INTERVIEW: Megan Davies chats original music, musical roots and plans for the future!
Ladies who rock are easily my favorite thing about this industry and the way I’ve approached what I do. It’s always a bright spot in a sea of endless rock shows and dudes being the majority of who I see on stage. The energy is always just a little bit different and of course empowering to see other women performing. So when I do get the chance to interview a fellow woman, I always jump at the chance. The latest in a series of some great acts this year? Megan Davies, a Nashville living singer/songwriter, who is quickly making a name for herself with original tunes. Davies though can’t pretend she didn’t get the chance to be doing this without the career she built on YouTube curating covers/mashups with fellow artist friends. Be it everything from her sister, Jaclyn, to frequent collaborator Keelan Donovan and so many others.
But for now, the focus for Davies is being known for her original music and continuing to create. The night I met up with her for this interview, she was about fifteen minutes fresh from coming off the stage opening for fellow Nashville act Striking Matches. Which just happened to also feature a lady as one half of the band. Davies had a strong representation of fans in the audience who swooned over every track and kept their eyes on the stage. They’ll get the chance to see her back in Boston soon as she’ll be out with Boyce Avenue this fall as main support and in Boston on the run for two nights September 18th & September 19th at City Winery. Find our interview below and make sure you catch this talented lady before she becomes a super threat to those radio charts!
You’re on tour opening for Striking Matches, how do you think this show went? You talked about how you have new music coming out. You played a lot of it tonight. How do you think the set went over?
It’s funny, I think this tour more then any of them has just been really light and fun. We’ve kind of been changing the set list every night. Like tonight I played some songs that I’ve never played before. And for me touring, I’m starting to get that feeling from touring where I’m figuring out where I can be creative with it and it’s really fun. It’s really freeing and I think like tonight we threw in songs that we hadn’t played yet and I think people are enjoying that. Going with the flow and feeling the vibe of the room type thing.
You’ve had a lot of musical history doing the mashups/covers on YouTube, releasing your own music like you did last year with ‘Bad Poetry’. You talked about how you’ve been in the studio all summer. When do you think the next EP or album will be ready? Do you think it’s still a while away?
So this year, it’s been mostly singles. It’s only been singles actually. It’s funny, the year prior, 2017 I guess, with the ‘Bad Poetry’ EP. My goal for that year was to release a project. I had never done anything like that before and it took a while. It was a few months in the studio writing. The whole thing was a learning experience and I’m still very happy that I did it. But this year, I wanted to approach the originals the same way that I approach my covers. Which is when I make something, just put it out and not overthink it too much. Just because I feel like right now everything’s growing at a really fast pace and I’m discovering what I want that recorded sound to be very quickly. And it’s changing from release to release. Almost to the point where it’s like if I put all these songs on a record, it might not sound like the most cohesive record. So I think at this point, at least this year, the singles feel right at this time. Maybe next year, maybe the year after, there will definitely be a future project but right now I’m enjoying the freedom. Putting things out there in between tours, things like that.
And that’s what a lot of people are doing these days. It’s becoming so much more common to just release music when it’s ready.
Yeah it’s funny how the internet has affected music. With Spotify, I can finish a song and upload it right now as we’re talking and it will be on Spotify in like a day and people can listen to it all over the world. It’s just so immediate. So yeah it’s just really easy. It’s kind of nice to have the freedom to be able to do that.
Despite being still so young, you’ve been doing music for so long. Just from looking at your history, moving to Nashville at 19. You have the YouTube fame but you’ve been doing the original music as well. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a musician? Was there a moment that made you wanted to do this?
I don’t know if there was ever a moment where I was like this is what I want to do. I just always assumed that’s what I would do. Even if I had a day job working in a cubicle all day, I just knew that’s what I would be doing at night and on the weekends. In high school, that’s what I did on snow days. Everyone else was sledding and I was just inside playing music. I honestly can’t even remember a conscious decision. It just always felt like the most natural thing for me. And when it finally became my profession which I wasn’t sure it ever would, especially when you’re in Nashville, because you’re feeling like everybody wants to do it. You see a lot of people that don’t get too and I’ve realized as I was able to make my way to that goal, how rare and how special it is. That was really my goal for so long was just to do it full time and when I finally got to do it full time, it was like oh I need new goals now! Because it felt like a huge mountain to climb.
Then just from the past, in speaking to a lot of artists that also did covers on YouTube and also write their own music like Alex Aiono and Meg & Liz, when it comes to writing your own music. You do the covers, how do you separate that live? Do you still want to play those covers?
I mean for me playing an original song live is really special. I think it’s nice that so many of my covers are collaborations. I can definitely do a two hour set of covers but it’s not going to be the same. And I think people know that. Unless Keelan (Keelan Donovan) is up on stage with me, it’s not going to be the same ‘Summertime Sadness’. So it’s kind of nice that I do sort of have an excuse.
It’s not just you doing these covers.
Exactly! It’s other people and I’m generally sort of the curator of all of it I guess. But I think nowadays most people who come to the shows at least I hope expect a good amount of originals.
I would hope so to considering it’s just you, well you have your guitarist with you. But he’s not singing along with you.
Right and like tonight, I just threw in a cover that I had never done before. There’s something cool about being able to just create things live. There aren’t any rules. Give people an experience that they couldn’t get anywhere else but yeah it’s always going to be a balance. And I try not to poo-poo the covers too much because I know that, that’s also the reason why I’m able to do what I do. There’s a lot of people who connect to them so I don’t ever want to discount them. We definitely put a lot of work into them but yeah it’s a balance. Right now the balance is more sticking to the originals. That’s more my doing I think for the live stuff. But I think I’ll always do them. It’s such a great excuse to work with other people in Nashville and being a solo artist has been a lovely endeavor. So it’s a great excuse to sing with other people that I wouldn’t ever get the chance to sing with. Even just working with my sister so I think they’ll always be a part of the things that I’m doing. We’ll see!
But it’s a good stepping stone to get to other things.
Absolutely! I honestly think it has helped my songwriting. Just learning so many different songs and dissecting them to such a degree where I know all the words and all the chords and the structure. Not only that but I’m making up my own little guitar parts on top of it. I think it’s a good exercise to study other people’s writing.
And obviously you have a lot of things going on. Maybe focuses or goals or hopes for you as a solo artist over these next few months?
Right now, the original music focus is huge for me. Getting that out there in the right way. Recording music in the studio is an art form. Up until last year I recorded everything by myself, I didn’t work with anybody. So I mixed everything, it’s nice because there was no real overhead cost. But it’s only been the past year and a half that I started working with other people in the studio. Working with another producer and figuring out that sort of collaboration. As an artist, maintaining my identity but also letting other people excel in areas that they excel in.
So right now the original music, I see a lot of room to grow and it’s changing quickly. And it’s moving in a way that I’m really excited about. So that’s my main focus. The covers are just fun so I’ll obviously try to do new things with them from time to time and push them but they’re a different beast, I guess you could say. But right now for me, it’s just writing original music. I think I’ve put out sixty some covers and maybe six original songs. It’s a big difference so yeah just trying to get more original music out there then hopefully enough people will connect with it the same way they do with the covers.
That must be insane. I couldn’t imagine. Trying to make a name for yourself and trying to show people that you write your own music.
Oh yeah it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge that most of my friends don’t have. Who are doing the same thing that I’ve done. It’s a blessing because it’s given me a lot of exposure but also having to transition people from listening to a song that’s written by a different person to a song that’s written by me, it’s a challenge. But it’s a creative challenge so I’m excited about it. I’m not at all sad about it.