Getting To Know Meg Mac: The Aussie Singer/Songwriter Talks Influences, Her Debut EP & “Roll Up Your Sleeves”

Mike Wass | December 5, 2014 10:00 am
Meg Mac's Beautiful "Roll Up Your Sleeves"
Aussie diva Meg Mac drops one of 2014's best songs with "Roll Up Your Sleeves".

2014 has been a banner year for Australian artists. Iggy Azalea, Chet Faker, 5 Seconds Of Summer and Vance Joy all made their presence felt on a variety of Billboard charts. If the quality of breakthrough single “Roll Up Your Sleeves” is any indication, Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Meg Mac could be leading the charge next year. The lilting, gospel-tinged ballad is a breathtakingly beautiful introduction to one of pop music’s most exciting new talents.

I recently caught up with the rising diva about her big break — she won a prestigious competition for unsigned artists — and excellent debut EP, the appropriately-titled MEGMAC. Megan McInerny (her real name) also spoke about her love of old-school soul music and the inspiration behind “Roll Up Your Sleeves.” So, when is she bringing her music stateside? There’s no concrete date yet but she’s working on it. Get to know Meg a little better after the jump.

How did you discover your love for music?
I found my love of music through singing. When I was a kid I discovered that a voice could make me feel something and affect me and other people, it inspired me to find and use my own voice. But when I started writing, that is when I knew for sure I would never stop singing.

Who are your biggest influences?
I think the first voice that got my attention was Ray Charles. And growing up I listened to Motown and Stax music from my Dad. Sam Cooke is my favourite voice. Edith Piaf inspires me and I like Bon Iver.

How did you get your big break?
Putting my music online was where it all began for me. I made a profile on Triple J Unearthed here in Australia and uploaded my first song, “Known Better.” Exciting things started to happen, but it was with my second single “Every Lie” that things really started everything. I sent it in to the radio station myself and it was played every day! I won the Unearthed Competition to play a set at Falls Festival on New Years Eve, which was the perfect start to my 2014 and everything I am doing now.

Your music sounds more Memphis than Melbourne. Please explain!
I never really noticed. It was random until I started hearing people’s reactions to my music. When I sit down and sing, that is just what happens – maybe it comes from the music I listened to growing feels normal to me.

“Roll Up Your Sleeves” is astoundingly good. What was the inspiration for it?
When I was writing “Roll Up Your Sleeves” I couldn’t stop thinking about how sometimes it is really hard to do the right thing and why it is so much easier to pretend you don’t give a shit. And, at that time, I think I needed to hear that everything was going to be alright, so I just kind of sang it to myself. When I am not OK I go off and sing, that’s how this song came about.

Were you surprised by the amount of attention it generated?
Yes! I was very surprised but so pleased. I did my first tour recently and sung that song every night along with audience. They were singing so loud with me – it was amazing. I like hearing how everyone hears the song, and how it is different from overseas. I have gotten lots of messages from people saying it helps them get through their day or makes them feel better… that sort of thing which is more than I could ask for because the song helped me so much when I was writing it.

“Every Lie” sounds very personal. Are you the new Taylor Swift writing about your exes?
[Laughs]. I have never thought of it like that. I think that song for me is more about how I was made to feel rather than about the person, if that makes sense. I hope I haven’t scared anyone away!

What’s your favorite song on your debut EP?
This is hard. I think I like the start of “Every Lie” because it is so instant. But nothing beats belting out the big notes in “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” it is my favorite part of every live show. But then I love the dark and dramatic production in the “Grandma’s Hands” cover I did too, and those are sounds I want to keep working on and developing after the EP.

Do you have plans for an American release?
This is something I have always wanted to do and I am working on it at the moment. I would love to do some shows and sing for people there, so hopefully soon!

Have you started work on an album?
Yes, yes, yes. I am so excited about it. I have been working on the songs for a long time and it is time to start piecing them all together and making it real.

Have you already discovered Meg Mac? Let us know in the comments below.

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