Roll Up Your Sleeves, America: MEG MAC Has Landed

The Aussie songwriter and Sam Cooke fangirl is here to stay.

Apr 4 2015, 6:00pm

Photo by Metaxia Coustas

Make room for MEG MAC: she’s about to make a big impact stateside. After ruling SXSW with rave reviews of her showcases (and getting an offer to support UK electro-poppers Clean Bandit on tour a week later), MEG MAC is bringing a new brand of soul music to the table. Heavily influenced by Sam Cooke, MEG MAC pairs her big voice with thoughtful piano songwriting and basically makes musicgasms for your ears. The 24-year-old has been the recipient of many comparisons to soul-pop icon Adele, which is not surprising given her ability to project on powerful, R&B and gospel-like jams “Roll Up Your Sleeves” and “Known Better.” As far as we tell from her self-titled debut EP, her voice is hard to ignore. We’re just going to take a wild guess and say that her full length is going to be just plain impossible to ignore.

We caught up with the Aussie songstress about the power of money, those comparisons to Adele and getting back at her hater(s).

Noisey: Is MEG MAC your real name?
MEG MAC: My real name is Megan McInerney so it’s the short and easy version of my name. No one ever pronounces my name right—people always say ‘May-gin’ and no one can say my last name ever. MEG MAC is the easy way to go.

There have been some words in the music world about comparisons about Adele. Do you see any parallels there?
I think I can see where it comes from because she has a big voice and I do too. I really like her, and it’s a big compliment. She’s a great singer and brings good singing—that’s been the forefront of her songs. I think no matter who you are, you always get compared to someone. I guess because she’s a similar genre—she falls into pop and soul.

On that note, which musicians inspire you the most?
My all-time favorite singer is Sam Cooke, and I think I get a lot of inspiration from him. His voice inspires me the most to sing. Every time I hear him sing, I just want to go and sing.

Your debut self-titled EP just came out. Is there a theme that ties those songs together?
Those songs were the first ones that I finished properly and recorded. “Grandma’s Hands” is a cover, but everything else is based on things in my life: the way I’ve felt about things, the way people have made me feel, and what’s going on in my head. I wrote “Turning” about when I think about the bad things in the world, money and how it controls everything bad in the world. I was trying to work through that: money is turning the world, and we don’t even know it. I thought if I could write a song, I don’t have to think about it anymore and it doesn’t have to make me angry. I just kind of let that frustration out.

On the topic of money making the world go round, as an up-and-coming singer, what do you fear the most about potentially becoming a celebrity musician?
There’s so much crazy stuff that has nothing to do with the music and singing, and that’s the kind of stuff that can make you forget why you’re doing something in the first place. Whenever I feel stressed about anything, I go and sing because I remember everything will be all right. When I’ve gotten mean comments on the Internet, I just sing. If I just sing, then I remember why it’s all worth it. It feels that good for me to do that.

What’s the meanest thing anyone has said to you on the Internet?
One thing was really mean, but it was on YouTube, but I feel like that’s okay. I had one person write on my Facebook wall, “hey Meg, you’re shit. ‘Grandma’s Hands’ sucks.” That kind of threw me off the most because I was like, this is my fan page. It’s for people who like me. If you don’t like me, what are you doing on my page? Just when someone goes out of your way to tell you you’re shit, it feels pretty bad.

What would you say to the person that commented?
I’d say, “why are you stalking my fan page? Don’t listen to me then.” I don’t care if someone doesn’t like me but, when you go to a shop and you don’t like something in the shop, you don’t tell the shop you don’t like it: you just don’t buy it.

So, what’s next for you on the music front?
I’m working on my full length. I’ve been doing heaps of songwriting. I have a single coming out in Australia really soon. I’m basically just trying to figure out who I’m working with, but all the hard work is done.

Will there be any collaborations on your debut record?
I’m going to sing a song with my little sister—she’s my backing singer in Australia. I’ve written a song that’s going to be just me and her, and I’m really excited about that one.

Who are some of your style influences when you’re thinking about what you’re going to wear on stage?
I like wearing dramatic things like capes and black clothing. I don’t know if there’s someone in particular that I draw influences from, but I love wearing dark colors, blazers—things that are structured. I love really classic stuff.

Where do you see yourself in the next year?
I hope that I can be doing another tour in America, but my own tour. That would be really cool. I’m really hoping by then my album is finished, and I’m really proud of it. That’s what I really hope.

Ilana Kaplan is rocking and rolling on Twitter.