Having just released her stunning new single ‘After River’, Scottish artist Megan Airlie tackles the issue of mental health with her sweeping, emotion-strewn vocals and twinkling, finger-picked melodies.
We caught up with Megan to find out more about her journey with music…
Hi Megan, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I grew up in Glasgow which has a pretty predominant and flourishing music scene. You do need to go on the hunt though to find music that isn’t, as a friend calls it, “skinny white boy guitar bands”, but there is definitely a wide variety of great music happening here. I’m currently only performing solo around Glasgow, my voice and my guitar. Soon I would like to build up to being in a band again on my terms. But I write all my own tunes and pull a lot of influence from the ‘40s-‘60s
What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I would never tell anyone as a child, for fear of embarrassment, but I’ve always wanted to perform in some way. I looked up to my aunt a lot who was in a band in the ’90s and I thought that was the coolest thing ever, so I taught myself how to sing and play but didn’t really write anything until I was 17.
Who would you say have been your main musical influences?
Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple, Judy Garland, Aretha Franklin and Etta James were always the people I would aspire to perform like. I take a lot of influence from the ’60s folk scene as well.
We love your beautiful new single ‘After River’. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write it?
I had not sat down to write or felt the need to write in a long time before ‘After River’. It came out during a very dark period and when my mental health was at its worst, so I thought best to hold myself up as much as a could and release something out of me that needed to be said. I find it easier to talk about things through writing it down and putting it to a melody than just saying to folk “I feel terrible”. I don’t think I could have written about anything else at that time.
Do you feel the music industry could be doing more to support mental health issues?
Totally. But every industry could be. I actually feel more unity and support when it comes to mental health discussion in the music scene than anywhere else. There is a lot more understanding I find. But we should always be attentive and we should always open up a dialogue about it.
And what advice would you give to other musicians struggling with their own mental health?
When in doubt, write it down. Get it out and take time to process. Everything slows down a little when you put pen to paper.
And what does the rest of 2018 have in store for Megan Airlie?
I’m currently preparing for future single releases to come out in the next couple of months, and getting back into recording soon with Scott Flanagan who recorded my single ‘After River’. A lot of exciting stuff!
Huge thanks to Megan for answering our questions!
‘After River’ is out now Bloc Music Records.