She's got it 'Honest'

Megan McCormick has quickly emerged as one of Nashville's most promising musical talents. Her winning blend of folk, Americana and acoustic rock has stood out in the crowd of Music City hopefuls, earning her a spot as opening act with Amos Lee and many other famed musicians.

McCormick, who grew up in Alaska and whose grandparents are in the Western Swing Hall of Fame, comes by her craft honestly. Her debut album, Honest Words, was released last August, and the 23-year-old singer-songwriter has toured extensively to promote the new music. A former student of East Tennessee State University's music program, she discusses her musical influences and career prospects with Out & About Newspaper.

How would you describe your music to a first-time listener?

I would say that it's hard to describe it with just one or even two genres. The music is definitely a mix of a lot of different things. If I had to say two, I'd say alternative rock and blues. It's for anyone who likes Bonnie Raitt or Sheryl Crow. I look up to artists like Sting and Steely Dan too.

So who would be your dream touring partner(s)?

I would love to go out on tour with Fleetwood Mac if they did a reunion. Them or Bonnie Raitt. That would be a dream tour.

When you're writing a song, do you tend to develop the lyric or the melody first?

It changes. Not every song comes about in the same process. Sometimes I'll have an idea of a melody and I'll figure it out on guitar, record the idea and get back to it. Sometimes I'll have an idea and it'll go into database of ideas. As I'm writing, I'll try to incorporate things in the music and the lyrics. I can still process and come with ideas even if it's busy and there's a lot going on. But sometimes I like to have the quietness and privacy to hone in on something and focus.  

How have your career experiences influenced your music?

I'd say that 99.9% of my writing is non-fiction. I don't really say anything that i don't believe. I moved away from home when I was very young. I've been living alone for eight years in Tennessee, so I appreciate the opportunities to travel and get this wealth of experience.

What do you like most about Nashville?

The thing that I like about Nashville from a career perspective is, not just that the industry is here, but it's a centralized location to be based out of for touring. I like the fact that after living here for a year, I felt comfortable here. You can really reach people: it's not like you're trying to accomplish something in L.A. or New York and things can seem really unattainable. I love that Nashville isn't too big for its britches. It's a nice, friendly place.

What's your definition of success?

Not having to work what everybody else would call a regular job. To not have to work in a corporate office or Starbucks or anything and focus full-time on my music. That's as much as I could ask for.

What are some short-term goals for you?

I'd say as far as the next year or two, we're getting ready to start an album, so we'll hopefully have a new release of a record by the end of the year. And we're constantly doing as much as we can in terms of touring. It's about reaching out to people basically. Honest Words was finished in December 2009, so I've had time to write and now we're trying to pick the best of the best  for the album. I think it will be a little less slick, and a little bit edgier (this time).

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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