BY Kristin Kowalski
Megan McCormicka 23-year-old Nashville, Tenn.-based singer, songwriter and guitar playerwill be releasing her debut album, Honest Words, Aug. 17. Since she'll be in Chicago next week to perform ( after recently playing at the LGBT-themed festival Nashville Pride ) , Windy City Times wanted to chat with this honest, down-to-earth artist.
Windy City Times: What do you want your fans to look forward to in your debut album?
Megan McCormick: I really tried to create an album that is sort of a listening experience all the way through. A lot of pop music is more of a single-driven thing. I'm really such a fan of albums as an experience all together. So, that's really what I tried to shoot for on this and I hope that people feel like they can listen all the way through and enjoy itall the songs go together.
WCT: So, how long have you been working on this album?
Megan McCormick: I think that we spent about three weeks on the record as far as recording goes. We did like a week's worth of tracking the band here in Nashville and then I spent another week in New York tracking vocals and then another week doing mixing and editing and getting everything wrapped up for the final package. It's been completed for a few months now and so we're just getting ready to get it out there.
WCT: Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?
Megan McCormick: I think I draw a lot from personal experience, whether it's something that I'm a part of or sort of witnessed. A lot of it has to do with my take on, whether it's my personal life, or my take on my surroundings. It's all very personal. It's less of a fiction, storytelling thing for me. It's more real life-based.
WCT: So how did you get started in music?
Megan McCormick: I started playing when I was, I think, 9 years old. There was always music all around in my family. Everybody plays. So, when I decided to start learning guitar myself, it wasn't like, 'Oh we have to send Megan out for lessons.' I just asked for a guitar or there was probably one around the house originally. I always really loved listening to music. I just sat around and played along with CDs, well I mean with tapes or with vinyl in my grandparent's housethey had just a huge music room that was just full of records. So I'd just play along with music and slowly, but surely learned my ear and picked everything out.
WCT: And then you went to college at 16 at East Tennessee State University after getting the Public Performance Scholarship?
Megan McCormick: Yeah. I think I was on tour the summer before I started college. I was on tour with a band based in Alaska called Bearfoot. I was 16 when I went on the road with them and then halfway through the summer I turned 17 and then started college. I started going to the university at the end of August and I went to school there for a couple of years.
WCT: So, did you always know that you wanted to get into music, then?
Megan McCormick: Definitely. Yeah.
WCT: So, what's it been like to have success in such a tough industry? You had a song in an Emmy-nominated film; you have your debut album coming out.
Megan McCormick: It's kind of surreal, I guess. I've really been sort of dreaming about being where I am. I haven't arrived or anything. I've been dreaming about it and planning and working hard to get here for a long time. I guess I'd say seriously for 10 yearsjust learning as much as I could along the way and figuring out what my next step was to work towards this goal. And I feel absolutely blessed and lucky everyday for my passion to be my employment. And so I feel very humbled by the whole experience and very grateful to work with such great people around me. I'm just super excited to get out there and reach people. The whole intention is to be able to experience this fabulous form of communication with other people. I definitely don't make music just for me, so I'm excited to share it with everybody.
WCT: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
Megan McCormick: I listen to so many different things. You might be able to tell listening to my musicI'm not limited to any particular genre that I enjoy. I love all kinds of different music. But I listen a lot, lately, to bands like Grizzly Bear and Goldfrapp, but then I still totally rock out to like Bonnie Raltt and Steely Dan, the more classic stuff. If I think it's good, I'll listen to it.
WCT: Do you plan on seeing any sights while you're in the Chicago area?
Megan McCormick: I always make a point to spend a least a little bit of time in Wicker Parkthat's sort of my favorite neighborhood just to walk around. So I'll probably go there. One of my main stops and one of the reasons I fell in love with Chicago is one of the times I was there I discovered John Fluevog Shoes and there's a Fluevog store in Wicker Park. I always go there. I really love Chicago. It's one of the few cities that is on my destination list. I really am hoping that I'll be able to live there at some point over the next few years.
WCT: Is there anything else you want to say to your fans?
Megan McCormick: I'm really looking forward to the show at SPACE on [ July ] 28. Also, keep in touch. I'm big on the online stuff. I upload a lot of content that is more about who I am and a lot of silly stuff and fun stuff. It's entertaining I think if people connect with me on Facebook and YouTube. I try to keep it interesting on there.
Megan McCormick will be performing at SPACE in Evanston Wed., July 28, at 7:30 p.m. You can take a listen to "Do Right," from her debut album, Honest Words, by visiting her Myspace page at www.myspace.com/meganmccormicksmusic.