ALL PHOTOS (unless credited otherwise): Beth Chalmers Photography
I have been talking with Megan Airlie…
about her incredible new single, Honey, and what its story is. Airlie discusses classic singers and how they influence her; whether the scene in Glasgow, her hometown, has a great scene; which new acts we should get behind – she tells me whether Pop music, in her mind, has lost some of its depth and soul.
Airlie shares some favourite memories from music and reveals her ambitions for the remainder of the year; whether she gets much time to unwind away from music – she ends the interview by picking a song I had never heard before.
Hi, Megan. How are you? How has your week been?
Great! Resting this week after the week previous - because I was playing XpoNorth and TRNSMT festival.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a twenty-four-year-old singer-songwriter from Glasgow. I take a lot of influence from Jazz, Blues; Folk, Soul and anything I can dance to. You can find me playing solo or backed by a wonderful band. Some of them I’ve been playing with for a long time - which always makes for an electric show.
Honey is your new single. Can you tell me the story behind the song?
It was written five years ago now. It’s an easy breezy love song that was sparked out of a relationship I had. It denotes a more innocent time where you are totally engrossed by a new love and you want to spend every minute with them. In reality, the relationship itself was not all sunshine - which is why wanted to elude darker tones in the music video.
It seems to evoke memories of classic singers like Billie Holiday and Judy Garland. Are these artists you are inspired by?
Yes, definitely; especially Judy Garland. I have listened to her from a very young age,
Do you find more beauty and personal possibility taking from older music and the romance of the chanteuse? Do you think modern music lacks true soul and depth?
Pop music, way back when, definitely evokes a more romantic and, it seems, they thought more of what they were trying to say, whereas Pop music today seems less personal and is just a means for dancing and churning out ‘hits’ as fast as possible. However, there is music I feel - not in the charts - that still has the same push of passion and emotion. People still have soul!
Is there going to be more material arriving? What are you working on?
You can expect another single within the next couple of months - and I am currently working on new material to record and release at the end of this summer.
You are seen as one of the best new singers coming out of Scotland. Do you think the country gets the attention it deserves? What is the music scene like where you are?
Being Scottish, I have the internal pride in being so. So, yes, I always feel it deserves more attention, not just in music. The music scene is vibrant and bursting out the seams. Glasgow, in particular, you can walk down one street and hear multiple different types of bands playing. The scene itself in Glasgow seems to be quite cliquey, as if you have to earn your stripes before being accepted, but it is a warm environment to be in, mostly.
PHOTO CREDIT: Beth Chalmer
Which artists and albums did you fall for growing up? When did music come into your life?
Michael Jackson’s Bad, Fiona Apple’s Tidal; Reuben’s 3 and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions
There was always music around; from the Britpop and Punk my dad listened to; to the '90s Grunge and Alternative scene my aunt was a part of. I would always be listening to noughties and '90s R&B on the music channels. I started playing the saxophone when I was twelve and then started to take singing seriously when I was seventeen.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
To have a solid record in the works and to get some good support slots.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Probably getting the opportunity to play XpoNorth this year with my band behind me. People were so lovely and responsive and I made a lot of contacts. I kept thinking: ‘Yep; this is definitely what I’m meant to be doing’.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Fiona Apple, for sure.
Rider: ideally, this would be good coffee and a bottle of red wine.
Can we see you on the road at all? What tour dates are coming up?
Currently, no tour planned but, hopefully, that (touring) will happen in the near-future.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Stick at it. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing then the likelihood is someone else will do.
IN THIS PHOTO: Russell Stewart/PHOTO CREDIT: Delilah Niel Films
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Doing music is my chill time and escape from normal day to day life. I can’t seem to tire of it. I don’t get enough time to do it as I work a nine-five job.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
There’s new music coming out from a Scottish band, Awkward Family Portraits - and their new single, Baby Blue, is out soon
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