Following my review of Meghann Wright\’s self titled EP for or CCQ I was able to catch up with her for a proper interview. The first time that I heard Meghann’s songs they completely resonated with me; I knew right away that I wanted to interview the artist associated with that specific body of work.
Meghann: I studied piano and violin (or at least attempted to) from the ages of 6-10, but it wasn’t until I started playing sax when I was 11 or 12 that I really fell in love with playing an instrument and was disciplined enough to try to do well at it. I can read music and understand music theory and I think it helped me to teach myself guitar and bass and song-writing.
Rania: What is your earliest musical memory?
Meghann: Singing along to the radio in the backseat of my parent’s car.
Rania: Your bio stated that you come from a musical family, who influenced you the most and how?
Meghann: My parents influenced me equally. My mother is a classically trained pianist, flautist and opera singer and my father loves rock and roll. They taught my brother and sister and I to appreciate all genres of music. They took us to the Symphony, Rock Concerts, and everything in between starting when we were toddlers and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Meghann: When I first came to NY I didn’t know anyone in music. So I started out by playing open mics and networking. Then I started hosting open mics and continued to meet young women like myself who needed guidance and encouragement to follow their dreams. The community came together organically and I thought it would be cool to put on showcases and put out a record featuring all the artists. Tatiana Moroz from Premier Studios helped us record some artists who didn’t have access to professional recordings. We released the record May 2014 and it’s available at TheCityAndTheHeart.BandCamp.com. Now we focus on curating fundraising concerts to benefit community organizations that help women in NY like Safe Horizon.
Rania: Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
Meghann: I would love to collaborate with Steve Albini on a record. His production style of live recording in analog formats has produced some of my favourite records. I’d also love to work with Elvis Costello, Dolly Parton, and any of the other monster songwriters who have influenced me over the years.
Rania: What do you feel are the main components to rending great lyrics when writing?
Meghann: You have to have lived through some shit. Someone who has never experienced pain, loss, regret, true love, passion cannot write a meaningful song that will resonate with listeners who have experienced those things. I also think it’s important to keep imagery and ideas accessible to your audience.
Rania: What is your song writing process? Do your lyrics come first or the accompanying music?
Meghann: Generally they come at the same time. When I’m working, traveling, etc. I am usually humming or singing to myself as I think about life and the melody often comes accompanied but a lyrical idea. That’s how most of my hooks were born. Then when I have time I sit down with my guitar in front of my laptop and flesh out the chords and the rest of the song.
Rania: Moving from Hawaii to New York is a bold move; what was the crucible that brought you there?
Meghann: I have actually been on the mainland for many years, I went to college in New Hampshire, and have lived in Massachusetts, LA, and New Jersey. I moved here to pursue a career in the Arts as it’s difficult to travel and meet new people and work on new projects when you’re stuck on an island in the pacific.
Rania: What are the main differences you found with regards to musical culture between your experiences from both living in Hawaii and New York?
Meghann: There’s not too much of a difference. Every town has it’s own scene. What was cool about Hawaii is that the scene was so small that no matter what music you played, you were part of it. Here in NY, we are so saturated by so many bands, you can see a show that only features bands of 1 specific subgenre any day of the week and never branch out. Also trends tend to dictate the types of bands that flourish in NY. It is a tight-knit community though and I love it.
Rania: You’re very open with the subject of addiction, what was the turning point for you?
Meghann: I think it’s important to be open about most things in life, if a person feels comfortable doing so. Mental illness and addiction are prominent in our society; most people I know have been touched by it. We can all relate to it and I think communication, whether one on one or through Art, helps people get through their own challenges. It’s very important to me that people never feel alone because I know how that feels and it is the darkest and saddest of all feelings. Being independent and strong is one thing, but when we are in pain and vulnerable, we can turn to music and other people to help us regain our self-love and courage. It is a great hope of mine that my music can provide even a little help to anyone who needs it.
Rania: What advice would you give an emerging Singer/Songwriter?
Meghann: Never stop. Always write, even when you don’t have time. Always challenge yourself to write with others or to write about things you don’t feel comfortable writing about. Most importantly, believe in yourself. There is no shortage of people in the world who do not believe in you. You have to be your own biggest fan.
Rania: Do you have any rituals before you start writing? If yes, what are they?
Rania: All artists have to contend with creative blocks, how do you deal with yours?
Meghann: Even if I don’t get what I want out of a session, I just chalk it up to practice. No one writes a hit song every day, or every lifetime for that matter. Just keep trudging through and eventually it will end and you’ll have a great piece of work. Haruki Murakami said “you have to endure.” My friend Tim Gilles said “not all of your kids are gonna be rocket scientists. Some of them are gonna be plumbers. And that’s ok.” What he means is not all of your work is gonna be great. But if you work hard, something will come out of it, a diamond in the rough.
Rania: If you had a super-power, what would it be?
Meghann: Time travel. Partially so I could go back in time and help people not screw up the world. Partially so I could hang out with dinosaurs.