Meg Mac on nailing her sophomore album and the importance of learning on the job

Image via EMI Music
Words by Jessica Over

Second time’s the charm.

In an industry brimming with awards and accolades, the humble sophomore album remains one of the most momentous feats in a musician’s career. But to follow up a debut record brings a new level of expectation that isn’t always easy to navigate. For Megan McInerney, perhaps better known by her stage name Meg Mac, a home ground advantage was the perfect place to start. 

“What was really special about making this album was I made it in Melbourne,” she says. “It was produced by a guy called Miles Wootton, who lives down the road from me. There was never any time restriction or pressure being put on me to make an album. We just kept working and then eventually … once we had those seven tracks, it felt complete.”

Hope is Meg Mac’s second full-length record and sees the Australian singer-songwriter take a step forward in her musical endeavours. Not only does the album reflect McInerney’s progression as a musician, but it provides a platform to give voice to issues too many of us can relate to, including those at the centre of the #MeToo movement.

“It’s the first time I’ve been open about what the songs are about and what my lyrics are about,” says McInerney. “When I put out the first song, which was ‘Give Me My Name Back’, I talked about what I’d written it about and what was happening in the world when I wrote it. The Me Too movement was happening and all these women started standing up. It was at that time that I started making this album.

“When I say, ‘Give me my name back,’ it’s whatever that means to you. Whatever your name means to you and your identity means to you, you can get that back. That’s what I love about music; it’s personal. One lyric, one statement can mean so many different things to different people.”

This proactive mindset permeates the industry from the ground up, with more artists than ever using their platform for good. But pursuing a career as a professional musician is more than just making a statement. It’s hard work, dedication and, as McInerney can attest to, a constant learning curve.

“When I hadn’t released any music, you kind of have made up in your head what you think the music industry is,” she says. “But I honestly didn’t know what a manager was, I didn’t know what publishing was — I didn’t understand any of that stuff. I just knew I wanted to do music, and I put my song up on the triple j Unearthed website and made a profile and then it started getting played on the radio. I started getting emails from industry people and I was so freaked out because I didn’t have a manager. It was just me replying to these emails and I was so young and I didn’t really understand. It’s crazy because now I feel like I’ve got a better understanding of the music industry … I feel like you’re only going to learn about being in the music industry from being in it.”

It’s this unique insight that makes McInerney such a credible commentator on the music industry at large, especially the current landscape for Australian musicians. At a time when debate over the quota for playing local artists on Australian radio is increasingly in the spotlight, McInerney knows how crucial it is to gain support from your home country.

“It’s so important because it’s how people are going to hear Australian music,” she says. “We need to record it and we need to have it on the radio. We need to be going to shows because otherwise it won’t exist. If it wasn’t for Australian radio — if it wasn’t for Triple J — I wouldn’t be talking to you today. It’s so important that we support it.”

With her daring new record hitting national airwaves and her voice being broadcast more widely than ever, Meg Mac is just getting started. For those who are looking to follow in her footsteps, she couldn’t be more supportive.

“Just stay true to what you’re doing and if you’ve got something to say, say it. I don’t think it matters if it’s DIY or however you want to make it. It’s what you have to say and what you’re putting into it that matters the most.”

Hope is out now via EMI Music Australia.






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