- 12 Nov 20
Ahead of the release of her two new EPs on Friday, Tennessee-born alt-pop star Meg Myers discusses authenticity, overcoming trauma, her frustrations with the music industry and the influence of Kate Bush and Sinéad O'Connor.
From show-stopping performances on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert and Jimmy Kimmel Live, to topping the Billboard Rock Airplay chart with a cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill', Meg Myers has rapidly established herself as both an uncontainable and unpredictable force in music.
Raised in a Jehovah Witness household in the Southern States of the US, she's built up a reputation for placing raw emotion and honesty at the centre of her alt-pop sound – themes she continues to explore on her cathartic new EPs, Thank U 4 Taking Me To 2 The Disco and I'd Like 2 Go Home Now.
"I started writing when I was like 12 years old," she reflects. "It was therapy for me. It was a way for me to express my emotions. Music has always been a way to free myself.
"But there have been many years of confusion for me too," she continues. "There was so much pressure from the labels, and so much pressure from the industry, to deliver a hit. I spent many years feeling lost. I came out of that a few years ago, and got back to my original approach. Now I'm feeling like a teenager again, honestly! I'm writing, and it's authentic."
'I Hope You Cry', a collaborative single with morgxn which features on Thank U 4 Taking Me 2 The Disco, poignantly addresses the stigma around men expressing their emotions.
"The world is depressed," Meg reasons. "This has been my way to say whatever I want, and just be real and authentic. That’s the most important thing – it always has been, but now more than ever for me. Other people really appreciate that too, because there’s not a lot of truth being spoken or being expressed right now. A lot of people are scared."
Despite the success of her sophomore album Take Me To The Disco in 2018, Meg reveals that found herself feeling overwhelming and disconnected from what was going on around her at the time. With that came a palpable sense of frustration – as she felt she should have been having the time of her life.
"It was really hard," she admits. "I did this whole album, and I was really proud of it. And I always will be. But that was a really tough time for me. I felt troubled, because I didn’t feel like I was being fully authentic, and I didn’t feel like the people around me really understood me. And I didn’t fully understand myself either. So I felt extremely disconnected, and I felt like I was supposed to have it all figured out.
"But I didn’t want to do what everyone else wanted me to do," she continues. "I wanted to do something new, and enjoy doing it – and feel meaning and fulfilment and purpose in my life. I wasn’t feeling any of those things. So I was running away, and running away from myself. I was scared a lot of the time, too. And even though I had just made this album, there was a lot of stuff I still couldn’t put into words. I wasn’t fully conscious. So I was just going around, with a lot of emotions that I needed to face. There was so much chaos around me, so it was hard for me to really go in and do that."
It was after wrapping up her Take Me To The Disco tour that Meg decided to take action.
"I was just like, ‘That’s it – I’m saying no to everything now. I’m going within, and getting clear on what it is that I want to do, and who I am’," she recalls. "I was asking myself, ‘Why am I doing this? Am I doing this for other people or am I doing this for myself?’ I think it’s both – but your passion, and your own fulfilment should always come first."
A major step on her new journey was signing to Sumerian Records – an independent label that's home to the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Poppy and Asking Alexandria.
"Sumerian is awesome," Meg enthuses. "Those guys are so rad, I love them. It’s a new relationship, but it’s my favourite label I’ve ever been on. I have total creative freedom in every way, because they trust me. I’ve never had that before at a label – complete trust."
Of course, her previous struggles with creative freedom and the pressures of the industry are experiences countless women in music can relate to – including Kate Bush, who has become a source of inspiration for Meg since covering 'Running Up That Hill'.
"I had been drawn to that song for many years, and people were telling me that I reminded them of her," Meg notes. "I didn't know a lot about her, but I was so in love with that song – listening to it gave me so much life. Around the time that I decided to cover it, I started doing more research on her. And I found that we have really similar experiences in the industry, and in general. It’s a relief – that some of these trailblazing women, Kate Bush being one of them, were like, ‘Fuck this – I’m doing things my way!’"
Meg's powerful vocals have also being compared to the legendary likes of Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries and Sinéad O'Connor.
"Sinéad O'Connor was one of the main trailblazers," she says. "She was a really big influence for me, especially in my earlier years."
Like many of these trailblazing women, on her new EPs, Meg has attempted to transform past trauma into something empowering.
"I was carrying all of this pain, and all of this ancestral trauma," she reflects. "I didn’t even understand how to go about healing it – and no one around me knew what was happening. It was something I had to look at, and figure out how to turn it into something beautiful. It's that cliche – turning the pain into the art.
"That's what I’ve been doing, and that’s what I’ll continue to do," she adds. "Instead of pushing things down when they come up, and feeling stressed or anxious – I’m looking at it and asking, ‘What is this?’ I believe that our emotions are where our power is."
Of course, these have also been painful years for her country – with society divided to unprecedented extremes. Unlike the majority of the planet, however, Meg wasn't glued to the news during the presidential election.
"I don’t watch TV," she reveals. "I’m open to everything – awareness is important to me in every aspect. But my focus has been mainly on my third album. I don’t follow politics, but I do feel everyone has their own truth – and I don’t judge anyone. My truth is just one perspective. But from my perspective, I feel that the real change that we’re all looking for globally has to happen internally first, in order for our external reality to shift. As long as we continue to give our power away to politicians, and focus on external things, we’re going to keep repeating cycles. That’s the way I see it."
Thank U 4 Taking Me To 2 The Disco and I'd Like 2 Go Home Now are out tomorrow, November 13.