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Under her influences: Meghan Irving talks about her inspiration

After years of honing her voice in talent shows and in cover songs uploaded to YouTube, Meghan Irving is ready to make music her life. On her recently released EP Under The Influence, Irving sings "I don't want to wait no more." While it's addressed to a lover, one can easily imagine her singing to the Gods of music, telling them that she is here and she is ready to sing.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

What artists or albums influenced your sound and songwriting?

I have so many different artists and styles of music that I love, but some of my biggest influences would have to be Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, and Sia. Sia in particular is a big inspiration when it comes to songwriting. She writes catchy songs but they still have meaning and are relatable, which is something that I try to do. My writing is very personal, but I also love clever writing, and lines that make you go "Ooh that's good" or "that's a clever line.” The type of lyrics people get tattooed or put on a poster, or the type that just make you go “Yes! I've been through that, I know what she's talking about." I put a lot of thought into what I want to say in each song.

Vocally, Whitney and Christina are just incomparable and are two singers I've always been inspired by. Both of them are versatile and have very diverse audiences and their songs can be heard through various musical outlets. I never want to be pigeonholed into a particular genre, and that idea has definitely influenced my sound. I like all types of music so I try to create music for all types of people that can be played in various places.

Overall, the ability to convey emotion through my writing and my voice and make people feel and relate to something, and at the same time have songs that are memorable is the ultimate goal.

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You wrote your first song at age 11. Who and what inspired your early songwriting?

I remember the first song I ever wrote was called "Fly.” It was quite a while ago but I vaguely remember it being about following your dreams and trying your hardest. It wasn't really that good, but it's the thought that counts, right?!

In the beginning I was mostly inspired by movies. I would watch different films and write songs to go along with what happened in the movie. My friends and everything that was happening in our lives at the time also inspired me. I would also just make things up sometimes and create stories about things that I found interesting.

The lyrics came pretty naturally for me. Creating melodies was the hard part. When I was younger and just started to write songs I would use other songs I knew as a template and write my own lyrics. I knew that in reality it didn't work that way, so fast-forward to my teenage years, when I finally began developing my own melodies.

From your first song up until now, can you pinpoint a moment that changed the way you write songs?

When I went away to college, my songs really changed. That's when I was truly out on my own and just gained a lot of life experience and went through some crap. You know how they say pain usually inspires the best art? It's weird how true that is! I also met a lot of new people during that time who introduced me to new artists and new songs. Listening to new music is always good influence. I'm not sure if that necessarily changed how I write songs; I'm still inspired by my life and what's going on around me. But it definitely changed the quality of my songs. They're much more raw, more relatable. I think I kept it a bit more surface-level before and wrote about how I thought I'd feel in certain situations. Now that I've experienced more, I can write from the heart.


You can read more about Meghan on her website and you can follow her on Twitter.