Longtime readers of this space know that I couldn’t care less about most of what the major labels have to offer in 2019. I find their renunciation of rock and propensity to glorify vacuous commercial products truly distasteful, so the fact that Atlantic Records dropped Meg Myers after just one album wasn’t surprising.
The house that icons like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Led Zeppelin built turned its back on one of the most refreshing alternative voices to come along since PJ Harvey yet the men behind the curtain continue to enable Ed Sheeran to churn out the same formulaic pablum year after year.
I don’t get it, but perhaps the split will prove to be a blessing in disguise.
After all, Myers’ latest, “Take Me to the Disco,” contains a dozen songs of raw self-expression from an artist who isn’t afraid to make America feel again, a sensation that has gotten lost in the plasticity of modern pop music. She wants you to ache like she aches and the music rides that wave of vulnerability to places that few others care to go anymore.
I had the opportunity to correspond with Myers via e-mail recently and her outlook on life should serve as an inspiration to everyone looking to make the world a better place through art. Despite being in an opening slot at 103.3 The Edge’s CRNVL this Sunday, she has everything in place to steal the show.
MNOD: After hearing “Take Me to the Disco” for the first time, I felt as if you had been unleashed and were finally expressing yourself in a way that was representative of where you were at in your life. How was your approach to the album impacted by knowing that there wasn’t the same pressure to produce a top-5 single?
Myers: Thank you for saying that. I just always try to stay true to myself and create music from the heart and that I believe in. I am actually thinking about that a lot now as look into the future. How can I help change the world? How can I help people in a more positive way?
MNOD: As a big fan of Kate Bush, your cover of “Running Up That Hill” is one of most exciting things I’ve heard in 2019. What is it about the song that attracted you?
Myers: First and foremost, the message. The song is asking how a relationship would change if a man and a woman put themselves in each other’s shoes. The overarching themes of love, compassion, understanding, these all attracted me to the song. And Kate Bush is just the shit. Her music and her entire career inspire me daily.
MNOD: Kate has always been known for challenging what traditional pop or alternative is supposed to sound like. Is that something you envision for your own work?
Myers: I hope so. That is a special quality that seems missing from music today. Pushing the envelope, defying genre, exploring beyond your comfort zone.
MNOD: You’ve been compared to PJ Harvey and Fiona Apple in the past, but who were some of your influences as a younger artist?
Myers: Enya, Sting, Jewel, Tracy Chapman, PJ Harvey, Nirvana and many many more.
MNOD: One of the things I notice about your music right away is the level of lyrical intimacy you achieve with the listener. Has songwriting become a cathartic process for you?
Myers: Most definitely. I have been through a lot and music has always been the outlet for me to cope and heal. That will never change.
MNOD: You’ve become known for your visceral live performances. What do you think makes for a great show?
Myers: I think most importantly when there is a strong connection between me and the audience. When I feel free and can be lost in the moment. When I sing well.
MNOD: In an era where music videos have been seemingly de-emphasized, your videos have gotten a lot of attention for their ability to enhance the music. How important is the visual element to you?
Myers: It is on the same level for me as the music itself. It helps me tell the story of the songs and my music. I have a hard time expressing that in interviews, so my songs and my videos mostly do the talking.
MNOD: For those who haven’t seen you live before, what can fans expect when you come to Buffalo on July 14?
Myers: It’s really exciting because you are going to get the songs more stripped down. My voice will be at the center. I think some shit is about to go down, Buffalo!!!!!
Meg Myers plays Buffalo Riverworks on Sunday, July 14 as part of 103.3 The Edge’s CRNVL.
“Take Me to the Disco” is available now wherever music is disseminated, but do us all a favor and pay for a physical copy.