INTERVIEW: Meg Mac

With the whole Brisbane crowd at The Tivoli just screaming the words “give me my name back” in unison to an in awe Meg Mac who stood there mesmerised by the crowd, there was just something powerful in that moment which will always stand out. The raw power of those lyrics alone is something that has seen so many people connecting on a deeper level with the triple j favourite. Inspiring a wider audience to take back their name and stand up for what they believe in is such an important and powerful sentiment which has perfectly begun the next chapter of her career.

With her mini album ‘Hope’ out today, the singer-songwriter dives deeper into a dark and moody reflection on what the word hope means to her. Is it a radiating light of positivity? Or is it something that causes a sense of desperation? It’s these dark takeaways that she explores that are so interesting and has the listener questioning the though process throughout their listening experience. 

I recently chatted to Meg Mac about her unique outlook on the concept of hope, the empowerment and strength she found within her song ‘Give Me My Name Back’ and we discuss her artistic growth from performing live. Check out the chat HERE;

TB: Throughout all your releases you’ve always embodied a raw vulnerability. So reflecting on the tracks and the creative process of ‘Hope’, what would you say is the most vulnerable moment on the mini album for you? 

MM: I feel like all of my music becomes very vulnerable because Im always writing from my personal experiences. Songwriting is very personal for me. But I would say the title track ‘Hope’ is the most vulnerable for me on the new album because I was really interested in the idea of hope but not in a positive or hopeful sense. I wanted to explore the flip side of hope and look at the desperation and sadness that goes along with that. 

I think it was only after finishing the song and starting to perform it live that I realised what it really meant to me. I thought I was writing about someone else but now I feel like I wrote it for myself and for everyone. Because living in hope is very vulnerable.  

TB: I was going to ask you about that song because on your current Australian tour you described that track as a “sad depressing song about hope” which is a very interesting take on the euphoric nature of hope.

MM: Especially when you hear that word you immediately associate it with positivity and good things. So I think it’s really interesting that there is another side to it which is almost like a curse. 

TB: I think we always deep down hope for someone to happen and then when it doesn’t happen the way you want it to you then lose a little hope and you’re constantly waiting for something.

MM: Yeah, living in hope can give you strength and motivation but it can also suck so much energy from you.

TB: ’Give Me My Name Back’ is a very empowering anthem about reclaiming yourself after going through emotional or physical abuse. It’s come at a very crucial time in the world where there is a lot of uncertainty and negativity and it’s important to shine a light on growth and to stand up and voice your opinion. So what is some advice you have for people who are struggling to find their voice?

MM: Whenever I sing “give me my name back” whatever that means to you, whatever your name means to you, you need to get it back. No matter what happened, that is the most important thing you have for yourself. So when I say “give me my name back” it is like demanding it back and that’s the most important thing I want people to know and take away. You have to stand up for that. 

TB: Through the release of this song and singing it live, has it been quite a overwhelming and humbling experience to hear everyone’s stories and be a constant reminder as to just how powerful and important music is?

MM: Yes definitely! Because I was pretty open with what the song was about, after I released it I had a lot of people sending me private messages on Instagram and telling me stories of things they had never told anyone. Some of them were really difficult to read, they were so heavy. I was really upset for the first couple of days because it was so overwhelming but now it’s amazing to see how many different interpretations there were of the song. 

Performing live is my favourite thing to do, it’s what I live for. So performing any of my songs in front of people and seeing them connect is so beautiful. 

TB: That’s one thing I loved in particular about your recent Brisbane show at The Tivoli. Seeing everyone scream the lyrics of “Give Me Your Name Back’ so passionately gave it this really empowering sense of hope and growth. Everyone was releasing what they needed to release that night. 

MM: I remember when I first started touring I would always end with ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ and hearing a massive crowd of people sing every word back to me was crazy because everyone was screaming that everything was going to be alright. Like what a message. And that’s the same thing with ‘Give Me My Name Back’ because everyone is screaming those words which is so powerful. 

TB: Over the past couple of years you’ve done a lot of touring that has seen you performing at huge festivals and selling out headlining runs of dates multiple times. So what is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself as an artist from playing live shows and playing in different formats?

MM: I think the biggest thing I’ve had to learn is that every night is different and every crowd is different because there are different people there. You have to take it for what it is because there is so much that you can plan and rehearse because as soon as you walk out on that stage it’s going to be completely different to the night before because of the new people in the crowd and the new venue you’re in. You will always discover something different each night too. Like a lyric one night can mean something different to you than it will the next night even though I wrote it five years ago. 

TB: I mean, you’re living you’re still living your life whilst you’re touring and you still go through emotions just like everyone else. 

MM: Exactly! Different lyrics will impact me in different ways every night depending on what has happened that day or just how I feel in that moment. 

TB: Throughout this whole experience you’ve had your sister in your live band, it must be so nice sharing this with her and have a sense of grounding when you’re on tour?

MM: It just feels so normal to have her with me because she’s my sister. There hasn’t been many shows that I’ve done without her. She’s always there for me because we live together and she helps me out when I’m writing and need a harmony for a song. She’s always happy to jump in and help me out. She’s also sung on recordings and albums, so it feels like she’s really apart of this journey which is so nice. 

TB: It’s so important to have that strong family support whilst touring and pouring your soul out emotionally every day.

MM: It just brings an element of fun to it. We’ve been sharing a hotel room on this tour though so she’s probably sick of me now *laughs*.

TB: Who’s the messier sister though? 

MM: Oh, it’s definitely me *laughs*. 

TB: With two recent massive sold out Australian tours that have seen you play some very prestigious venues, how do you want to elevate your live show next time with these new songs?

MM: Definitely! Playing some of these new songs on the current tour has been so fun and it’s made me so excited to play the other four new tracks that I haven’t played live yet. For this tour I had a new lighting show and it was so cool playing around with the new lights and organising the new arrangement to give it a different aesthetic. I always want to keep working on the live show and make it more exciting. 

TB: What song off the new album have you not played live that you’re most excited to introduce into the next run of shows?

MM: I really want to play ‘Head Away’ as I think it would be really cool live. Also ‘Before Trouble’ would be really cool to play but I would have to figure out how I will do it because it has a crazy intro which is all vocals. 

TB: Now, lets talk about THE hat. It’s become such a signature look for you for your live show. So when your looking for a fabulous stage hat, what are you specifically looking for? 

MM: I honestly just have one that I love and I just always wear that *laughs*. it’s my go to, I just love it and feel so comfortable wearing it. 

Have you ever thought about designing a range because everyone just really vibes the look you bring to it? You could call it; The Meg *laughs*

MM: *Laughs* Oh no, I think I will just stick to music for now *laughs*. 

TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you just need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind.

MM: Okay!

TB: My pre show pump up song is…

MM: ‘Because The Night’ by Patti Smith

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

MM: Something I like!

TB: The emoji that best describes my EP ‘Hope’ is…

MM: The purple love heart.

TB: If I could have any super power it would be…

MM: Flying.

TB: My go to snack on tour is…

MM: Chocolate covered rice cakes!

‘Hope’ is out now!

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