She feels so Wright (It must be wrong)
I had a chance to speak with Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Meghann Wright, who is currently galloping up and down the East coast with The Green Gallows on a hefty tour schedule that she is calling The Good Times with Bad People Tour. She talked to me about her all-female musician showcase called The City and The Heart, and we also discussed some of the stories behind the songs. Wright started recording music three years ago as a solo artist, and has come along way since then. She is an up and coming star who possesses the vocal power of Lake Street Dive singer Rachael Price – her voice is strong, with indisputable authority. Wright has the country twang of a Dolly Parton and the knock ‘em dead wallop of an Aretha Franklin.
Her latest self-titled EP touts a handful of amazing songs of the highest quality. Whether you are into indie rock, country, rock and roll, jazz, bluegrass or Americana, Wright is sure to seduce you with both her modesty and her incredible voice. She refuses to be nailed down to any specific genre, because it would simply be impossible for someone with such a diverse musical background to be pigeonholed. She is a bohemian in the kindest sense of the word – a tornado of personality. She’s a little bit folk and a little bit country. She’s a heaping helping of burning blues, and she’s heavy metal at heart.
Fly Magazine: First, tell me about the The City and The Heart. What was your inspiration to form an all-female collaborative?
Meghann Wright: I started The City and The Heart as an organization that would be a supportive community for other independent female singer/songwriters in New York, because I started meeting a lot of young women when I was hosting open mic nights in the city, and they all kind of reminded me of me when I started doing this sort of thing. They didn’t have a lot of friends. They really didn’t know anyone to book shows with. They didn’t have a whole lot of contacts in the music industry. They didn’t know where to get affordable recordings done. My goal was to create an all-around helpful community for these women, and try to help them in any way that I can. We ended up taking this project to the recording level, and we put together a compilation featuring 19 artists, which you can download for free. In the future, proceeds from our showcase shows are going to benefit organizations that help women in New York. This year we did one for Safe Horizon, an organization that assists victims of domestic violence.
FM: How did you end up in Brooklyn?
MW: I grew up in Hawaii, and then moved when I was eighteen to go to college in New Hampshire. From there I went to Massachusetts where I played in some bands. I lived in both L.A. and New Jersey briefly, and then I decided to settle in New York about 5 years ago. I felt New York was the appropriate place for me to “cut my teeth” as a solo singer/songwriter.
FM: How would you describe your songwriting process? Where do you find inspiration?
MW: Usually what happens is I get an idea in my head – I’m always walking around singing to myself because I’m a total weirdo. I always think of the melody and the lyrics at the same time, so I’ll record just the voice and lyrics. When I have time to sit down with my guitar and actually work out a song, I’ll pull up all those ideas that I’ve been working on over the last couple days and start putting them together. The songs usually have something to do with whatever is going on in my life at the time, or in the lives of people around me. Influences come from life in general; it’s nothing that crazy [laughs].
FM: Your songs seem personal, but relatable. There seems to be this motif that life can really hurt, but there’s this cathartic joy of going through the pain and healing after it.
MW: That’s always been kind of a goal I’ve had with my music. I’ve always felt like my calling has been to help people deal with whatever is going on in their lives, and I’ve always hoped that when people hear my songs that they can apply it to whatever’s going on in their lives, and find something meaningful.
FM: Would it be fair to call you someone who wears their heart on their sleeve? In other words, you really seem to put your heart and soul into your music.
MW: Yeah, definitely. I’m actually working on a song right now about something going on in my family – which I’m not going to go into – that is so emotional for me that it’s impossible to play live, because I’ll start crying on stage.
FM: How about the song “Cocaine”? This is obviously not the Eric Clapton version.
MW: It’s about me getting over a guy, who was really kind of a shithead in the first place. The way I got over him was by going out and partying really hard with all my friends at all of our favorites spots, like this metal bar called Duff’s in Brooklyn. It’s about all the things that people do to escape their problems, but end up having to face them in the end, when you come out of the binge. We’re human, so we do stupid stuff like get wasted and party, when deep down we’re hurting.
FM: You’ve been called “wounded soul country folk.” What do you have to say about that?
MW: I definitely write sad bastard music for sure [laughs].
Meghann Wright plays the Lizard Lounge at the Chameleon Club (223 N. Water St., Lancaster) on Saturday, November 8th. The Green Gallows open. 7pm. $5. 21+. Click here for tickets.