the metalcore genre?
Meghann: Well back when it first started, (Vans Warped Tour) used to be predominantly punk and indie rock centric. I grew up listening to punk rock, hardcore, indie rock and eventually metal, and even though the tour has changed over the last couple of decades I think a lot of people in my generation have kind of gone through an evolution in their music taste and in the music that they make. Even though I would say that everybody in the acoustic basement stage does not fall into the same category of music and they don’t hold any specific genre, I think it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty similar and we grew up listening to bands like Bad Religion, The Rancids and got into hardcore metal and stuff like that. So we’re just kind of the older generation I guess, but for most of us we wouldn’t consider ourselves soft rock either, because we’re singer-songwriters we span across quite a few different genres. But because you know its the acoustic basement stage its kind of like a nice intimate experience when you get to just be with a singer and their guitar and not have a bunch of whole other instruments playing, so can actually get a chance to look at their stories and be that much closer to their art.
TSL: You’ve recently released your first full-length album titled Nothing Left To Lose. What was the inspiration for the albums content and what is the story behind the albums name?
Meghann: That’s a good question! (Laughs) Mostly.. mostly, it was inspired by personal life events, things that I was going through over the last couple of years, you know between changing relationships and changing jobs, and moving and doing stuff like that, you know humans experience a wide range of emotions and different relationships with people and it’s always been a goal of mine to be able to write music that not only is hard for me and expressive for me, but also is accessible to a listener where they can project whatever they want into a song and kind of make it their own. As far as the title goes, it’s kind of like a joke between me and a couple of other people, uhm, a couple of tours back, I lost my phone and my wallet and my boyfriend all on the same tour (laughs) and then on the following tour, I lost my job because I guess my touring schedule was hectic and they didn’t want to deal with it anymore and then when I decided to go on Warped Tour, I decided to not renew the lease on my apartment so I wouldn’t have to pay rent while I was on tour, so I didn’t even have a place to live, really. So it was kind of like, literally giving up everything I have just to make music and follow my dreams.
TSL: You really embrace the whole DIY approach, and pretty much everything you’ve accomplished has been as a result of something that you put together. How difficult has it been for you as a musician, and not just a musician, but a female musician to take matters into your own hands and put yourself out there like that?
Meghann: Well I wouldn’t say that it is difficult, I think anyone can do it regardless of their sex, social standing, orientation. I think that we can be faced with all kinds of different challenges, no one person is the same but if you’re really truly passionate about something and you’re motivated, and you have a good attitude towards challenges, I think you can accomplish anything you want to. I will say, yes, as a single woman in the music industry it comes with its own box of challenges, but, I think that what I said you know, if you feel that you’re up to the challenge, then you can do it. And you will find people in your way at times and you’ll be your own person in your life sometimes. You’ll get disenchanted with the work or sometimes you face depression, things don’t work out the way that you want them to but I think it’s important to try to talk to other people about what you’re going through and that’s kind of why I started this organization called The City & The Heart which is basically this supportive community for independent female singer-songwriters in New York. I feel that if you have that sort of network and some people you can reach out to when you need something or when you just want to talk or if you need advice or whatever, I think that sort of thing is really important. And I think groups like that exist, maybe not quite the same as mine, but I know there’s all kinds of support groups for anybody in the world for whatever you need as long as you look for it and you feel comfortable asking for help, that’ll help you a lot.
TSL: So you developed this organization called The City & The Heart for female singer-songwriters, was it as a result of you going through something hard? For example struggling as you said in the music scene and you felt like you needed support or how did the idea come about?
Meghann: Yeah and like, when I was doing it at 15.. I guess I have a different perspective now looking back on it, but, when I first came to New York I was alone. You know, I didn’t have any real friends or family here and all I knew was that I wanted to pursue a career in music, I didn’t even know exactly what I wanted to do yet. I wasn’t like, setting out to be a singer-songwriter cause I know, I’ve been in hardcore bands and metals bands and indie rock bands but I was never a songwriter and I was never a singer. I always played like guitar or bass or saxophone or something. So yeah, I didn’t really know what I was doing, I came out here and I got hired to play bass for other bands on stage or do other work, like session work or playing for people. Then I started playing open mic nights just kind of for fun and to see if maybe I could make a few bucks on the side or something, and then I just of like started meeting more and more people who had kind of the same stories. I mean, not just women, men too. And then we just kind of formed our own little community, and over a couple of years I started to want to do more than just that, women would come up to me and be like “Hey, I just moved here, I know you’ve been here for a couple of years and someone said you’re a good contact for booking shows” or like “Hey do you know where I can record my demo?” and stuff like that. I was just really impressed by all of these women’s drive and their talent, their devotion to their craft, so I decided it would be cool to start an organization. So we started hosting showcases and putting out a couple of compilation records and now we do fundraising for Safe Horizon, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence so you can stream our compilation albums for free on Sound Cloud or Band Camp but, if you want to donate, you can download them on Band Camp and all proceeds go to Safe Horizon.
TSL: Where can we find these showcases that you put together? Where can we find out when these showcases are held?
Meghann: Well unfortunately because I toured so much this year I wasn’t able to put any together, but I’m hoping to work with Safe Horizon and put one together for the holidays because a lot of people need help during that time. So we’re going to do our best to have one either by the end of November or early December.
TSL: You grew up in Hawaii, what inspired you to move out here and launch into the music scene?
Meghann: Well I moved to the main land for college originally and I studied video production but ever since I was a little kid, my passion has always been in music. I’ve always played music my whole life and I guess after college I had jobs here and there, I had a couple of really nice office jobs where I was making good money but I found myself always spending all my time and money doing my bands. So I was just like “Why am I putting all this passion into this thing and not making it my 100% focus?” So then I decided, hell, I’m just gonna go for it.
TSL: The main goal of The Sound Live is to promote the underground scene in NYC, do you have any advice to other aspiring musicians in the scene?
Meghann: Well there’s three pieces of advice, these are three things that I did:
1) I would say, be as devoted to your craft as you can. Always be writing, always be recording, always be playing out – especially if you’re new. And there’s plenty of places in the city that you can play for free, you don’t even have to do an open mic or anything.
2) Network as much as possible and that means going to events, you know, talking to people, even if you don’t meet anybody high up in the music industry you just need more people who are doing the same thing as you and you can learn from them even if they’re different than you and have different jobs as you. You can even collaborate with them, like say you write a couple of songs with a friend and you record them and put it out, who knows? Make sure you have a lot of stuff online, make sure you cover all your social media bases. It all kind of goes into network so that you’re always out there doing something, meeting people and sharing your craft.
3) Always believe in yourself because there is going to be plenty of times in your life where you are literally the only person that believes in anything that you do, so you have to be that person for yourself.
TSL: Are you currently touring? What are your future plans?
Meghann: I have a couple of shows coming up, I’m opening up for Chuck Ragan at Irving Plaza on September 19 and there are some fall tours in the works but nothing else has been confirmed, so we will see.
We thank Meghann for taking her time to speak with us, and if you’re interested in following her please check the links below: