MEGG is the musical persona of South Bay singer/songwriter Meghan Mahowald, best known for appearing on NBC’s The Voice and her connection to her local community in LA’s South Bay. She was one of five vocalists to come out of the University of Southern California’s inaugural Popular Music Performance program. MEGG’s newest EP, Here For Now, will drop at the end of August 2021.
We caught up with MEGG at the release party for her brand new single Change, which dropped Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021.
Photo: Madison Hedgecock
1. We know that being an artist is a lifelong journey. How and when did your journey as a musician begin?
I think I was on stage for the first time when I was seven. I was taking singing lessons, and I was singing Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid. My mom forced me to wear a mermaid costume, and I was so fucking embarrassed about it. I remember on that day that I’m never gonna do or wear anything again I don’t want to because I botched the song. And I was in my first musical when I was eight, so I think I knew I wanted to do this from a young age.
2. It’s clear that you’re influenced by artists like P!NK, Bishop Briggs, & K. Flay, but there are always some influences that people would never guess. Do you have any?
I grew up with four brothers, so the music I was listening to in elementary school and middle school was very extreme polar opposites. It was like Spice Girls, bubble-gum Britney, Christina Aguilera, and then like Thrice, Blink-182, Rancid, and stuff like that. My parents were playing Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin, so I think in my music I pull from all of those different genres. So, heavily influenced by No Doubt. Heavily influenced by FIDLAR. Heavily influenced by K. Flay. I think this new artist Upsahl is so fucking cool. I listened to a lot of Janis Joplin as a kid as well, and the South Bay reggae/ska stuff like Sublime, and all those different bands.
3. You’ve been releasing singles from your forthcoming EP since last year. ‘Change’ stands apart with its stripped down guitar & vocal arrangement. What influenced that decision?
I showed up to the studio sad as fuck. I realized I was falling out of love with someone that I’d been dating for a really long time and saw a future with. When I got to the studio, it didn’t really matter what kind of song I wanted to write. The only option was to grab a guitar, sit on the patio. I had my diary on me for some reason, which I never do. Matias Mora co-wrote it and produced it, so he was like, “Let’s just read through your diary.” He pulled some real shit out of me, and that song was just kind of an extension of how I was feeling that day. I don’t think I had a plan of writing a sad pop ballad. That was just what was on my heart.
4. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your musical journey?
I would say the biggest challenge I’ve faced thus far in my musical journey is consistency. There is just so much shit to do and constantly post and create. It’s really fun, but I’ve definitely been trying really hard this time around to stay consistent and to stay on top of it, and not let my perfectionism get in the way. I’ve written so many songs that I’ve never released because I didn’t feel like they were good enough or finished, or didn’t resemble exactly where I was at in that time in my life. So, I think just getting rid of the perfectionism, letting go, and staying consistent have been some of the things that I have struggled with in my musical journey.
5. The music video for ‘Change’ is so heartfelt. What was your favorite part of making it?
My favorite part of making it, I think, was re-remembering and reliving the happy times of that relationship. We loved eating pizza on the floor. We loved just fucking around, and I’d always taunt him and keep him from going to work, because he’d have to get up so early in the morning. He would make coffee for me every morning. Get up at 4:30-5:00am and there would be coffee waiting for me when I woke up, so I think that was really kind of fun to remember. The beautiful parts of that relationship, and also just getting to work with Cameron Bennett again. He’s just a genius. And we had my friend Mack Ogden producing it. It was just really fun.
6. We want to inspire people to revolt against tradition, the norm, stereotypes, and people who say, ‘you can’t.’ What do you revolt against?
The norm. The status quo. Growing up I was always told I was too much, or too aggressive, or too loud, or not girly enough. Not this or not that. Too much of that. Be you! There’s only one you.
7. What advice do you have for local musicians just beginning their journey?
Just keep writing. Write with everyone and just play shows. I think that we really undervalue what kind of connections and networking you can naturally do just by playing shows in your local community or hometown. It’s so easy to want to go to Hollywood and play the Viper Room, and Whisky a Go Go, and the Roxy, and all those things. Some great advice I got a couple years ago was, “Stick to your hometown. Play venues in your hometown. Meet other musicians in your hometown, and just collaborate.”